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Updown Cottage

UK England South West England Dorset

  • Sleeps 6

  • Cosy Rural Retreat
A beautiful cottage in a lovely location - very much unchanged, apart from all the things they have added to make your stay as luxurious and comfortable as possible

Thomas Hardy is always popular, with the recent remake of Far from the Madding Crowd there is perhaps no better place to play Bathsheba and Gabriel Oak than this immaculate holiday cottage, located in the picturesque and historic small Dorset town of Shaftesbury, where the first version of the film was filmed – along with the iconic 1960s Ridley Scott Hovis advert, no less. This is England at its most bucolic, tranquil and in many ways unchanged, and this beautiful cottage, owned since 2006 by Jane and Simon Colston, is the best place to enjoy it, with spacious accommodation for six people and a beautiful garden overlooking the nearby Vale of Blackmore. The cottage has four bedrooms in all – two doubles, two singles – individually furnished with hand-crafted and antique furniture (a couple also have lovely sleigh beds), Egyptian cotton sheets and hypoallergenic pillows. The largest bedroom has an en-suite shower room, and there's also a family bathroom (with bath) and a ground floor slate-walled wet room with a shower and loo. There's a cosy sitting room with a massive inglenook fireplace with wood-burning stove, plus all the technology you may require – TV, DVD player, CD player and mp3 connection, even a video player (and a selection of videos and DVDs). For the budding musicians amongst you, the cottage also boasts a ground floor music room/quiet room with baby grand piano. There's a large and airy dining room with a lovely long school refectory table that can seat up to 12, and a kitchen that is suitably equipped to feed all those people, with an Aga Masterchef oven and hob, Nespresso machine and food processor, as well as the usual dishwasher, microwave and fridge-freezer. The nice thing is there are always lots of food basics on hand, plus they provide a welcome tray with bread, cereals, coffee and tea on arrival. Heaven, basically – in what is one of the loveliest parts of England.

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Escapism, rest, recuperation and being surrounded by history and character are the main reasons for choosing Updown but as one of our first guests commented 'there is a real spirit of generosity'. We supply gorgeous Bramley shampoos, conditioners and hand / body washes  throughout (as found in Conran establishments) and there are hairdriers in every room. White Company Egyptian cotton bedlinen and piles of towels and bathrobes mean that you need only to think of packing your clothes. There is wifi, free landline national calls and good mobile signal so working 'from home' is possible if necessary. You will also find a basket of logs by the woodburner in the inglenook and a basket of groceries in the kitchen (Nespresso capsules, tea, milk, bread, jam, marmalade, orange juice, butter and Dorset Cereals muesli). Necessities such as oil and spices and cleaning products are stocked in the cupboards.

Suitable For

On warmer days, the terrace with a glass of wine, coffee, breakfast...whatever suits...with the whole of the Blackmore Vale spread out below.

In winter, snuggled on the sofa beside the woodburner in the inglenook.


Shaftesbury stands in the very tip of north Dorset, close to the borders of Wiltshire and Somerset and is therefore perfectly placed for exploring: Bath, Clifton / Bristol, the Jurassic coast, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Sherborne, Corfe Castle, the southern Cotswolds, Lyme Regis and east Devon are all reachable within an hour. The ancient small town perches 700 feet up on an outcrop of greenstone rock and was the site of King Alfred the Great's Abbey, the walls of which still stand opposite the cottage. The High Street is just a minute's walk uphill from Updown's front door and is cooly (but not too cooly!) unpretentious.

Food & Drink

Shaftesbury has an eclectic selection of useful and stylish independent shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries, pubs and delis with a strong emphasis on local produce. Sophistication isn't forgotten with excellent cocktails available at The Grosvenor Arms and one of the best Indian restaurants in the country.


Prices range from £695 a week in low season (£16.50pppn if booked by 6 guests!) to £1295 a week in peak times. Short breaks (from £495) are available year round, apart from Christmas and New Year when week long bookings are taken. They ask for £100 deposit with the balance + a refundable £100 housekeeping deposit by 4 weeks before your stay.

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