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Things to do in Dorchester this October Half Term

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

Spooky season is nearly upon us and Dorchester has a brilliant reputation for hosting some of the best halloween events. Whether you want to get in the Halloween mood or enjoy a peaceful Dorchester walks, the County Town is sure to have something to suit what you’re after. From children-friendly themed hunts, to super scary abandoned prison stays, we showcase a handful of eerie-sistible activities for people of all ages in Dorchester this October half term!

Half Term Halloween Fun in Dorchester

Shire Hall will be full of scarily-fun activities throughout the October half term! The family-friendly fun starts on Monday 24th October and lasts until Saturday 29th October. Activities include; slimey slime making workshops, creepy crafts, a spooky trial and film screenings! After your visit, pop into their cafe for some seasonal autumnal recipes and Halloween treats. Kids who are dressed up go free, and 2 kids go free with every paying adult!

More info – Shire Hall Website

halloween at shire hall museum, dorchester 2022

Halloween Ghost Hunt at Dorchester Prison

Spectre, phantom, ghoul or ghost, which do you fear the most? Here’s a scarier way to spend your October half term in Dorchester.

The grim and foreboding abandoned Dorchester Prison is rife with ghostly activity. Cell doors slam, keys handle and stones are thrown by unseen hands. Voices re heard and cold spots appear for no reason. The sound of a piano is often heard and shadowy figures emerge from nowhere. You have the opportunity to spend the night at Dorchester Prison, working as a team to try and find out who haunts the terrifying building. The event will include; tour of the location, use of ghost hunting equipment, vigils in small groups, opportunity to ghost hunt alone, and beverages throughout the night.

More info – Eventbrite

Haunted Prison

The Annual Brewery Square Ghost Hunt

The annual free ghost hunt is back for another year in Brewery Square! It will take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th October from 10am-4pm. All entrants are required to collect an entry form on the day from the Concierge Office, opposite the Dorchester South Train Station and then find the ghosts and ghouls hidden throughout the Square. All those who successfully complete the challenge will be rewarded with some fantastic Halloween goodies! There will also be a prize awarded for the spookiest fancy-dress costume.

More info – Facebook event page

Spells in the Cells

29th October, 7PM

One for the grown-ups. Spells in the Cells is an 18+ event that comes back for its 3rd year in Shire Hall, Dorchester. Channel your inner witch or wizard with an evening of alcoholic potion making. The evening will commence with a serving of Butterbeer, a beverage straight from the books. From there, things get a little mixed up. Using a set of ingredients from ancient ‘magic textbooks’, you’ll create concoctions such as Transfiguration Tonic.

Notice: pre-booking is required and you may be asked for proof of ID.

More info – Stay Happening Website

Halloween witch potions


The Dinosaur 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 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.

Museum Admission prices apply (£10 adults, £8 children)

Dinosaur model at Dorchester's Dinosaur Museum.

Dorset Museum

Discover Dorset in depth at Dorset 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 activity – Storytales with Tim Laycock – 28th October 2022, 10:30am-11:30am

More info – Dorset Museum Website

250 million years of natural history at Dorset Museum

The Tutankhamun Exhibition

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 £12 / Children £8 / Children under five – FREE.

More info – Tutenkhamun Website

Tutankhamuns Throne

The Keep Military 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 Keep Website

The Keep Museum

The Teddy Bear Museum

Something for the younger ones who would prefer bears to scares this Halloween.

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

More info – Teddy Bear Museum Website

The Teddy Bear Museum

Terracotta Warriors 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 £6.50 per ticket / Child £4.50 per ticket / Children under 5 free

More info – Terracotta Warriors Museum Website

Terracotta warriors

Maiden Castle

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.

Walking on Maiden Castle

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. Download the Discover Dorchester App or follow the pavement plaques around the town. All four trails start from the town pump.

One of the many walks in Dorchester Dorset

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 nearby Bockhampton.

Hardy Cottage Thorncombe Woods

Max Gate Historic House

Visit the National Trust Victorian house designed by Thomas Hardy and his home from 1885 until his death in 1928. The impressive Max Gate 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 – National Trust Website

Admission prices – Adults £8 / Children £4

Max Gate - Thomas Hardy

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