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

  • Dorchester   (0.6 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Prices from
    £40
    Per person for a weekend break
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 105 reviews
    Rating from 105 reviews
    Family run Dorchester B&B with light & spacious ensuite rooms, off road parking, free Wi-Fi & nearby restaurant/ coffee shop. 5 mins walk to Thomas Hardy's town house.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 105 reviews
    Rating from 105 reviews
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  • Bere Regis   (9.9 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Prices from
    £85
    Per room per night B&B (2 Sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 141 reviews
    Rating from 141 reviews
    Charming B&B in a former old Mill in Bere Regis. Period features and 4 ensuite rooms. Local walking & cycling. Free parking, Wi-Fi & facilities for horses. Tank Museum 10 minutes.
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    Rating from 141 reviews
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  • Dorchester   (0.7 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 5
    Prices from
    £377
    Per week, seasonal
     
    Superb Portland stone cottage in Dorchester with a decked garden, WiFi, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Beautifully furnished throughout with cot available and parking for 1 car.
     
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  • Frome Whitfield   (0.9 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £335
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    Modern holiday home near Dorchester ideal for Hardy Country. Close to attractions, shops, pubs and restaurants. Enclosed lawned garden and driveway parking. Pet welcome. Sleeps 4.
     
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  • Higher Bockhampton   (2.4 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 12
    Prices from
    £297
    Per Week (Seasonal) Sleep 2-12
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 75 reviews
    Rating from 75 reviews
    Unique award-winning accommodation a 5 minute stroll from Hardy's Cottage in Higher Bockhampton. Indoor pool, gardens, tennis and play area. Weddings and events welcome. Sleep 2-12
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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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  • Dorchester   (5.5 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £269
    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   (9.4 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £350
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 90 reviews
    Rating from 90 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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  • 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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    Rating from 9 reviews
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  • Dorchester   (3.8 miles from the centre of Dorchester)
    Prices from
    £314
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 3
     
    Lovely single storey holiday cottage in Winterbourne Steepleton near Dorchester with one bedroom, enclosed garden, family amenities for hire and one dog welcome policy.
     
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