Best of Dorchester

By | Category: Travel destinations

Teddy Bear Museum

Dorchester town centre is replete with interesting old buildings, narrow alleyways and quaint cafes. A day’s walking tour of the formerly walled old town can easily take in all the main highlights including pedestrianised South Street, several fine churches, statues depicting literary greats Thomas Hardy and William Barnes, as well as the very pleasant Borough Gardens, just outside the old town boundary. Although shopping in the centre is good any day of the week, Wednesday is market day and the area between the railway station (Dorchester South) and the historic centre gets taken over by dozens of in- and outdoor stalls. It pays to arrive early for the best choice of goods.

the historic centre

For such a relatively small town, Dorchester has an usually great variety of museums. One of the best, Dorset County Museum, offers an excellent overview of the town and county’s history and includes author Thomas Hardy’s study from his Dorchester home, Max Gate. Another museum worth a visit is the ever so cute Teddy Bear House with a vast collection of teddies squeezed onto the top floor of the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition – great for adults and children alike. To please the kids further, there’s a Dinosaur Museum as well, but adults might prefer the formidable Keep Military Museum, housed in a castle-lookalike from 1879.

The Romans arrived here in 43 AD, naming their settlement Durnovaria and Dorchester’s Roman heritage can be spotted throughout the area. Part of the Roman town wall remains, near Borough Gardens, an excavated Roman Town House can be found in the northwest corner of the old town, while to the south there are Roman baths and the impressive amphitheatre of Maumbury Rings.

Roman town house

Dorchester is the ideal place to combine culture and history with a bit of sporty adventure. The nearby countryside offers ample opportunities for hiking and the beach is never far away. For those of an even more adventurous bent, Dorset is a surprisingly good place to soar the skies on a paragliding taster day or extended course. Beaches, hills and even Roman sites can all be enjoyed from above and it’s possible to do both tandem or solo glides in various places such as the Jurassic Coast near Dorchester town.

For further information about Dorchester, museums and the surrounding area click here.

First UK Rights & Images © Anna Maria Espsäter

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