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Holidays in Dorchester

Dorchester, the county town of Dorset

UK | South West | Dorset | Dorchester
High Street East, Dorchester by Ben Sutherland - CC BY 2.0

Dorchester is a thriving Dorset market town with a detailed history encapsulated in the hill fort of Maiden Castle that looks over the town and the Roman Villa discovered in the centre of town. Thomas Hardy based books here and his former home, Brockhampton Cottage, now owned by the National Trust is open to the public.

Dorchester boasts a handpicked selection of holiday cottages, several great places to eat and a handful of quality attractions to enthral and intrigue.

Beaches are approx half an hours drive away at Weymouth which are very wide with golden sands and shallow waters, ideal for swimming. The beaches are also used for motocross and volleyball championships and are very typically traditional with Punch and Judy shows, sand sculptures, trampolines and a small fun fair. Alternatively close by is Portland Harbour whose watersport opportunities are renowned worldwide.

Thomas Hardy's cottage

Overlooking the town is Maiden Castle, the largest of the many Iron Age hill forts scattered across the Dorset landscape.

If you are a dedicated shopper then Dorchester’s pedestrianised shopping area with its blend of modern and old and shopping outlets to suit most tastes has numerous side streets, arcades and alleys, so well worth a visit. For bargain hunters then the market is held every Wednesday and this is a focal point for many of the communities that surround the town. A farmers market is held the first Saturday in every month at Poundbury.

Walkers are spoilt for choice in and around Dorchester with many self-guided walks and town trails available. Guided tours are available in August and September. The National Cycle Network has various routes such as 30-mile cycle route from Dorchester to Lyme Regis or even the new route of 28 miles from Dorchester to Sherborne.

"Dorchester is a thriving Dorset market town with a detailed history encapsulated in the hill fort of Maiden Castle."

Both routes are designed to be manageable in one day and take in a number of picturesque villages and takes you deep into the peaceful countryside.

Dorchester is home to the Dorset County Museum, which has fine displays of local history; The Dinosaur Museum with fossils, actual-size dinosaur reconstructions plus multimedia displays. Teddy Bear House and The Tutankhamen Exhibition provide great family fun! At the top of town you will find the impressive 'Keep', built in 1879 it now houses the Dorset Military Museum. This modern museum tells the stories of those who served in the Devon & Dorset regiments for the last 310 years.

September sees the Dorchester show a two day Agricultural Show just on the outskirts of Dorchester. Attracting over 55,000 visitors each year and supported by over 400 trade stands this is now the biggest two day Show in the South West.

While you’re there

Zorbing South

Zorbing South features the UK’s fastest and longest landscaped run, measuring an impressive 200m.

Athelhampton House & Gardens

Built in 1485, Athelhampton is a fine example of ornate Tudor architecture.

Sienna Restaurant

Look forward to high quality food, fine wines and exceptional service from this restaurant.

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