3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today click here

6 cool things to do in Dorchester

PUBLISHED: 10:49 28 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:49 28 June 2016

The panoramic view from The Keep

The panoramic view from The Keep

Archant

We take a quick look at some of the best things to see and do in the town of Dorchester

The best bird’s eye view

The large flat rooftop of the Keep Military Museum in Barrack Road gives panoramic views across Dorchester. You can see the Poundbury development and the site of the former POW camp. And look out across the water meadows (near the Duchy’s latest development) to the church at Stinsford where the heart of Thomas Hardy is buried. The Keep is currently commemorating 100 years since the Battle of the Somme with an exhibit of items including the bugle of Drummer Starn from the 1st Dorsets which still holds one of the bullets which wounded him on 1st July 1916 at Authuille Wood. Gift Aid your entry fee and return free for a year.

For news of other special events and offers go to keepmilitarymuseum.org

In the footsteps of a medical legend

Portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the David Lynch’s moving film The Elephant Man, Dorchester’s Sir Frederick Treves befriended Joseph (John) Merrick whose disfiguring congenital disorder made him an “attraction” in a sideshow. Treves, a pioneering surgeon who performed a life-saving operation on King Edward VII, is the inspiration behind the newly launched Treves Trail which reveals the story of his life in 19th century Dorchester. Find the free trail leaflet at Dorset County Museum, Dorset History Centre, Dorchester Tourist Information Centre and Damer’s Café at Dorset County Hospital.


Tea with ‘The Hanging Judge’

One of the most interesting places to tuck into tea and cake is at The Oak Rooms in Antelope Walk. The rooms were once the court of the notorious Judge Jeffreys, known as The Hanging Judge, who ordered the execution of 74 people and the transportation of 175 following the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion in 1685. The Bloody Assizes were held in the Oak Room of the Antelope Hotel and it was long thought that the Judge had a secret passageway from his lodgings to the court. There is a hidden door in the oak panelling and part of the tunnel is now used by the tea rooms as a larder.


An art Deco gem

Dorchester’s Plaza Cinema on Trinity Street opened its doors to film fans in 1933. The impressive Art Deco building held one screen at that time, and the first film shown was King Kong starring Fay Wray. The cinema has retained many of its original internal features and now boasts four screens. It’s a favourite haunt for local film lovers and also shows live theatre productions. The ticket prices are fairly retro too at just £2.50 on weekdays and £3.50 at weekends.

plazadorchester.com

Antiques and Curios

Duke’s Auctioneers and the town’s many antiques shops often feature on television, as does a favourite for antiques hunters and up-cycling fans - the Dorchester Curiosity Centre. Housed in the Old Bus Depot on the Grove Trading Estate this treasure trove of curiosities is home to 90 traders and also has a lovely café.

dorchcuriocentre.co.uk

Dorchester’s secret tunnels

Talking of Judge Jeffreys’ secret tunnels, there have long been rumours of all kinds of mysterious tunnels beneath the county town and one local Councillor has made it his mission to discover what evidence there is for these rumours. Cllr David Taylor has been searching for what lies beneath Dorchester for a while now and you can see more of his intriguing discoveries on the Urban Explorer website.

theurbanexplorer.co.uk

More Dorchester…

Taste in Dorchester given stylish makeover - With just 12 days to work her magic, interior designer, Charlotte Starling, gave Taste in Dorchester a certain je ne sais quoi with a stylish makeover inspired by a vegetable

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, September 14, 2018

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans on this lovely walk that takes in rare habitat, ancient woodland and glorious views

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This challenging coastal walk rewards your efforts with spectacular views along the Jurassic Coast

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Marine photographer Steve Belasco shares some very special wildlife moments

Read more
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

TravelSupermarket has uncovered the top 25 most popular UK beaches on Instagram after analysing hashtags used for over 1,100 beaches and Bournemouth comes out on top

Read more
Monday, September 3, 2018

From a harvest festival to a guided tour of a botanical collection used for making perfume, there is plenty happening in Dorset’s gardens this month

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ride + Stride, Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s annual fundraising event, is a great way to explore and support some of the county’s more unusual places of worship

Read more
Monday, August 6, 2018

This easy level walks takes in an ancient village described as The Mother of Bournemouth and Throop Mill of the River Stour

Read more
Monday, August 6, 2018

Dorset villages are some of the most beautiful in England – think winding lanes, thatched cottages and a cosy pub or welcoming tea room. We suggest ten of the prettiest villages to visit in the county

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more

From paddling on the Frome to admiring one of the best vistas in Dorset, Adam Lee-Potter’s beloved home town just keeps getting better and better

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

Butterflies, buzzards and beautiful views sum up this lovely summer walk around Piddletrenthide and Plush Hill

Read more
Sunday, July 8, 2018

Visit Dorset reveal their favourite lesser-known local beaches to explore if you want to get off the beaten track this summer

Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Anne Brunner-Ellis takes her horse on holiday to a B&B in Ashmore where they both enjoy three glorious days of exploring the local countryside as well as a spot of pampering

Read more

From supper on the beach to a vibrant live music scene, Kate Shaw reveals why her family love living in this award-winning coastal town

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search