Dorchester
Dorchester
Dorset DT1
 
 
 
The pretty market down of Dorchester is not only the county town of Dorset but is an very historical place. It is surrounded by glorious countryside and winds through the delightful River Frome valley.
 
Dorchester’s position in central Dorset led to it being an important focus for trade and power right from pre-historic times. One and a half miles (2.5 km) to the south is the massive Iron Age hill fort of Maiden Castle.
 
The Romans finally conquered the local tribes in 70 AD and promptly turned the garrison into a town complete with amphitheatre (Maumbury Rings) and aqueduct (Poundbury Hill). Dorchester’s Roman walls are clearly visible and in the centre of town are the remnants of a superb Roman Town House. Don’t miss the exquisite mosaic floor.
 
Throughout Britain’s turbulent history Dorchester remained a thriving commercial and political centre. Blue plaques abound marking significant historical spots and self – guided walk pamphlets can be obtained from the Dorchester TIC in Antelope Walk shopping precinct.
 
Hanging Judge Jeffreys
You can see where the infamous 17th century ‘Hanging Judge Jeffreys’ held his ‘Bloody Assizes’ in the Oak Room of the Antelope Hotel or visit the Old Crown Court & Cells where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were tried and sentenced.
 
Puritan Emigration to America
The town was the centre of the Puritan emigration to America and home of the famous novelist Thomas Hardy. Six thousand years of Dorchester’s history are presented in the Dorset County Museum which is well worth visiting.
 
The Keep Military Museum is full of memorabilia from the famous Devonshire & Dorset Regiments. It even has Hitler’s desk, reputedly liberated from Hitler’s headquarters by members of the Dorset Regiment, and then donated to the regimental museum.
 
Museums, Street Stalls, Food & Drink 
Dorchester has many other attractions such as the Dinosaur Museum, the Dorset Teddy Bear Museum, the Tutankhamun Exhibition and the Terracotta Warriors Museum. Street stalls can often be found in the main streets but Wednesday is market day with over 500 stalls. The town is also only 8 miles (13 km) from the intriguing Cerne Abbas Giant hill figure cut into the chalk downs.
 
Many factors have affected the development of Dorchester resulting in a town which has retained its rural character. Heavy through-traffic has been diverted from the town along the A35/A37 bypass.
 
Duchy of Cornwall
An important influence is the fact that the town is part of the Duchy of Cornwall. Prince Charles takes a keen interest in the development of the town and surrounding area. Duchy architects are made available and the Prince himself has even designed one of the estates including the supermarkets.
 
Poundbury, the western extension of the town, is built on Duchy of Cornwall land and is worth visiting to see what can be done with a modern development while retaining historical character. There are a large number of restaurants and bars in the development.
 
'Sustainable Living'
Dorchester is a ‘Transitional Town’ which means that it is committed to sustainable living. There are a number of allotments and communal gardens where the locals grow their own vegetables as part of this philosophy. On the first Saturday of the month there is a Farmers' Market held in Poundbury.
 
Plan Your Visit
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Contact & Further Information
 
Getting There
- By Car
Dorchester is on the A35 from Bournemouth to Bridport road where it meets with the A354 from Weymouth and the A37 from Yeovil. It is within comfortable reach of the 27, M3 and M5.
 
- By Car from London    
Dorchester is approximately 130miles (210 km) southwest of London.

At Junction 12 on the M25 London Ring Road take the M3 south west towards Basingstoke, Winchester and towards Southampton. At Junction 14 (restricted junction with exit to M27 only) exit to M27 westward and around Southampton and continue on towards A31 to Ringwood then on the A338 dual carriageway towards Bournemouth. Continue on the A35 to Dorchester
 
- Parking in Dorchester   Web:   Parking in Dorchester 
 
- By Car using Local Routes from:
- Poole – Take the A35 (24 miles, 39 km)
- Bridport – Take the A35 (16 miles, 26 km)
- Lyme Regis – Take the A35 (26 miles, 42 km)
- Weymouth & Portland – Take the A354 (9 miles, 15 km)
- Yeovil – Take the A37 (20 miles, 32 km) or
- Sherborne – Take the A352 (20 miles, 32 km)
 
- By Rail from London    
From London Waterloo Station, South West Trains runs a comprehensive service from London Waterloo to Bournemouth with a journey time of 2 hours 30 minutes. For timetable, fairs and tickets go to Web: National Rail Enquiries
 
- By Coach from London 
National Express coaches connect London Victoria Coach Station with Dorchester. For details, go to Web: National Express
 
- By Air  
Dorchester can be reached by air services from Europe and within the UK. For information go to Web: Bournmouth Airport 
Bournmouth airport is on the periphery of the town at Hurn.
 
Google Map - Dorchester