Thomas Hardy’s “Casterbridge” is still the thriving market town he knew in his youth, and later evoked in his fiction and poetry. Amongst the many attractions of Dorchester for a day out are the magnificent Dorset County Museum, The Keep Military Museum, home of the regiments of Devon & Dorset, and great themed attractions featuring Dinosaurs, the Terracotta Warriors, Tutankhamen and Teddy Bears! Together with a great range of cafés, pubs and restaurants, this has to be a top contender along our line for a lovely day out with the family.
Dorchester was once a Roman settlement, and tree lined walks around the town follow the line of the old Roman Wall, a section of which can still be seen on the right near the Top of Town roundabout. A wonderful discovery made in the late thirties has become one of the most exciting features of the town – the 4th Century AD Roman Town House. It is considered to be Britain’s most complete and best-preserved example of its kind. The grounds are open every day and admission is free. There’s an extensive market on Wednesdays just a few minutes’ walk from the station, and the magnificent iron age hill fort of Maiden Castle with its great views is about 1½ miles walk from the station.
At the junction with the pedestrianised Cornmarket, with the County Museum, St Peter’s Church and the distinctive clock tower of Dorchester Town Hall. A glimpse of rural “Hardy country” is just beyond the town
Dorset County Museum
The fascinating history of Dorchester in a stunning Victorian building. An absolutely magical place.
Photo by Dorset County Museum
Roman Town House
Arguably Dorchester’s greatest treasure. The most complete Roman Town House in the country. Situated behind the County Hall at the Top of Town. Should not be missed
Photo by Edward Parker
The Terracotta Warriors Museum is a rare opportunity outside China for a glimpse of the terracotta army of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang di, who lived over 2200 years ago, and whose tomb in Xian was discovered in 1974. The warriors have been specially made for the exhibition by specialist technicians in Xian, together with reconstructions of the armour, weapons and costumes.
Photo by World Heritage
There is a good mix of high street names, and some excellent independent stores, including this one specialising in local produce (with a wonderful range of local cheeses)