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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

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

Dorchester Events

Latest Dorchester Features

5 Apr 2024
D-DAY 80th Anniversary Weekend Operation Overlord – D-DAY 80th Anniversary 6TH June 1944 – 6th June 2024. This year sees the 80th anniversary of D-Day, and in commemorative events across the county, Dorset will be paying homage to the incredible bravery of allied troops who left South Coast ports and airfields for France on 6th June 1944. On this momentous day, over 5,000 ships and landing craft carrying more than 150,000 troops descended on five Normandy beaches. The landings saw the start of ... Read more...
27 Feb 2024
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...
23 Jan 2024
Half-term Fun in Dorset So, it’s the half term and you may be wondering how you’re going to keep the kids entertained! 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 – Will you be the next person to find a Sea Rex? Who knows you may just discover the next ... Read more...
7 Nov 2023
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...
4 Nov 2023
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...

More articles available in the features section.

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