Things to do in Dorchester this October Half Term

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The Dinosaur Museum Museum

The only museum on mainland Britain solely devoted to dinosaurs, the award-winning Dinosaur Museum is a treat, especially for children. The musuem combines life-sized reconstructions of dinosaurs with fossils and skeletons to create an exciting hands-on experience.

The Great Dinosaur Hunt is happening throughout the Autumn halft-term at the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester. The event involves the whole museum and lets children explore and search out the answers to the clues of the dinosaur mystery. The Dinosaur Museum is the perfect place for the dinosaur hunt with its exciting blend of fossils, skeletons, and life-size dinosaur reconstructions with hands on, and multimedia displays. All children who correctly crack the code and solve the dinosaur mystery win a special certificate.

The Dinosaur Museum is situated in the centre of Dorchester. Over the year’s it has won much acclaim, most recently being cited as one of Britain’s top ten family museums. It is open daily from 10am to 4pm.

The Great Dinosaur Hunt starts on Saturday 25 October and ends on Sunday 2 November.

Museum Admission prices apply (£6.50 adults, £5.50 children)

Dorset County Museum Museum

Discover Dorset in depth at Dorset County Museum and explore the story of the county from prehistory to the present day. Visit the nostalgic and atmospheric Victorian Gallery, one of the few places in Europe you can follow in the footsteps of ancient Romans by actually walking on Roman mosaic…

  • Half Term Family Activity – 29th October – Victorian Hallowe’en Customs and Crafts – Time: 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • Thomas Hardy Talk Hardy, Games and Prehistoric Landscapes by Dr Rebecca Welshman of Exeter University – 30th October – Time: 7pm for 7.30pm
  • Young Archaeologist’s Club – 1st November – 10.30am to 12.30pm For children aged 8-17. Book your place in advance on 01305 756827 as numbers are limited.

More info –

Old Crown Court and Cells Historic Site

Visit the Old Crown Court and Cells at Shire Hall in Dorchester and discover its gripping history. ~Famous for the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. ~Experience two hundred years of gruesome crime and punishment in a setting little changed over the years. ~Stand in the dock and sit in the…

  • Monday 27th and Wednesday 29th October, Guided Tours at 11am and 12noon, lasting 50 minutes. Adults £4, children free, bookable at Dorchester Tourist Information Centre 01305 267992.
  • Tuesday 28th October – Family Activity: Halloween Big Draw 10:30am-12:30pm. Free, donations welcome. Just turn up, or book at Dorchester Tourist Information Centre to ensure a place. Suitable for all ages. Join in the national Big Draw and take home your own drawings of the Old Crown Court and Cells. Make a ghost to hang up in the cells to scare our Halloween visitors!
  • Wednesday 29th October – The Lights Out Tour! 8pm. Are you brave enough to experience the cells below the Court in the dark? Come and hear ghoulish tales of the grisly past of the Old Crown Court, tales of murder and punishment, rough justice and rougher characters. £7, £5 members of Dorchester Arts Centre and concessions. Limited numbers, tickets only available at Dorchester Tourist Information Centre. Suitable for ages 12+

More info –

Dorchester Ghost Walks

Spectre, phantom, ghoul or ghost, which do you fear the most?

Walks start at 8 o’clock – Tiptoe through alleys and down by the river; who will be first to quake and to quiver? Dorchester Town Ghost Walks with Alistair Chisholm (Town Crier) and Chris Gallarus (both Blue Badge Guides) Meeting 8pm at The Kings Arms. Adults £6, Children £3 No need to book unless as a group.

Ghost Walk Halloween Special on the 31st October

Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park Garden

Halloween at Kingston Maurward Animal Park

Take part in a range of fun and ghoulish activities at the Animal Park, including:

  • 11am – Meet the Harris Hawk
  • 12pm – Face your fears – meet our resident rats, cockroaches, snakes, spiders and crickets
  • 1:30pm – Face your fears other activities include colouring, mask making, pumpkin carving (£2 per go) and movie time.

As well as feeding the sheep and goats, and meeting all our farmyard friends including cows, sheep, chickens, ducks and more!

Monday October 27 – Friday October 31 2014 10am to 3pm

Normal admission charges apply: Adult – £6.50 Concession – £6 / Child – £4.50 / Family – £24* *2 adults and up to 3 children

More info –

Plaza Cinema Dorchester Cinema

Plaza Dorchester – All digital, 4 screen, 3D enabled, live sattelite enabled, state of the art cinema in Dorchester, Dorset.

Lots of great films on over the October Half Term break for the kids to enjoy

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • Dolphin Tale 2
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • The Book of Life
  • What We Did On Our Holiday

Admission prices – All Seats £2.50 Monday to Friday / £3.50 Saturday & Sunday

More info –

The Tutankhamun Exhibition Museum

The Tutankhamun Exhibition allows the visitor to experience the magnificence and wonder of the world’s greatest discovery of ancient treasure. Be there at the discovery with Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon, and share in their excitment. Explore the ante-chamber filled with treasures including golden animal couches, the sentinel figures of Tutankhamun, and the golden throne.

The Tutankhamun Exhibition has recreated Tutankhamun’s tomb, treasures, and mummified body using sight, sound and smell – spanning time itself.

Open daily – 10.00am – 4.00pm

Admission Charges – Adult £8.99 / Children £6.99 / Family (2adults+2children) £28.99 / Children under five – FREE.

More info –

The Keep Military Museum Museum

A modern military museum that tells the story of the soldiers of Devon and Dorset across three hundred years. New for 2014 is a refurbished WW1 Gallery, changing annually to reflect the 1914-1918 centenaries The view from the roof is also unmissable!

Opening Times: Saturday 10am -4pm / Tuesday – Friday : 10am – 4.30pm / Closed Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays

Admission Prices – Adult £6.50 / Child (8-16 years) £2.50 / Child (Under 8 years) ** FREE

More info –

The Teddy Bear Museum Museum

Visit this unique family museum with its evocative and atmospheric displays of teddy bears from throughout the last century. From the earliest teddy bears right up until today’s TV favourites they are all there to be seen and enjoyed. The museums oldest bear is called Michael as was made in 1906 and is based on the original teddy bear design and pattern. The museum is set in the ‘house’ of Edward Bear – a human sized teddy bear – who with his family have been avid bear collectors!

Famous bears such as Rupert Bear, Winnie the Pooh and Paddington are on display.

Opening times – 10.30 – 16.30

Admission Prices – Adult £5.99 per ticket / Child £3.99 per ticket / Family £17.99 per ticket

More info –

Terracotta Warriors Museum Museum

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is the only museum outside China exclusively dedicated to the Terracotta Warriors. The terracotta warriors created worldwide fascination when discovered in 1974 at Xian, China. The only museum outside China exclusively dedicated to the amazing Terracotta Warriors. Unique museum replicas of the warriors, reconstructions of costumes and armour and multimedia presentations.

Opening Times – 10.00 – 16.00

Admission Prices – Adult £5.50 per ticket / Child £3.75 per ticket / Family £17.00 per ticket / Children under 5 free

More info –


Maiden Castle Historic Site

Perfect for the kids to let off steam, walk the dog or fly a kite. The finest and largest Iron Age hill fort in Britain, with enormous earthworks and complicated entrances. Its banks enclose an area the size of 50 football pitches, which would have been home to about 200 families.

Discover Dorchester Town Walks

Dorchester may be one of the smallest county towns in England but it is packed with history, culture and activities. The best way to discover Dorchester is by following one or more of Dorchester’s four town trails. Pick up a leaflet from the Dorchester Tourist Information Centre or follow the pavement plaques around the town. All four trails start from the town pump.

Hardy’s Cottage Historic House

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in this small cob and thatch cottage, which was built by his great-grandfather and is little altered since the family left. His early novels Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd were written here. Wander around Hardy’s birthplace then take a walk through Puddletown Forest and neraby Bockhampton.

The house is open Wednesday through Sunday – 11am – 5pm – closes for the Winter on the 31st October

Max Gate Historic House

Visit the National Trust Victorian house designed by Thomas Hardy and his home from 1885 until his death in 1928. Contains several pieces of Hardy’s furniture. Here he wrote Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge. Visitors to the house can view the hall, dining room, drawing room and garden as well as the room where Hardy wrote his most provocative novel.

More info –

Admission prices – Adults £4 / Children £2


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