Hardy's Cottage near Dorchester

Hardy's Cottage near Dorchester

Hardy's Dorchester

Hardy's Dorchester

Dorchester is Dorset's county town, home to the County Museum with the largest collection of Thomas Hardy artefacts in the world. The Romans created Dorchester, and some Roman ruins survive including a town house and old fortifications - best explored along the Durnovaria Town Walk. Dorchester is most famous however for its associations with and influences on Hardy who used the 18th century buildings of the town as a backdrop for his novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'. The Old Crown Court and Cells are well worth a tour. These were the location for some of the country's most memorable trials such as the Bloody Assizes in the English Civil War and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Other museums in the town include The Keep Military Museum displaying the collections of various regiments in the West Country. Quirky family friendly museums include The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum and The Dinosaur Museum.

Exploring England's largest hillfort - Maiden Castle near Dorchester

Exploring England's largest hillfort - Maiden Castle near Dorchester

Dorchester has an excellent shopping centre and plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants. A very popular French Market also takes place annually during the August Bank Holiday weekend. The Tourist Information Centre is a good starting point offering a wealth of leaflets, attraction guides and information on self-guided walks. Guided Walking Tours include themed walks such as Thomas Hardy's 'Casterbridge' or tours of Dorchester's Old Crown Court and Cells. Spooky fun ghost tours feature haunted taverns and tales of the Black Death and Bloody Assizes.

Ancient sites sit in and around Dorchester. The Maumbury Rings, a Neolithic Henge and Roman Amphitheatre, are just a few minutes' stroll from the town centre. The Henge dates from about 2,500 BC and many of the skulls and fragments discovered here are on display in the County Museum. The Roman Amphitheatre dates from the 1st Century AD, built right in the centre of the Rings site. During the English Civil War the Rings also served as an artillery fort. England's largest hillfort, Maiden Castle is also just two miles south of the town and dates from about 3000 BC.

Getting Here & Where to Stay

Dorchester has two railway stations - Dorchester West and Dorchester South, both only a 5 minute stroll from each other. Dorchester South is along the fast Weymouth to London Waterloo line (South West Trains) whilst Dorchester West (First Great Western) is a route in by rail from major West Country centres like Bristol. The scenic 87 mile long 'Heart of Wessex' Line from Bristol to Weymouth stops at Dorchester. Bournemouth, Southampton and Bristol Airports are all within an easy drive, and First offer a comprehensive local bus service. Dorchester makes a great base for touring, with Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast just to the south (about a 15 minute drive) of the County Town. Charming Georgian B&Bs are widely available in the centre of Dorchester or opt for one of the many period guest houses, luxury cottages, unique glamping experiences or classic inns with rooms around the town.

Accommodation in Dorchester

  • Maiden Newton   (9.4 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £350
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 6
     
    Contemporary three bedroom holiday lodge in Dorset with decked terrace, wonderful country views & use of onsite leisure facilities. Pool, games room & sauna. Pet friendly.
     
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  • Dorchester   (9.4 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £350
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 97 reviews
    Rating from 97 reviews
    Spacious three bedroom cottage in Dorset with beautiful views, patio garden & well equipped kitchen. Use of onsite leisure facilities including a indoor pool, games room & sauna.
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    Rating from 97 reviews
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  • Maiden Newton   (9.4 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Prices from
    £210
    Per two night short break (shepherd's hut)
     
    Shepherd's Huts in Dorset ideal for a great glamping experience. Use of an indoor pool, games room and sauna. Pet friendly. Holiday cottages and lodges available, one with hot tub
     
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  • Holworth   (6.5 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 5
    Prices from
    £270
    Prices :Short breaks/weekly (sleeps 5)
     
    Charming Dorset cottage within walking distance of the beach on the Jurassic coastline. Easy access to Weymouth. Traditional features and log burner. Families & couples welcome
     
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  • Near Dorchester   (13.7 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Prices from
    £55
    Per person per night B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 101 reviews
    Rating from 101 reviews
    Beautiful country house B&B West of Dorchester, South of Sherborne & 12 miles north of Bridport. Stunning rural views & garden, sensational breakfasts & 3 luxury ensuite bedrooms.
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  • Dorchester   (4.9 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Prices from
    £490
    Per week (seasonal)
     
    Charming converted barn in a tranquil village, offering luxury self- catering accommodation. Ideal for walkers and families. WiFi access & an attractive garden overlooking farmland
     
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  • Dorchester   (6.9 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
     
     
    Classic 18th century manor house in the pretty village of Moreton near Dorchester, a gateway to Hardy Country with a 2 acre garden, piano and period features. Tennis & games room.
     
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  • Dorchester   (5.5 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £288
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    This is a delightful attached barn conversion, within the grounds of the owner’s home and set in the rural Dorset hamlet of Tincleton and can sleep four people in two bedrooms.
     
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  • Dorchester   (7.2 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £326
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 9 reviews
    Rating from 9 reviews
    Set in the tranquil Dorset countryside, this property is well equipped, furnished and decorated to a high standard throughout, providing comfortable holiday accommodation.
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  • Dorchester   (1.8 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £371
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 9 reviews
    Rating from 9 reviews
    Able to sleep four people, this charming cottage has two bedrooms - one double with en suite and a balcony, as well as an en suite twin with colour TV and DVD player.
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    Rating from 9 reviews
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