Blandford Forum is a market town in Dorset, 15 miles north of Poole. I’d read the town was noted for its Georgian architecture so I was keen to take a look. Approaching Blandford Forum we passed through pretty villages with quaint names such as Sturminster Marshall and Charlton Marshall. Arriving in the town, we parked in the Stour Meadows car park just behind the Hall & Woodhouse brewery which we found had free parking.
From the car park we followed a path through the Stour Meadows alongside the River Stour which led us to a blue metal bridge taking us into the centre of town in no more than 10 minutes.
Heading towards the market place we spotted an old coaching inn called The Greyhound. Its welcoming terrace was adorned with tubs of flowers and hanging baskets and we were tempted indoors for a glass of the local Badger ale which has been brewed in the town since 1777. The interior of the pub had oodles of old world charm with its low ceilings and oak beams. Picking up a leaflet at the bar I found out that it’s possible to take tours of the brewery and enjoy a pint of Badgers ale or a soft drink afterwards. Definitely something for us to consider next time we are in the area. Details of the Badger brewery tours can be found here.
Along the high street we admired the Georgian architecture. Large parts of the town were destroyed by fire in 1731 and rebuilding work took place assisted by a donation from George II. To celebrate the town’s heritage a Georgian Fayre is held in the town centre in May each year.
Wandering through the town I was interested to look in the shop windows of Conyers, the oldest shop in the town. It’s not every day that I come across a gunsmith but Arthur Conyers gunsmiths, country outfitters and angling supplies has been trading in the same place since 1886 with an expansion to the shop next door. One of their staff worked in the shop from the age of 15 and learnt the trade, continuing to service guns for field sports enthusiasts until his death at the age of 83. Surrounding the market place there are a variety of independent shops and cafes alongside national retailers such as Boots the Chemist which are found on most high streets.
Moving on, we admired the parish church of St. Peter and St Paul which is located across the square. The church was built between 1732 and 1739 in a classical design and features a cupola on top of its tower. It is one of the few Georgian churches in England outside of London. Directly in front of the church stands the Fire Monument which was erected to mark the rebuilding of the town centre following the great fire of 1731.
We continued our walk through the town glancing in more small shops with my husband treating himself to a book in one of them. We then made our way back to the car after a very pleasant afternoon in Blandford Forum.
If we have an opportunity to return to Blandford Forum in the future it would be interesting to visit the Royal Signals Museum on the outskirts of the town. This museum is the National Museum of Army Communications and is based in Blandford Camp, a working military base. If you might consider visiting the Royal Signals Museum please remember to take either a photo driving licence or passport as necessary ID is required to enter.
If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also be interested in the following: