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The County Town of Dorchester is a wonderful mixture of old and new; town and country; peace and energy. Dorchester was once a major town on the Roman map, but its history goes way back to Neolithic times, including Maiden Castle; one of the largest Iron Age hillforts in Europe. Nowadays Dorchester celebrates both its history and the vibrancy of modern day living. The town has arguably the best shopping experience in Dorset, with some chain stores, but many interesting and unique boutiques and shops hiding in the walkways or nestling in the rejuvenated Brewery Square.
The delightful, small village of Frampton lies 5 miles from Dorchester and 3 miles from Maiden Newton, deep in Thomas Hardy country. Situated on the River Frome and surrounded by the glorious Dorset Downs, Frampton (thought to be a derivative of Frome Town) dates back hundreds of years and is even mentioned in the Domesday Book. There are plenty of places to explore by foot or bike; the more adventurous can hike cross country all the way to Chesil Beach. Good road connections make it an easy drive to Yeovil, Lyme Regis or Weymouth.
What is there to do in Dorchester?
Apart from the shopping, Dorchester has numerous attractions to ensure you make the most of your time in town.
With its Roman ruins and fascinating museums showcasing Dorset’s rich history, you are never far from opportunities to enjoy Dorset’s past. Dorset boasts a renowned County museum, chosen as the first stop on the Dippy the Diplodocus tour in 2018. Here you can find out about Romans, fossils, Judge Jeffries and Thomas Hardy to name but a few. There is a teddy bear museum, a Tutankhamun museum, a military museum and a terracotta warriors museum. Tucked behind County Hall you can find the amazing Roman Town House and can follow the walls around the town.
There’s a Thomas Hardy trail to help you enjoy the town he called Casterbridge. You can take part in a guided ghostly walk, enjoy the enchanting sculptures by the lakes exhibition, wander around the beautiful Athelhampton Gardens or enjoy the animals at the Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park.
For the energetic, Henleys Hillbillies gives you the chance for off road driving, you could take the Dorchester to Weymouth walk or venture further afield to Cerne Abbas to meet the unashamed Chalk Giant!
It’s a beautiful drive from Dorchester to the coastal town of Weymouth or the enchanting village of Abbotsbury with its Swannery and gardens. The drive to Bridport offers breath-taking scenery or towards Wimborne in the opposite direction you can easily enjoy another wonderful market town.