The small but historic market town of Blandford Forum is located in the English county of Dorset. This area has been used as a fording point ever since the Anglo-Saxon times. It shows up in the Domesday book as Blaneford. By the 13th century, however, the town was no longer a simple fording point it was also an important market town serving many local areas. Even though much of the town was destroyed by a fire in 1731, John and William Bastard rebuilt the town and it is now home to many pieces of Georgian architecture.
While you are in Blandford, as it is commonly called, be sure to check out the beautiful architecture. A stroll around the town will give you a chance to see many of these stunning buildings. You will find a majority of them in the town center, where all the buildings had to be rebuilt and therefore are a uniform Georgian architecture. What you will notice is that most, if not all, of the building facades remain in fair to good conditions even after all these years. Some of the most notable buildings are The Corn Exchange, also known as Town Hall, and the parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul. There is also a beautiful six arch stone bridge that spans the Stour River.
Unlike some of the other market towns, Blandford is not as populous with stores. While there is a great deal to choose from when you are looking for that special something, there aren't nearly as many large named retailers as some of the other market towns. But it does have a nice even keel of locally owned shops, that are smaller, and chain stores which tend to be a little larger than the locals are. You will still find quiet a variety to choose from.
If you happen to be in the town during the first week of May (on even numbered years) then head over to the town center. Here you can take part in the Georgian Fayre. This is a combination of celebrations, cultural presentations, fun fair, and stalls. It's everything rolled into one and it is a can't miss event. This Fayre draws in thousands of visitors each time it's held so be sure to make a point to attend.
If you are looking for more interesting fun then go to the nearby village of Tarrant Hinton. On the last week of August each year you can take part in the Great Dorset Steam Fair. This fair showcases all sorts of steam engines from all across the United Kingdom and Europe. You will find a large carnival, camping and craft stalls as well as many different types of steamies.
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