Eat & Drink

Dorchester has a brilliant range of independent and nationally established places to eat and drink at any time of day.
Many of them utilise and celebrate the wonderful food and drink produced in the local area.
Dorchester has an amazing brewing history and we are fortunate to have a few local micro breweries and distilleries in the town.

See & Do

Dorchester's rich history means there are lots of things to do here. We have hillforts, henges, an amphitheatre, Roman walls, a Roman town house complete with mosaics and a six brilliant museums! Plus, we forgot to mention all of our play parks, river walks and town trails. It is impossible for anyone, of any age, to be bored in Dorchester.


We have pulled together some suggested itineraries and more detailed information about how to make the most of your visit to Dorchester. Click on the link to be inspired.


Dorchester has a variety of different shopping areas. All of them have a great balance of national favourites and independent shops. Homewares, gifts, clothing, shoes, toys, essentials, refills and more can all be found in our vibrant county town.


Discover Dorchester

Dorchester – Thomas Hardy’s Casterbridge, or the Roman town of Durnovaria – is awash with history and sights to explore.

Whether it’s the two (where else has two?) Iron Age hill forts of Maiden Castle and Poundbury, the Roman Town House close to the line of the old Roman Walls (the only example of a fully exposed Roman town house in the country); the fantastic Georgian Architecture in the picturesque town centre; the house designed and lived in by Thomas Hardy; HRH King Charles III’s urban extension at Poundbury with its open spaces and interesting shops and eateries or the modern redevelopment of the former brewery with its dancing fountains – there is lots for everyone to enjoy.

Dinosaurs and Romans, literary giants, great scientists, military history, art and architecture, beautiful green spaces, interesting and independent shops and great places to eat – there really is something for everyone.


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Dorchester's Festive Season

Dorchester is enchanting during the festive season and definitely worth a visit for some Christmas shopping and festive cheer!

Dorset is home to some wonderful makers and producers whose wares make for brilliant and unique Christmas presents. A Christmas market or craft fair is the perfect place to pick up gifts for friends and family and we have lots happening in Dorchester in the run up to Christmas 2024. Check out our guide. Each is slightly different, some indoor, some outdoor. Some in the town centre, some in Poundbury. All brilliant though and worth a visit!

Dorchester has a fantastic selection of independent shops around the Town Centre, Brewery Square and Poundbury that are perfect for buying presents for others or treating yourself! Check out our little guide of our favourite shops for any recipient and support local this Christmas.

Don’t miss out on free parking days in Dorchester is the run up to Christmas too! Find out more here

What's On?


Askerswell Coin Hoard

Askerswell Roman Coin hoard

Wed 29th Nov - All day
and 30 future schedules



Cold Porcelain Poinsettia Workshop – 29th November 2023

Wed 29th Nov - 10:30am



Christmas Afternoon Tea

Treat yourself to a Christmas Afternoon at Shire Hall Museum this festive season.

Wed 29th Nov - 12:00pm
and 21 future schedules



Dorset Museum Collections Tour

Tour of the Collections at Dorset Museum

Thu 30th Nov - 11:00am
and 1 future schedules



Silver Clay Beginners

Fri 1st Dec - 10:00am


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Carols on the Green

Come and sing carols under the stars then head into the church to see the Christmas trees and enjoy mince pies, mulled punch or hot soup to warm the hands and heart

Fri 1st Dec - 6:00pm


Christmas Quiz

Festive Fundraising Quiz

Put your knowledge to the test at our fundraising quiz night! Money raised will go towards the Museum's cultural and community projects.

Fri 1st Dec - 7:00pm



Elisabeth Frink: A View from Within

Experience the inner world of famous sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) in a major new exhibition exploring her artistic and personal life in Dorset.

Sat 2nd Dec - 9:00am



Special Exhibition

Exhibition of Elisabeth Frink's work in Dorset

Sat 2nd Dec - All day
and 1 future schedules


Poundbury Christmas Market

Poundbury Christmas Market

Come along and see over 70 fabulous independent makers, retailers, foods and so much more.

Sat 2nd Dec - 10:00am


Planning a trip to Dorchester?

Visiting Dorchester?

Dorchester is a compact Market town, nowhere is more than a 20 minute or so walk from the town centre. It’s easy to get in a sustainable way too. There are direct train services from Bristol, Bath, London, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth. We are part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network, well connected by bus and we have lots of electric car charging facilities dotted about the town as well.

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Dorchester has two train stations meaning we are well connected for visitors from across the country. London to Dorchester takes less than three hours and Bournemouth to Dorchester takes less than an hour!

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There are lots of cycle parking points to lock your bike up around the town and it is well connected to the Sustrans National Cycle network.

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We have a regular bus service to local major towns including Bridport, Weymouth and Blandford.

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There are lots of car parks dotted around and lots of e-car charging points too.

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Your guide to everything you need during your visit to discover Dorchester.

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