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Things to do inDorchester

Visitor information for Dorchester in Dorset

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Dorset’s county town of Dorchester is a fun and fascinating place to visit. With history, shopping, family attractions and a wide range of restaurants, there is so much to do! And, being situated near the centre of the county, Dorchester makes a perfect base for a tour around Dorset.

In the town centre you’ll find plenty of independent retailers alongside some more familiar high street names. Take a break from the shopping and enjoy a spot of light lunch or a hearty meal in one of the cafes or restaurants. Explore Poundbury where numerous shops are dotted amongst this attractive village-style development of houses, offices and factories.

Brewery Square, situated a short stroll from the town centre, is home to a selection of smart shops and chain restaurants as well as a cinema. It’s become a popular destination, particularly in the evening when it’s buzzing with diners and film-goers.

Just behind Trinity Street you’ll find the Borough Gardens, where there’s a play area to keep the children entertained as well as tennis courts and an outdoor gym for sporty individuals. With grassy banks and floral displays it’s a good place to sit and enjoy a lunchtime sandwich or afternoon picnic.

The latest blockbusters can be seen at the Plaza Cinema or the Odeon at Brewery Square; and there’s often entertainment at the Corn Exchange. Events in the town include colourful street markets, an annual arts festival, carnival day and lots of special events at the local museums and family attractions.

Of course, we can’t talk about Dorchester without acknowledging legendary poet and writer Thomas Hardy. Author of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Far From the Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge, Hardy was born and spent his early years in a thatched cottage at nearby Bockhampton. He later became an architect and designed Max Gate, a home in Dorchester for himself and his wife Emma. Both Hardy’s cottage and Max Gate are open to the public on selected days from April to October.

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Latest Dorchester Features

16 Aug 2017
The Dorchester Agricultural Society have begun the countdown to the Dorset County Show, taking place on Saturday September 2 and Sunday September 3. With just three weeks left to go, excitement is mounting for the variety of family entertainment and attractions this year, as well as spectacular shows, stunts, and some of the best livestock from around the UK. Helping draw an expected 60,000 visitors to the two day agricultural extravaganza held at the Dorchester Showground will be ... Read more...
15 Aug 2017
It’s Afternoon Tea Week! We find out where to go in Dorset to enjoy this tasty tea-time tradition, and discover a little slice of history along the way. "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." – Henry James, Author Britain has some brilliantly bizarre food traditions from cheese rolling to pancake racing but there’s no tastier – and less energetic – tradition than ... Read more...
27 Jul 2017
Dorset is blessed with countless scenic locations to explore in the summer months, from Durdle Door to Portland Bill there are plenty of beauty spots and outdoor activities to enjoy. But what about those rainy days in Dorset when the number one priority is keeping dry? We’ve compiled a list of fantastic Dorset attractions and activities to keep you and your family entertained when the rain takes hold. Rainy Day Attractions & Activities in Dorset What else ... Read more...
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