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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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Latest Dorchester Features

4 Jul 2019
Durdle Door Durdle Door is one of the most photographed landmarks along Dorset's famous Jurassic Coast. The name Durdle derives from an Old English word 'thirl' meaning bore or drill. Eventually the arch will collapse to leave a sea stack such as those that can be seen at Ladram Bay in East Devon. Below the cliffs lies a sweeping shingle beach that was once three separate coves. This popular beach has no facilities although during the summer a mobile kiosk on the path ... Read more...
21 Jun 2019
Places to go for a Cream Tea in Dorset We're celebrating National Cream Tea Day on 28th June - are you? Here in Dorset, looking for places to go for a cream tea (or afternoon tea) isn't exactly difficult. You're likely to be able to get a top-notch cream tea at just about any town or village you visit in our delightful county. So, to help you cream tea lovers celebrate on the 28th, we've compiled a list of just some of the many places you can enjoy a delicious cream tea. But obviously, a cream tea in ... Read more...
8 Apr 2019
Easter Events in Dorset Dorset’s Egg-stravaganza of Easter Activities! The Easter holidays are upon us! Whether you’re visiting Dorset for a holiday or live here and want to explore more of your county, there’s never a shortage of places to go and activities for the kids – and big kids! – to get involved in. But what’s on? Dorset is chock full of family-friendly attractions, and many will be hosting Easter Egg Hunts or other fun activities for kids to enjoy over ... Read more...
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More articles available in the features section.