A lovely countryside town full of history and great attractions, Dorchester has a variety of sights to see and discover during a stay in the area. There are unique independent shops to browse, scrumptious local produce to devour and wonderful walking routes where you can admire the luscious Dorset countryside. We’ve rounded up a few of the best things to do in Dorchester during your stay that will keep the whole family entertained.
Visit the lakes
Sculpture by the Lakes is nestled in 26 acres of glorious Dorset countryside and a haven for art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. An array of sculptures created by Simon Gudgeon can be found in this wonderful alfresco setting as well as the opportunity to purchase some unique pieces of art. The gardens are lovingly maintained with over 3,500 trees and shrubs to admire and there are tranquil spots where you can enjoy a peaceful picnic with the family.
Brush up on local history
Dorchester has some really interesting museums to visit that are varied and diverse. The Dorset County Museum showcases a wide array of different exhibitions from the Ancient Dorset Gallery where you can see many archaeological artefacts from the county’s past to the atmospheric Victorian Gallery. For younger ones, a visit to the Dinosaur Museum or Teddy Bear Museum is great for an impromptu rainy day.
Explore the largest Iron Age hill fort in England
Covering 45 acres, Maidon Castle is the largest hillfort in England and is an interesting attraction just two miles south of Dorchester. Great for a day of walking and exploring, history buffs will look exploring this ancient site with its stunning scenic views. Other top sites to explore near Dorchester include the Cerne Abbas Giant, a large 180ft chalk figurine sculpted into a hillside and believed by some to be a symbol of fertility.
See the birthplace of Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, Dorset’s famous novelist and poet was born in Dorchester and the town celebrates its strong connection to the novelist often. Visit Hardy’s Cottage, a traditional thatch and cob cottage in a tranquil wooded location or head to the visitor centre where you can enjoy informative displays, talks and hands-on seasonal events.
Visit beautiful gardens and a fantastic animal park
Take a trip to Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park close to Dorchester. Here you can feed sheep, alpacas, chickens and goats as well as meet the piglets, miniature ponies and giant rabbits. One of our favourite things to do in Dorchester, there are also wonderful Grade II listed gardens to roam with beautiful plants and trees to admire. A great day out for adults and kids alike, there’s a fantastic visitor centre on site that offers light refreshments too.
Enjoy an action-packed day out
For visitors looking to enjoy excitement and adventure, head to Henley Hillbillies for a fun-filled outdoor experience. Try your hand at clay pigeon shooting, ride a quad bike or race hovercrafts across the countryside. It’s an ideal day out for groups of all sizes including families, friends and corporate team building.
There are plenty of interesting and diverse things to in Dorchester, and if you are planning a holiday to the area then we have a great selection of cottages, hotels, holiday parks, and B&Bs that act as a great base while you explore all Dorchester has to offer.