Dorchester is the County Town of Dorset. A market town with an undoubtedly long history, Dorchester has connections to Thomas Hardy, the Tolpuddle Martyrs and Roman Britain, and today features a wide range of visitor attractions, independent retailers and eateries.
Tourist Information CentreEdit
A new park and ride service is now available, see National Park and Ride Directory
National Express Coaches stop at Dorchester.
Traveling around Dorchester in particular and West Dorset as a whole is easy by private or public transport.
- 1 Maiden Castle, Winterborne Monkton (About a one-hour walk or 15-min drive south from the town centre along Weymouth Avenue and Maiden Castle Road. (The #10 bus will take you only part way.)). The largest surviving hillfort in England. Dating from around 3000BC, the site is of great historical significance and is maintained by English Heritage. Free.
- 2 The Old Crown Court & Cells (Shire Hall), Stratton House, 58-60 High West St, DT1 1UZ, ☏ . Famous for the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1834. Open during the summer, take a tour around the courts and learn about the Martyr heritage.
- 3 Roman Town House, The Grove and Northernhay (Just north of High Street). A Roman ruin on the County Hall site, the Town House has two principal ranges of rooms. The South Range has flint and stone walls on the grass-covered site. The West Range was mosaic floored. This range has been re-excavated and covered with a steel and glass building with a stone tiled roof perched on the original foundations. Free.
- 4 Hardy's Cottage, Higher Bockhampton, DT2 8QJ (3 miles east of Dorchester), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The cottage where Thomas Hardy was born.
- 5 Max Gate, Alington Avenue, DT1 2AB, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The home of author and poet Thomas Hardy, who designed the house in 1885.
- 6 Cerne Abbas Giant, Cerne Abbas, DT2 7AL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A giant figure carved into the side of a hill by removing turf to expose white chalk.
- 7 Maumbury Rings, Maumbury Road at Weymouth Avenue (A 15-min walk south of the town centre). A large circular earthwork, 85 metres in diameter. During the Roman period, it was adapted for use as an amphitheatre. During the English Civil War, it was used as an artillery fort guarding the southern approach to Dorchester. It is now a public open space, and used for open-air concerts, festivals and re-enactments, and as a dog-walking park. Free.
- 8 The Tutankhamun Exhibition, 25 High W St, DT1 1UW, ☏ . 10AM-5PM (winter hours from 10AM-4PM). A recreation of the famous pharaoh's tomb and treasures.
- 9 Teddy Bear Museum, Eastgate, DT1 1JU (corner of High East St. & Salisbury St), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A children's favourite. The Terracotta Army (replica) exhibition is in the same building.
- 11 Dorset County Museum, High West Street, DT1 1XA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Thomas Hardy's study, a history of Dorset archaeology, nature and the Jurassic Gallery - an exhibition of fossil finds from England's first natural World Heritage site - the Jurassic Coast. Includes Hitler's desk from the Reichsministry!
- 12 Dorchester Dinosaur Museum, Icen Way, DT1 1EW, ☏ . 10AM-5PM (winter hours: 10AM-4PM).
Come on a Wednesday and experience the lively atmosphere of market day in town. On the first Saturday of the month you can take a trip to Prince Charles' internationally renowned Poundbury and enjoy the Farmers' Market.
Local produce from the regular markets and farmers' markets in town. These are a great opportunity to discover local handcrafted and home-produced items and pick up a bargain!
Dorchester has a varied selection of restaurants, but is fairly limited in quality.
There are many excellent pubs and bars in the county town of Dorchester, so prepare to be spoilt for choice!
Whether you are looking for a self-catering retreat, a hotel, bed and breakfast or guesthouse, an inn or a farm stay, there are options in and around Dorchester.