Dorchester

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Dorchester Tourist Information Centre, 11 Antelope Walk, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1BE Tel: 01305 267992 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
FInd out more about Dorchester Tourist Information Centre


museum_iconThe Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XA
Tel: 01305 262735 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Find out more about the Dorset County Museum

 

Dorchester is a historic market town with its roots in Roman times; however it is most famously associated with Thomas Hardy. With its elegant 18th century houses, broad Walks and bustling shopping streets, Dorchester has much to offer the visitor.

History is all around you in Dorchester from the impressive Iron Age dwellings at Maiden Castle and Poundbury, to the Roman amphitheatre at Maumbury Rings and the mosaic-floored Roman town house. 

There are museums to suit every taste:
The County Museum traces Dorchester's rich history and now features the new Jurassic Coast Gallery, designed as a focal point for all visitors to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Visitors to the new Gallery can learn how the coast was formed, what you can see today, and why it is so important. This fascinating geological story is delivered through touch, sound, text, and interactive displays, and at levels to suit all ages and all abilities.

Other museums include the award winning Dinosaur Museum, the Keep Military Museum, The enchanting Dorset Teddy Bear museum, which is home to a family of human sized bears, The Terracotta Warrior Museum and the internationally acclaimed re-creation of Tutankhamun's tomb and treasures.

On Wednesdays, Dorchester is transformed by a huge, bustling market.  Part covered, there are over 500 stalls, including a local farmers' market, bric-a-brac and fresh fish and seafood. 

The Borough Gardens at the top of town are a hive of activity in the summer, with tennis, bowls, a children's playground and regular events at the weekends.  Within a few minutes walk of anywhere in town you'll find quiet river walks and pretty meadows.

Dorchester is also known as the heart of Thomas Hardy Country.  Hardy grew up in Dorchester and based the fictional town of Casterbridge on it. Hardy's childhood home can be found to the east of the town, and his house in town, Max Gate, is open to the public.

Dorchester is the perfect base from which to explore the Jurassic Coast and the beautiful Dorset countryside. 

Getting There

By Bus: There are also local regular bus services, for details contact Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 or visit Traveline Find out more about the Jurassic Coast Bus Service

By Coach: There are regular daily services to Bristol, Newquay, London, Bournemouth and Birmingham; contact Tel: 08705 808080 or visit National Express

By Rail:  South West trains provide a regular rail service between London Waterloo and Weymouth, calling at Bournemouth, Poole and Dorchester South. The Bristol Temple Meads to Weymouth service calls at Maiden Newton and Dorchester West. Contact National Rail Enquiries on Tel: 08457 484950 or visit National Rail Enquiries.

By Road: If you are driving to Dorset from the north, leave the M5 at junction 25 and follow the signs for Yeovil, then Weymouth. From the east, follow the M3 and M27 to Ringwood, then the A31 to Dorchester. The A31 and A35 cross the county, giving access to the West Country.

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Map Key

  • Gateway Town

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  • Axmouth

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  • Beer

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    Nestling in a small valley, lies the delightful, 'picture postcard', fishing village of Beer.

  • Bournemouth

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  • Branscombe

    The picturesque village of Branscombe is said to be the longest in the country, sweeping down a spectacular valley, past colourful thatched cottages with hanging baskets and climbing roses, down to the sea and a shingle beach.

  • Bridport

    Bridport is a small market town with a warm welcome and a world renowned rope and net making industry.

  • Budleigh Salterton

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  • Charmouth

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    Charmouth is a quiet seaside hamlet where time has stood still - the perfect location for a relaxing holiday. It is the best place along the Jurassic Coast to look for fossils.

  • Corfe Castle

    This section is being developed.

  • Dorchester

    Dorchester is a historic market town with its roots in Roman times; however it is most famously associated with Thomas Hardy. With its elegant 18th century houses, broad Walks and bustling shopping streets, Dorchester has much to offer the visitor.

  • Exeter

    Old and new lie side by side to make Exeter a rich and vibrant city.

  • Exmouth

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    Exmouth, at the estuary's mouth, marks the World Heritage Coastline's western gateway and despite being one of England's oldest resorts, remains untouched by commercialism.

  • Honiton

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  • Kimmeridge

    Long rock ledges, a pebbled beach line and rocky outcrops all make this bay stunning.

  • Langton Matravers

    This section is being developed.

  • Lyme Regis

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  • Poole

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  • Portland

    Gateway Town road sign

    Portland is an explorer's island with beautiful scenery and a mysterious quality of isolation, joined only to the mainland by Chesil Beach.

  • Seaton

    Gateway Town road sign

    Tucked away in the south eastern corner of Devon, is the beautiful, unspoilt Axe Valley. At the mouth of the River Axe is the friendly, coastal resort of Seaton.

  • Sidmouth

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  • Studland

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    Gateway Town road sign

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  • West Lulworth

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  • Weymouth


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