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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

12 Dec 2020 to 13 Dec 2020
Shire Hall Christmas Market
21 Nov 2020 to 01 Jan 2021
Christmas Lights & Reindeer Experience

Latest Dorchester Features

16 Nov 2020
Shop for Dorset this Christmas Shop Dorset and it’s a win, win – not only will your gift please the recipient but by shopping locally online in these difficult times you’ll be helping our Dorset businesses. Below are just a few ideas for Christmas gifts and goodies. Cheesed off? – Well check out Delicious, the Weymouth deli that will deliver cheeses and wines to your Dorset door. Craig’s Dairy Farm Shop and Chalbury Food & Wine are open and well-stocked with tasty local ... Read more...
21 Oct 2020
Half-term Fun in Dorset So, it’s the October half term and you may be wondering how you’re going to keep the kids entertained in these restricted times! Well don’t worry, whether you are local resident or are staying in Dorset on a break, there’s lots to do throughout the seasons. Our Resort family has children of different ages and here are some of the things we plan to enjoy; perhaps you will too! Fossil Hunting – you may just discover the next big thing! Do be aware ... Read more...
28 Sep 2020
Halloween Events in Dorset The October half-term is now synonymous with Halloween and the themed fun that takes place. If you’re out and about in Dorset, you’ll find many a Halloween event happening, so grab your broomsticks, sharpen those fangs, and prepare to have one hell of a good time! Dorset Halloween events and activities include everything from Monster Minions to Ghost Tours and more besides. It's scary how much there is to choose from... Halloween Events Read more...
3 Jul 2020
We've missed you too Firstly, thank you for staying away during lockdown; but now, here at Resort Dorset, we can’t wait to welcome you back. If you are looking for inspiration for this year’s staycation then look no further, Dorset has it all – beautiful beaches, rolling hills, rugged coastline, stunning coastal walks, and countryside rambles – breathe in the fresh air and leave your troubles behind. Dorset is a county of beauty and tranquillity, and although you will ... Read more...
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...

More articles available in the features section.

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