Spend a Day in Dorchester!

Dorchester is a vibrant town for sightseeing and shopping but also a fantastic centre for visiting the area! Visit Dorchester’s museums and shops, walk the walks, drink great coffee, eat great food and take trips to the Jurassic coast.

Visitors find a town with one foot in the past and another firmly in the future, with some of this country’s best preserved Roman ruins moments away from a thriving high street and one of the most exciting current retail and residential re-development projects in the UK at Brewery Square.

Looking for a town full of character?

Then Dorchester is certainly worth a visit.

Dorset’s county town is home to some of the finest local attractions alongside excellent places to eat and also enjoys a rich history dating back as far as the Iron Age.

Attractions aplenty

Dorchester provides the location for many of the county’s leading museums, including the Dorset County Museum and the Keep Military Museum.

Learn more of Dorchester’s grizzly history and the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs with a visit to the newly refurbish Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum. Learn more of the birth of trade unions and the harsh judgements passed down by the notorious Judge Jeffrey during the Bloody Assizes.

Just a few moment drive form Dorchester you will find the opulent Athelhampton House. This Grade I listed 15th Century manor house boasts an award winning garden that is certainly worth exploring.

For little ones there are some fabulous family friendly attractions including Dinosaur Museum and Teddy Bear Museum. You can even delve into the past of ancient Egypt at the Tutankhamun Exhibition.

Get out and get active

In the countryside surrounding Dorchester you can find plenty of opportunities to get active. Try your hand at quad biking, archery and even axe throwing with Henley Hillbillies and Insight Activities.

Explore the mile upon mile of cycling trails and walking routes that surround Dorchester and take in the stunning wildlife and nature. You’ll enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery while being just moments from the town centre on routes including Maiden Castle and the Dorset Jubilee Trail.

The Hardy connection

Lovers of the acclaimed poet and writer Thomas Hardy will be aware of the significance of Dorchester.

Dorchester is of course the ‘Casterbridge’ featured in many of his novels and references of the great man can be found in and around the town.

Hardy’s birthplace can be found on the outskirts of Dorchester in Higher Bockhampton. Hardy’s Cottage is now managed by the National Trust alongside his Victorian townhouse Max Gate. A visit to each of these is a must for any lovers of Hardy.

You can learn more of Hardy’s time in Dorchester by following our Hardy Trail.

Dine in style

Brewery Square provides a wonderfully vibrant location with an abundance of places to eat. A number of the leading chain restaurants and independent eateries are available giving you plenty to get your taste buds going.

The alfresco setting brings a Covent Garden feel and provides the perfect location to enjoy delicious food and drink with friends while watching the world go by.

Its location played a significant role in the town’s history being home to the Eldridge Pope Brewery creating local ale from 1880 to the late 1990s.

Alongside the wonderful food there is also a multiscreen cinema and a parade of shops providing the opportunity to purchase the latest fashions and accessories.

The fountains on site offer great enjoyment for children, splashing through the jets of water on warmer days.

Prince Charles’ Poundbury

The mid 90s brainchild of Prince Charles has become a stylish, eco-friendly ‘model’ village quite unlike anywhere else in Dorset. Built on the principle of giving priority to people rather than cars it provides an alternative community feel.

Wander the winding streets of Poundbury and take in the wonderful mix of architecture, independent shops, cafés and local businesses that hark back to times gone by.