Top things to do

Top Choice Archaeological Site in Dorchester

Maiden Castle

Occupying a massive slab of horizon on the southern fringes of Dorchester, Maiden Castle is the largest and most complex Iron Age hill fort in Britain. The first defences were built on the site around 500 BC – in it…
Top Choice Museum in Dorchester

Dorset County Museum

The Thomas Hardy collection here is the world's largest, offering extraordinary insights into his creative process. You can see from text in Hardy's cramped handwriting where he's crossed out one word and substitute…
Top Choice Brasserie in Dorchester


One of Dorchester's best, buzziest brunch and lunch spots has fleets of fans thanks to a buy-local ethos and emphasis on super-fresh sustainable ingredients. They crop up in everything from platters, tapas and melts…
Modern British in Dorchester


The menu at sleek Sienna is peppered with rarities; expect to find fermented blackberry, jerk carrot or squid ink artfully arranged on your plate. The desserts are imaginative, too – perhaps try the chocolate pud wi…
Historic Building in Dorchester

Roman Town House

The knee-high flint walls and beautifully preserved mosaics here powerfully conjure up the Roman occupation of Dorchester (then Durnovaria). Peek into the summer dining room to see the underfloor heating system (hyp…
Historic Building in Dorchester

Max Gate

Novelist Thomas Hardy was a trained architect and designed this attractive house, where he lived from 1885 until his death in 1928. Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure were both written here, and the hous…
Burgers in Dorchester

Cow & Apple

Piled high and oozing all the trimmings, the dirty burgers here are decidedly good – spice things up with jalapeños, brie or a seriously sticky BBQ sauce. The cider list – more than 50 types – could take a while to …
Historic Building in Dorchester

Hardy's Cottage

This picturesque cob-and-thatch house is the birthplace of writer Thomas Hardy. It features evocative, sparsely furnished rooms and a lush garden. It's in Higher Bockhampton, 3 miles northeast of Dorchester.
Cinema in Dorchester

Plaza Cinema

A four-screen art-deco delight, resplendent in red, black and gold, where the glamorous setting upstages the films.
Landmark in Dorchester

Lucetta's House

Some say this grand Georgian house with ornate doorposts was an inspiration for Thomas Hardy as he imagined the home of the character Lucetta Templeman in the Mayor Of Casterbridge, a town synonymous with Dorchester…