Dorchester is a small market town located in the South West of England. The town sits on the River Frome and is situated in the county of Dorset. Dorchester is one of the larger towns in this area and sits in the middle of the county, it is also the county town of Dorset. The town has a population of around seventeen thousand people but due to this being an area that gets a lot of tourists the town can get quite busy in the summer months. There have been people living in this area for thousands of years and there is evidence of an iron age fort nearby. This part of the country has some stunning countryside and people have been coming to visit this part of Dorset for many years.
If you are planning a trip to Dorchester and are looking for accommodation then there are quite a few options. If you are looking for hotels then some of the more well known ones include The Best Western Kings Arms, Wessex Royale Hotel and The Junction Hotel. These all have good reputations for nice rooms and good service. There are quite a few other hotels in the town ranging from larger ones down to small bed and breakfasts. The town also has a few nice apartments for rent which are a good option if you are looking for self catering accommodation. There are also a few nice camp sites in the area, most of these have very good facilities and are a good cheap alternative.
If you are in the town there are a nice variety of shops to look round. There are all the regular high street shops you would expect in a town of this size but there are also places that are good for tourists to visit. The Old Warehouse Gallery is an interesting place to look round and see some example of local artwork. The Cerijan is a good place to visit if you are looking for local crafts and gifts, this is an ideal place to pick up a few souvenirs. There are also a few nice little antique shops in the town which will certainly appeal to some people.
There are quite a few attractions both in and around Dorchester that are well worth visiting. The Dinosaur Museum is a great place to visit and has some excellent fossils on display and lots of interesting exhibits to look round. Nearby there is the Henley Hillbillies. This is a place where you can get involved in off road adventure driving, quad biking and shooting. These is a good place to visit if you are into adventure sports. The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum is a popular one for children, this is located in the town and has hundreds of bears on display, this is a really good place to visit and its something a little different.
Dorchester really is a nice little town to visit. There is lots going on in the town and lots of places to visit in this area. If you have never been to the town then you really are missing out, next time you are heading for Dorset make sure you give this a visit.
Having grown up in Weymouth, and attended school in Dorchester, I have visited it on many occasions. Situated 8 miles inland on the Dorset coast, Dorchester is the county town, and is surrounded by miles of British countryside.
The town itself is not huge, and often does not get as much publicity as its neighbouring towns of Weymouth and even Wareham, yet it does have several good points. Home to the Dorchester museum, which contains artefacts from local history through the ages, and the Dinosaur museum, Dorchester has attractions not readily found elsewhere. A couple of miles out of the centre is Maiden castle, an ancient Roman dwelling, which is great for walks with the family, and a short drive away is Hardys Monument, which also provides great walking opportunities.
Back to Dorchester centre, the town has a cinema, which although old is perfectly adequate, and a good way to pass a couple of hours. It also has the Thomas Hardye leisure centre, which is located near to Poundbury (Prince Charles' design) which consists of a gym and 2 swimming pools, as well as various sports courts, and pitches.
There are picturesque gardens, which are great for picnics, and for children to run around, and the bus service to other towns is very good. The seaside town of Weymouth is a 20minute bus journey, or a 10 minute drive, and Poole is about half an hour away.
Dorchester is accessible by car, rail and bus, and has two train stations, one near to the hospital and one near the old brewery.
Market sellers are common most days of the week, selling flowers, doughnuts and ice creams, although the main market is on Wednesday, and is mainly undercover. This is quite central to the highstreet. There is also a carboot every Sunday throughout the year, which is normally quite good.
Every September, normally the first weekend, there is the Dorchester show, which is mainly agricultural, but also offers Dorset produce, as well as motoring events.
There is quite a choice of where to eat in Dorchester, although there are not many fast food places in the town centre, but there is the usual range of coffee shops such as Costa and Starbucks, as well as a Prezzo, and Wetherspoons. There are also some very good independent Italian restaurants, and an excellent chinese near the hospital.
Shopping is quite limited, but the essentials are all easily obtainable. There are several supermarkets in and around the town centre, including a Somerfield, Waitrose and Tesco, and high street names such as Superdrug, Next, Boots and New Look are all present. It is worth wandering down the little arcades that branch off of the high street as these contain more specialist shops, such as The Fridge, which specialises is homemade Dorset products.
Overall, Dorchester is a pleasant place to visit, particularly if you are into heritage and walking, however, you would be struggling to fill a day there.
Situated in the south-west of Dorset, seven miles from the coast, the county town of Dorchester is a gold-mine of history going back as far in time to the Iron Age. It is a beautiful area to escape to if you live in an urban chaos. Surrounded by miles of countryside, this town is a haven for those wanting to get away from it all. There are many friendly pubs and restaurants that offer good food and wine. The brewery chain Eldridge Pope have a brewery in the town and local fine ales can be sampled. They have their own shop with all their own produce, which is excellent for gifts from your visit. There is a small local chocolate factory too which produces exquisite goodies, that you'll want to stock up on! The town centre has reasonable shopping facilities, although not that extensive, but suitable for everyones needs. There are plenty of local gift shops too. The history of this town is phenominal. Just outside the town is Maiden Castle, an Iron-Age hillfort. Archeological digs in the past have revealed all sorts of relics that are displayed in the county museum in the high street. You can walk all over the fort, and occassionally, at night, local guides take you on a ghost walk, as the fort is said to be haunted by the ghosts of soldiers. Other parts of the town are also associated with ghost folklore, but you'll have to visit the town to find out more about that! Dorchester is really an old Roman town, originally known as "Durnovaria". Remains of the old town wall still stand today and you can see them as you walk around. There is a special site, still under excavation too which visitors can see. Remains of old buildings and mosaics give the area a rich archeological heritage. However, the town is home to history all through the centuries up to modern day. Most famously, Dorchester is the birth place of Thomas Hardy, the 19th century poet and novelist. His works are studied by students all over t
he world. Many visit the area solely for this reason. The house in which Hardy was born is owned by the National Trust and open to the public. Everything is exactly how it was over a century ago. His home, Max Gate, where he wrote most of his novels is also open to public viewing. Dorchester and surrounding coastal areas have rich paleontological history as well, and there is a dinosaur museum in the town with excellent displays that children and adults alike will enjoy. Local fossils, artifacts, relics and replicas make up a good display of prehistoric life in the area. Strangly, there is a museum about the ancient Egyptian Pharoah, Tutankhamun. It is a fascinating, if somewhat misplaced museum, but still gives an interesting afternoon out. The County Museum I mentioned before gives a complete history of the town, everything I have talked about here, and more. The local Tourist Information centre is a good place to start if you decide to visit, but I'm sure that if you do ever visit, even if just for a long weekend break, you will fall in love with Dorchester's romantic heritage, and more than likely want to return again one day.