8 reasons to visit Dorchester

Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Tutankhamun Museum
Tutankhamun Museum

10 Reasons to visit Dorchester

With the summer holidays nearly upon us many families are considering where to travel on holiday or perhaps a weekend visit.  Dorchester has an incredibly rich history dating back to pre-historic times.  Ideally situated in the center of the county, Dorchester, is an ideal spot to base yourself to access the rest of the Dorset.
The History of Dorchester
Dorchester’s roots can be traced back to prehistoric times.
Once considered one of the most influential settlements in pre-roman Britain, Maiden Castle (Hill Fort) was the site of the early settlements.
Roman features can still be spotted in the town today.  These include part of the town walls and the remains of a town house near the County Hall. There is also Maumbury Rings, a Roman amphitheatre and Poundbury Hill, another fort.
Dorchester Today
Even if the children will not sit still long enough to learn about this market-town, there are many reasons why you should visit Dorchester.  Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Dorchester.
1)
Maumbury Rings
Maumbury Rings, just off the Weymouth Road, was originally a Neolithic Henge monument from around 2500 BC. It was the Romans who lowered the central area and built up the banks to create an amphitheatre capable of holding 10,000 people.It was used as a cannon emplacement during the Civil War, guarding the town’s southern approaches. Mary Channing was executed here in 1705 for poisoning her husband. She was strangled and burnt.
It seems so peaceful now when the only disturbance is the occasional concert or performance but its long bloody history fascinated Thomas Hardy who witnessed excavations on this site when he was in his sixties. The site is mentioned in his novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Maumbury+Rings.&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=19.805845,34.277344&ie=UTF8&hq=Maumbury+Rings.&hnear=&ll=50.708057,-2.440263&spn=0.002497,0.006228&t=h&z=18

With the summer holidays nearly upon us many families are considering where to travel on holiday or perhaps weekend plans to visit Dorchester. Dorset’s County Town has an incredibly rich history dating back to prehistoric times.

Ideally situated in the center of the county, the town is an ideal spot to base yourself to access the rest of the Dorset.

The History of the Town

The town’s roots can be traced back to prehistoric times.   Once considered one of the most influential settlements in pre-roman Britain, Maiden Castle (Hillfort) was the site of the early settlements.

Roman features can still be spotted in the town today.  These include part of the town walls and the remains of a town house near the County Hall. There is also Maumbury Rings, a Roman amphitheatre and Poundbury Hill, another fort.

Visit Dorchester Today

Even if the children will not sit still long enough to learn about this market-town, there are many reasons why you should visit. Here are a few of them:

Visit Dorchester and take in the views around Maumbury Rings
View around Maumbury Rings

1) Maumbury Rings

Maumbury Rings, just off the Weymouth Road, was originally a Neolithic Henge monument from around 2500 BC. It was the Romans who lowered the central area and built up the banks to create an amphitheatre capable of holding 10,000 people.It was used as a cannon emplacement during the Civil War, guarding the town’s southern approaches. Mary Channing was executed here in 1705 for poisoning her husband. She was strangled and burnt.

It seems so peaceful now when the only disturbance is the occasional concert or performance but its long bloody history fascinated Thomas Hardy who witnessed excavations on this site when he was in his sixties. The site is mentioned in his novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge.  An arial view of the Rings.

2) Terracotta Warriors

The figures in the Terracotta Warriors Museum are in all respects identical to the originals having been made near the Emperor’s tomb from the same clay and fired in the same way as the originals.

Tutankhamun Museum
Tutankhamun Museum

3) The Tutankhamun Exhibition

What could be more unexpected in an English county town than to discover an exhibition dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian boy king, Tutankhamun!

4) The Keep, Military Museum

Literally, this is the most spectacular military museum in the South.
The Keep Military museum features computer and digital presentation, realistic battle environments, together with exhibitions and the tales of courage, humour and sacrifice spread over 300 years. A vast array of campaigns is represented and put into a historical context in the video introduction in the bunker. Curios on exhibition include Hitler’s desk!

5) River walk

The river walk can be followed out towards Kingston Maurward by crossing the road at the bottom of High East Street. On the outskirts of town there are a number of riverside footpaths.

The Dinosaur Museum 6) The Dinosaur Museum
Children from a very early age seem fascinated by Dinosaurs. The Dinosaur Museum is a family museum and has frequently appeared on television, usually in children’s programmes such as Blue Peter, the Tweenies and many others.

7) Shopping

With over 400 shops and businesses in the centre of Dorchester there is something to satisfy everyone’s shopping needs. When shopping here, you can find a great selection of high street regulars, but the town also has its own speciality shops that attract people from all over the south west. Click here for a list of local shops.

8) Visit Dorset

Why not Discover our Secrets?  It is a great place to base yourself and ideally located as a hopping off point the rest of the County.  Take a trip down to Weymouth and check out the Nothe Fort. Here are some things that do to and see in Dorset. Remember to book a place to stay.

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