Resort Dorset on FacebookResort Dorset on TwitterResort Dorset on Instagram

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

14 May 2022 to 29 May 2022
Dorset Art Weeks
30 May 2022 to 04 Jun 2022
May Half-Term: Shire Hall Detectives
18 June 2022
D-Day Festival

Latest Dorchester Features

9 May 2022
Queen's Platinum Jubilee Events in Dorset Celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with us here in Dorset. Dress for the occasion in red white and blue and join in the fun to be had at events right across the county (scroll down for events listings). Little ones can dress up as princes and princesses and head for Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park where, as well as all the animals to see, there’ll be cream teas to enjoy – just be sure to pre-book! Fancy a celebratory picnic lunch with sea views? Then ... Read more...
6 Dec 2021
Dorset’s Christmas Markets and Festive Fairs ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and you will be when you discover the fantastic selection of Christmas markets and festive fairs that are set to be held around Dorset in the coming weeks. If you’re getting organised with your shopping, these events are a great way to find those perfect gifts; if delicious food and drink is on your wish list, then you’ll love the tasty selection available from local producers; or maybe you’d like a day out to get you in the ... Read more...
7 Oct 2021
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! It's scary how much there is to choose from... Halloween Events Read more...
13 Jul 2021
Hidden gems - secret places to visit in Dorset Get off the beaten track in Dorset, and explore some of these hidden locations. Dorset is well-known for some spectacular places to visit, but there’s much more just waiting to be discovered. Some of these are more secret than others, but most are free and well worth adding to any itinerary – there are lots of great hidden things to do here, especially if you’re looking to escape! 1. Chapman’s Pool A pretty little hidden cove nestled in the Isle of ... Read more...
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...

More articles available in the features section.

Sign up for Resort Dorset offers, events and news by email
Your data will only be used to send relevant information relating to Resort Dorset magazine and digital platforms. We will not share your data with any third parties, and you can of course unsubscribe at any time. Please see our full privacy policy here.