We have some wonderful self-catering Dorchester holiday cottages in this beautifully lively market town. Whether you would like to stay in an old property, oozing with character, such as an old dairy dating back to the 1800’s, a pretty cottage nestled in a nearby rural village, or perhaps a more contemporary lodge close to the bustle of the town, we have something for everyone in our Dorchester cottage collection. We have some wonderful pet friendly cottages too, so there is no need to leave any family member behind.
Dorchester offers rolling green countryside, alongside all the pleasures of a vibrant market town, with beautiful architecture, an abundance of Roman history and some of the finest restaurants in Dorset. Shopping in Dorchester is a much loved pastime too, with many high street names alongside lovely boutique stores and regular traditional markets.
Things to do in Dorchester
There are plenty of fascinating museums to visit in Dorchester. The award winning Dinosaur Museum is a real must for any families visiting the Jurassic Coast, or discover the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb at the Tutankhamun exhibition.
The educational Roman Town House is free for all visitors. The remains of this Roman building is situated in the grounds of County Hall and you can see the stone walls which would have formed the magnificent house and the original mosaic floor, all dating back to the 4th century AD.
You can feel the spirit of Thomas Hardy everywhere in Dorchester; this is where he was born in 1840 in the delightful cob and thatch cottage built by his grandfather just a 12 minute drive from the town. This cottage is where Thomas Hardy sat and wrote ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ and ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. Visitors can visit Hardy’s Cottage, which is now owned by The National Trust and has barely been altered since his family left.
Be sure to include a visit to Thorncombe Woods if you are going to visit Hardy’s Cottage. This is the area of ancient woodland right next to the cottage. The woodland and nature reserve opens out onto heathland and is a beautiful place to enjoy a walk. Perfect for wildlife enthusiasts, keen walkers and of course, your beloved dog! Keep your eyes peeled for the wonderful variety of wildlife there, including woodpeckers and a herd of Dartmoor ponies. For a longer walk with a more energetic dog, Thorncombe Woods backs onto Puddletown Forest, which is another fantastic place to explore.
Shopping in Dorchester
Dorchester is fantastic for shopping, whether in well-known shops or smaller boutiques. The beautifully restored Dorchester Brewery Square is well worth a visit if you are a keen shopper, or indeed eater. Brewery Square has some great shops and restaurants and a brand new cinema complex for those who might to wish to venture out of their Dorchester cottage for dinner and a film. The Brewery Square Street Food Market is also a monthly event, with plenty of good quality food on offer to whisk back to your cottage for a gorgeous supper.
Dorchester Market is on every Wednesday and Sunday and is known to be one of Dorset’s biggest and best markets! The Wednesday market is fantastic with more than 200 different market traders pitched up both indoors and out. Sunday market also offers a giant car boot fair, so pop along and hunt out some rare collectables.
When you have had your fill of shopping and culture, relax in one of Dorchester’s lovely restaurants, from pavement cafes to Michelin starred fine dining establishments. Just take your pick!
Close to the beach!
The award winning golden sands of Weymouth are just under a half an hour drive away from Dorchester so you can enjoy a day at the beach during your stay. Or perhaps a family fishing boat trip from Weymouth Harbour. If you do drive down to Weymouth from Dorchester, it would be well worth stopping at Upwey, on the way, for a cream tea at Upwey Wishing Well Tearooms and Water Gardens.