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

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

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Latest Dorchester Features

12 Sep 2018
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 include everything from ghoulish ghost hunts and fright nights, to zombie invasions and sea witches! It's scary how much there is to choose from... Halloween Events Read more...
24 Jul 2018
Sunday Carvery in Dorset Let's be honest, nothing really beats a Sunday roast, and just because you're on holiday doesn't mean you have to miss out! Dorset has an ever-growing reputation as a foodie destination, and what better way to put this to the test than to sample a Sunday carvery at one of the excellent Dorset pubs and restaurants featured below. Already have a favourite place for a spot of Sunday lunch in Dorset? Let us know in the comments below! Find Your Sunday ... Read more...
24 Jul 2018
Stay Cool with Dorset's Indoor Attractions Dorset's beaches and public spaces provide plenty of opportunity to soak up the rays during a heatwave. But keep an eye out for Met Office advice and take care not to spend too long in the sun. If you're looking for indoor attractions, some shade and a cooler way to spend a day in Dorset, then take a look at a selection below. Get active with trampolining, children's soft play centres and indoor pools or explore some of the fascinating museums Dorset has to ... Read more...
More Dorchester Features:

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26 March 2018
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More articles available in the features section.