8 reasons to visit DorchesterThursday, July 15th, 2010
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:
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.
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
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.
8) Visit Dorset