All streets in the honey-stoned town of Sherborne lead to its majestic abbey, set at the centre of a grassy green and once the most important church in Wessex; both of Alfred the Great’s elder brothers, Ethelred and Ethelbert, are buried beneath the abbey’s flagstones. Sherborne was the capital of Wessex until the end of the 11th century, when the bishopric moved to Old Sarum, but continued to be a town of strategic and religious importance throughout the Middle Ages. These days it’s a quiet and attractive market town, filled with antique shops, haberdashers and estate agents; reminders of its former status remain in its twin castles, which stand on either side of the silvery sheen of Sherborne Lake.
Sherborne’s tourist office (
Sherborne Museum (