Dorchester Tourist Information Centre, 11 Antelope Walk, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1BE Tel: 01305 267992 E-mail:
FInd out more about Dorchester Tourist Information Centre
The Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XA
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.
As well as having thriving businesses in Dorchester town centre, on Wednesdays, the town 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.
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.