With greater historical legacies than many far bigger cities, Dorset's county town is rich in sights and activities for the curious traveler.
Explore prehistoric ruins, ancient amphitheaters and literary locations in cultural Dorchester. Founded by the Romans in a land previously inhabited by Stone Age farmers, this town still displays the heritage of these two distinct groups. Walk through the town and surrounding area to see the lasting impact of Dorchester's colorful history.
Orient yourself by finding the centrally located obelisk, which was once the town pump. Learn about the region's past at the Dorset County Museum, which houses local archaeological findings, Tudor paintings and manuscripts from local writer Thomas Hardy. Many of the exhibits relate to Dorchester's most famous sights.
Travel farther back in time at the Tutankhamun Exhibition, featuring recreations of Egypt's most famous mummy. Discover different facets of history at the Keep Military Museum, the Dinosaur Museum and the Terracotta Warriors Museum.
Continue your journey into history outdoors, stopping at the Maumbury Rings. This ancient circle, a short walk from the town center, is made of three different layers dating from the Neolithic, Roman and English Civil War eras. Find out how Romans lived at the remains of a Roman Town House and relax in the green Borough Gardens which hosts many of the town's cultural events.
Outside the city limits, discover even more area stories. Marvel at the mysterious Cerne Abbas Giant, Britain's largest chalk drawing. Historians disagree on the origins and purpose of the famous naked figure. View the drawing from afar for the whole picture or stroll around it to see pleasant scenery and local wildlife.
South of town lies Maiden Castle, a hill fort about 5,000 years old. Examine the Roman temple and Neolithic defenses and admire spectacular views over the town. The ancient settlement is free to visit and open year-round.
Dorchester has two railway stations, both 5-minute walks from the town center. Trains from London regularly head to Dorchester South. Arrange to visit in spring or summer to thoroughly appreciate the outdoor attractions that make the town such a fascinating destination.