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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.

Things to do in Dorchester

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Dorchester Events

Latest Dorchester Features

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...
8 Nov 2019
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...
23 Sep 2019
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 zombie fests and enchanted illuminations, to pumpkin carving and the Sea Life Ascarium! It's scary how much there is to choose from... Halloween ... Read more...

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