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Things to do inDorchester

Visitor information for Dorchester in Dorset

  • Dorchester
  • Dorchester
  • Dorchester
  • Dorchester

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.

Things to do in Dorchester

Dorchester Places of Interest

Places to Go

Find places to go and things to do in Dorchester using the options below.

You can also explore all of the venues on our Dorchester Map.

Dorchester Events

23 May 2020 to 07 Jun 2020
Dorset Art Weeks
09 Jul 2020 to 12 Jul 2020
Cerne Abbas Music Festival

Latest Dorchester Features

21 Feb 2020
Dorset History Dorset’s past influences much of what we do here today, the many places we visit, and a great number of the photos we take as our own mementos. A county with a rich heritage, there’s plenty of Dorset history to be explored. From a Victorian sea-defence fort to centuries-old castles, via preserved steam trains and a wartime abandoned village, and through a variety of award-winning museums, Dorset’s past is brilliantly brought to life. Take a trip back in time with a visit ... Read more...
14 Feb 2020
Things to do in February Half Term Monday 17th February marks the start of half-term. Dorset always has so much to offer whenever half-term comes around, whether that involves exploring the countryside and coastline, visiting some of Dorset’s best attractions, or attending local events, you won’t be let down. We’ve compiled a list of events, including some amazing offers followed by some features that we think can inspire your half-term fun. From visiting the cheeky monkeys at Monkey World or getting ... Read more...
4 Dec 2019
New Year's Eve Events in Dorset New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration. We raise a glass to the year that’s gone by, everything we’ve achieved, and that glass is also raised to the year ahead. It is often spent with family and friends, the ones who have been by our side for last 12 months, and the ones we look to spend the next 12 months with. For many of us, a change is about to happen. We step into the New Year with a fresh vision of exciting things to come. Whatever you’re ... Read more...
3 Dec 2019
Ice Skating in Dorset Christmas is nearly here and there’s a fun way to get you in the festive spirit — by ice skating in Dorset! Nothing beats wrapping up, getting your skates on and heading out to glide (or stumble) across the ice, before treating yourself to a delicious hot chocolate afterwards. Whether you’re a cling-to-the-side kind of skater or have a Torville and Dean style, ice skating is a fab activity for all and a great way to get together with friends and family to have ... Read more...
26 Nov 2019
Dog-Friendly Dorset A fully-fledged member of the family, your four-legged friend doesn’t need to feel left out of the holiday loop and will be well-catered for when you come to dog-friendly Dorset. Accommodation When it comes to finding somewhere to stay, there’s no shortage of accommodation to choose from. Whether it’s camping, a caravan, cottage or lodge you’re after, Dorset has plenty of dog-friendly options to choose from to make the perfect holiday for you and your ... Read more...

More articles available in the features section.

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