Visiting Dorset & the Local Area
Dorchester as a base
Times given are estimates from Google maps. Once you’ve explored Dorchester, this page shows some of the great visits you can make using Dorchester as a base for exploring the surrounding area.
Now an Agricultural College but the gardens and grounds are open to the public. Ideal for picnics, admiring the ducks and swans and leisurely walks around the lake. Look out for special events like the Lambing weekends in March.
Jan 5 – Dec 21 every day; 10-5.30/dusk
Adults £5 – 60+ £4.50
Child £3 Group (10 or more) £4.50 pp
Gp guided tour £6 (booked in advance)
Season Ticket Single £17, Double £30
Season ticket for Family £40
Shop and cafe
4 minutes by car from Dorchester Town centre
Maiden Castle is one of the largest Iron Age hillforts in Europe. The multiple ramparts enclose a huge area capable of sheltering several hundred people. Excavations have shown the site to date back to 4,000 BC and revealed human remains which linked the site to the Roman invasion in AD 43.
More information about Visiting Maiden Castle
7 minutes by car from Dorchester Town centre
No trip to Dorchester is complete without viewing the at times rather chilly Cerne Giant – a club wielding figure carved in the hillside. Drive almost through Cerne on the A352 and you will see a car park and viewing area on the right.
More information about Visiting Cerne Abbas and the Giant
12 minutes by car from Dorchester Town centre
Sculpture by the Lakes
Enjoy peace and tranquility in this beautifully landscaped 26 acre site featuring 4 lakes and the sculpture of internationally famous artist Simon Gudgeon.
Numbers are limited to ensure a peaceful visit. Book online at Sculpture By The Lakes
Dorset, DT2 8QU
Summer Apr 1 – Sep 30 Mon-Sun
Winter Oct 1 – Mar 31 Mon-Sat
No under 14s or dogs
Beautiful peaceful lake gardens
Downloadable sculpture guide
Downloadable visitor guide.
No catering – bring a picnic!
16 minutes by car from Dorchester Town centre
Kingston Lacey (NT)
Kingston Lacey is one of the treasures of the National Trust which describes it as an elegant country mansion with important collections, set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland. Old Master paintings, with works by Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel.
14 Mar-1 Nov 11-5 Wed-Sun
6 Feb-8 Mar 10:30-4 Fri-Sun
13 Mar-1 Nov 10:30-6 Every day
6 Nov-20 Dec 10:30-4 Fri-Sun
Admission – House
Gift Aid Admission (Standard Admission)
Adults £10 (£9)
Child £5 (£4.50)
Family £25 (£22.70)
Admission – Park/Garden
Adults £5 (£4.50)
Child £2.50 (£2.20)
Family £12.50 (£11.30)
Shop and cafe
30 minutes by car from Dorchester Town centre
Try this inspiring walk. Once you are on Southwell Road leave the car at the Cheyney Wears clifftop parking area on the left. Walk along the road another 200 metres and turn left on a track. This takes you through the old quarries all the way to the Bill. Allow 2 hours for the walking but there is a cafe with seats outside at the Bill.
More information about Visiting Portland and Portland Bill
35 minutes by car from Dorchester Town centre
Yes, that’s just an hour to the New Forest! So if you’ve never visited, even a half day trip will give you a flavour of this National Park now famous for its free roaming ponies! Ideal for walks and cycle rides through the woods and heathlands. The directions take you to the road where this photo was taken.
60 minutes by car from Dorchester Town centre