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Sherborne Guide

Great days out by train

Said to be the most beautiful town in Dorset, Sherborne brings the past to life amidst a beautiful countryside backdrop. Take in a full sweep of English history in one day.

In the space of a short walk from Sherborne station you can discover two castles, a medieval almshouse, a conduit house, an ancient school and a parish church of national importance. Sherborne is a stunning honey-coloured medieval town with a find around every corner.

Visit the romantic ruins of Sherborne Old Castle built in the twelfth-century as a fortified palacem a perfect spot for a picnic while you soak up the gorgeous countryside vistas. Just across the lake lies Sherborne Castle, a 16th century Tudor mansion home to Digby household since 1617.  


Get some inspiration on what to do when visiting Sherborne from our list below:

1. Medieval Almshouse

The historic Almshouse of SS John in the town of Sherborne, Dorset is a fascinating glimpse into a little known aspect of history. It is still in use today serving its original purpose of providing housing to 18 elderly residents of the town. The purpose built building was licensed by Henry VI in 1437 and was designed to house ‘twelve pore feeble---old men and five pore feeble---old women’.


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2. The Abbey

The Abbey was originally a Saxon Cathedral, founded in AD 705. It went on to be a worshipping ground for a monastic community and a school. It was fully restored to its current state in 1884 as a parish church.

By contacting Sherborne Abbey Bellringers, visitors to the Abbey are able to ring the 15th century bells, which are located in the central tower. The bells are the heaviest peal of eight bells in the world so it is definitely a unique experience. There are guided tours of the abbey on Tuesday mornings and Friday afternoons but visitors are allowed to freely walk around the Abbey on any day. 

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3. Sherborne Old Castle

Sherborne Old Castle was built in the 12th century by the Bishop of Salisbury. It was a grand castle set in acres of countryside. Unfortunately after a long siege during the Civil War, the Castle was captured and then abandoned by Cromwell. Over time the castle has decayed and all that remains today are the Southwest Gatehouse and parts of the castle including the Great Tower and the North Range. The remaining ruins situated in the grounds of the ‘new’ Sherborne Castle are still worth a visit. 

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4. Sherborne New Castle

Sherborne New Castle was built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594. In 1617 the Wingfield Digby Family acquired the Castle and it has remained their family home ever since. The castle consists of 40-acres of grounds, all of which are accessible for viewing. There are paths and trails around the lakeside gardens for the public to wander around and look out across the lake. The collections of art and furniture inside the Castle are awe-inspiring and have attracted many visitors from around the world.

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