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Dorchester

National Rail | station code QQQ

Dorset Offers, Discounts & Links

www.visit-dorset.com

Dorchester is an important market town with many historic buildings and two stations (Dorchester South and Dorchester West). Dorchester was the site of the Roman town of Durnovaria and the excavated remains of a Roman town house can be seen. Maumbury Rings near the South station is an ancient henge earthwork used by the Romans as an amphitheatre. The writer Thomas Hardy lived locally and based his fictional town of Casterbridge on Dorchester.

Dorchester South station is on the line from London and Bournemouth and has the most frequent trains. Dorchester West has trains from Bristol and Westbury. Trains from both stations operate to Weymouth.

Dorchester makes a good base for exploring the area by public transport with bus services to Blandford Forum, Bridport, Lyme Regis and Axminster (for trains west to Exeter).

TI tel. 01305 267992.

www.dorchesterdorset.com Dorchester booking.com

Dorset holidaycottages.co.uk

Dorchester town map

Dorset County Museum ½ mile

Collections cover Dorset's natural history, archaeology and arts. Tel. 01305 756827.
Open closed for refurbishment until summer 2020.
www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Shire Hall ½ mile

Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum covers 200 years of justice (and injustice). See the cells before ascending to the dock. Café. Tel. 01305 261849.
Open Daily 1000-1700.
www.shirehalldorset.org

Tutankhamun Exhibition ½ mile

A recreation of Tutankhamun's spectacular tomb and treasures. Tel. 01305 269571.
Open Daily 1000-1700 (1600 Oct-Mar).
www.tutankhamun-exhibition.co.uk

Keep Military Museum ½ mile

The story of the Regiments of Devon and Dorset with uniforms, weapons, medals and silverware. Great views from the roof of the historic building. Tel. 01305 264066.
Open Apr-Sep, M-S 1000-1700.
www.keepmilitarymuseum.org

Dinosaur Museum ¾ mile

Set in a Victorian schoolhouse the museum has life-size reconstructions of dinosaurs and interactive displays. Tel. 01305 269880.
Open Daily 1000-1700 (1600 Oct-Mar).
www.thedinosaurmuseum.com

Teddy Bear Museum ¾ mile

A large collection of teddy bears from antiques to modern TV favourites. Tel. 01305 266040.
Open Daily 1000-1700 (1600 Oct-Mar).
www.teddybearmuseum.co.uk

Roman Town House ¾ mile

The ruins of a Roman town house in a protective building with glass walls so the mosaics and other features can be seen. Tel. 01305 224921. Admission free.
Open Daily during daylight.
www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

National Trust Holidays
National Trust Holidays
National Trust Holidays

Max Gate NT 1 mile*

Max Gate is the Victorian home which the author and poet Thomas Hardy designed for himself in 1885. He wrote some of his most famous novels here and most of his poetry. Refreshments. Tel. 01305 262538.
Open Mar-Oct, Daily 1100-1700. Nov-Feb, ThFSSu 1100-1600.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/max-gate
Hardy's Cottage is 3 miles from Max Gate, on the way you may wish to visit Stinsford Church where Hardy's heart is buried (his ashes are buried at Westminster Abbey).

Kingston Maurward Animal Park & Gardens 2 miles* or by bus then ½ mile

Animals include sheep, alpacas, goats, chickens, rabbits, piglets and Shetland ponies. Formal gardens. Café. Tel. 01305 215003.
Open Feb-Nov, Daily 1000-1600 (1700 Apr-Oct).
www.kmc.ac.uk/gardens
Bus as for Hardy's Cottage but alight at Stinsford Cottages (just after roundabout), 8 minutes journey, then ½ mile walk.

Hardy's Cottage NT 3½ miles* or by bus then 1 mile

The writer Thomas Hardy's rural birthplace and childhood home. Start at the Visitor Centre before continuing through woodland to the Cottage and garden. Trails through the surrounding woodland and heathland which inspired the young Thomas Hardy. Café at Visitor Centre. Tel. 01305 262366.
Open Mar-Oct, Daily 1100-1700. Nov-Feb, ThFSSu 1100-1600.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardys-cottage
Bus X12 and 187 from Dorchester South station and Weymouth Avenue to Kingston Pond stop on the A35 immediately after a layby, 10 minutes journey. Then 1 mile walk: carefully cross the fast A35 and follow the footpath (not bridleway) gently uphill (see map). M-S only, about 2-hourly. Operated by Damory.

* Distances shown are from Dorchester South station, add an extra ¼ mile from Dorchester West. Hardy's Cottage is about 4 miles if you walk via Max Gate.

Dorchester to Max Gate and Hardy's Cottage walk map
Ordnance Survey Maps
Ordnance Survey Maps
Ordnance Survey Maps

Athelhampton House & Gardens by bus

A Tudor Manor House containing a collection of English furniture. The Great Hall dates from 1485. West Wing Gallery with works of art by Russian artist Marevna. Architectural Gardens. Restaurant. Tel. 01305 848363.
Open Mar-Sep, MTWTh & Sun 1000-1700.
www.athelhampton.com
Bus 187 from Dorchester South station and Weymouth Avenue to entrance, shortly after Puddletown. 18 minutes journey, M-S only, infrequent but suitable for visiting. Operated by Damory.

Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum by bus

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were farmworkers who formed a trade union to protest about their meagre pay. In 1834 they were arrested and brutally sentenced to transportation. The Museum tells their story and how it led to the foundation of modern trade unionism. Tel. 01305 848237. Admission free.
Open Apr-Oct, TWThFS 1000-1700. Nov-Feb, ThFS 1000-1600.
www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk
Bus 187 from Dorchester South station and Weymouth Avenue to Museum (watch for sign on left). 22 minutes journey, M-S only, infrequent but suitable for visiting. Operated by Damory.

Golden Cap and Langdon Hill NT by bus then 1½ miles

Golden Cap is a high flat-topped hill of orange sandstone on the Dorset coast. Its summit at 627 feet (191 m) is the highest point on the south coast with spectacular views east to Portland Bill, west to Start Point (in Devon) and inland to Dartmoor - well worth the effort of the uphill walk! Nearby Langdon Hill woodland is part of the extensive Golden Cap estate, there's a 1½ miles circular walk around the wood with great views of the surrounding countryside including Golden Cap. Bluebells can be seen in spring.
Open at all times.
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/golden-cap
Bus X51 from Dorchester South station and Weymouth Avenue to Chideock, Bridge, then 1½ miles walk. About 60 minutes journey. M-S 2-hourly. Operated by First. Buses also operate from Axminster and Weymouth.

Golden Cap and Chideock map