Area Guide - Dorchester

Area Guide - Dorchester

Dorchester Town Centre - Aerial ViewDorchester is the administrative centre of Dorset. It is situated on the River Frome, 8 miles north of Weymouth. The towns roots date back to prehistoric times and early settlements were based around the Iron Age hill fort of Maiden Castle - the ruins of which can be visited today. Dorchester is a bustling town with an abundance of character buildings some of which still retain features dating back to the Roman occupation of the town. It is a gateway to the Jurassic coast and has two railway stations with links to Weymouth, Poole, Bournemouth and London at Dorchester South and Yeovil, Bath and Bristol via Dorchester West station.

Things to do / Local Attractions

Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle is the largest and most complex example of an Iron Age hill fort in Britain. The castle was first laid out around 600 BC over the remains of a neolithic settlement. The site was home to several hundred people in the Iron Age (800 BC - 43 AD) and the proliferation of ramparts enclose an area equivalent to 50 football pitches in size. In AD43 the Roman army captured the forth and its inhabitants moved to the new town of Durnovaria, modern Dorchester.

For more information:

The Dinosaur Museum

The award winning Dinosaur museum is a real treat for all members of the family. It has life-size dinosaur constructions, actual fossils, skeletons and multimedia displays to excite and entrall you. The museum prides itself on its innovative, friendly approach and has featured extensively on television making it a nationally renowned visitor attraction.

It is open all year daily, including Sundays. January to March 10am to 4pm. April to September 10am to 5pm. October to December 10am to 4pm. Closed 13th to 26th December inclusive.

For more information:

Hardy's Cottage

Thomas Hardy's cottage lies close to Thorncombe Woods in the village of Higher Bockhampton near Dorchester. It is a small cob and thatch cottage where Hardy wrote Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd. The cottage is now owned by the national trust and has a traditional cottage garden that is bursting with colour in the summer months.

The Tutankhamun Exhibition

Part of the World Heritage Exhibition, the Tutankhamun Exhibition is the follow on from the successful treasures exhibition at the British museum in London. The major treasures of Tutankhamun have been successfully recreated in precise detail using original materials whereever possible. In addition, the burial chamber and ante-chamber have been replicated together with all the contents and treasure, so you can recreate the experience of Howard Carter when he first discovered the tomb in 1922.

The exhibition is a real treat and extremely popular. For more details: