In and around…

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is dedicated to the eighth wonder of the ancient world, superb museum replicas from China of the 2000 year old terracotta warriors, armour, and costumes.

The secrets and magic of 3000 year old Ancient Egyptian mummies are revealed in the Mummies Exhibition. See superb recreations of unwrapped mummies featuring Ramses the Great, Seti and Princess Nesitanebasher.

Make the most of your time in Dorchester and save money with the Gold Saver Pass when you visit two or more of these attractions.

All the attractions are open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm in the summer and 4pm in the winter, closing for a couple of weeks before Christmas. Full details on their websites or on

In High West Street, close to the main shopping area, you will find Dorset County Museum. Discover 200 million years of Dorset’s past in this award-winning museum. Housing six galleries, a wide variety of fascinating treasures, exhibitions and plenty of children’s activities, there is something here for all the family. See fine art, archaeology, geology, dinosaur fossils, Thomas Hardy’s recreated study and much more.

Following the astounding success of the Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus skeleton, known as Dippy, at the museum early in 2018, a major £14.9m Heritage lottery funded project, Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset will create a leading contemporary cultural and heritage centre. The Victorian Hall and other existing spaces will be refurbished, and a new building will double the Museum’s floor space.

You now have a chance to glimpse part of the Roman town during the excavations. Lost and forgotten for centuries, the ancient Roman road that lies beneath the museum is finally being uncovered and visitors can witness this unique event through a LIVE, onsite archaeological dig within the museums ancient grounds from a new open-air viewing platform providing visitors with a prime vantage point from which to oversee the archaeologists as they search for hidden Roman gems.

The new All Roads Lead to Durnovaria exhibition (23rd July- 30th September) is the first of a series of events celebrating this exciting Museum, bringing to life the historical wealth of Dorset and the Jurassic Coast, and should be part of any visit to the county.

Family events will be taking place throughout the museum on Saturdays and Sundays with special emphasis placed on encouraging children to make their own discoveries with mosaic rubbing and drawing classes.

Dinosaur Museum

The chance to create and colour in your own Roman helmet will be available, as well as photo opportunities with Roman soldier ‘face in the hole’ board cut outs. Once kitted out in Roman helmets why not try your hand at a Roman trail around Dorset County Museum’s galleries?

The museum, tearoom and gift shop are open all year round Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. Closing time is 4pm November to March. Value for money family tickets are available. For details of the wide range of events on offer including free kids’ craft activities in school holidays, check the website

Continue up to the ‘Top ‘o the Town’ and you will find The Military Museum of Devon and Dorset, housed in an impressive Grade 2 Listed castle-like building known as ‘The Keep’, it is built of Ridgeway Stone and was completed in 1879 as the gatehouse and armoury of the depot barracks of the Dorsetshire Regiment.

The layout of the Keep today is far removed from that of Victorian times, although the cell area on the ground floor gives a stark reminder of the conditions that prevailed in the mid to late 1800s. The Museum’s collection tells the stories of soldiers from the regiments of Devon and Dorset both Infantry and Yeomanry who have served their country since 1685. The collection is displayed over 4 floors and exhibits include Hitler’s desk, weapons, uniforms, silver, personal items and a stunning collection of medals.

Computer and digital presentation, realistic battle environments, together with exhibitions, tell the tales of courage, humour and sacrifice of the soldiers and their families who have served in the regiments of Devon and Dorset. The displays are ever evolving, keeping the museum at the forefront of presentation standards covering the Military Heritage of two Counties. The Museum has an extensive archive that is not open to the public, but research can be undertaken in return for a donation to Museum funds.

Close by, on the western side of Dorchester lies the town of Poundbury, based on the vision and views of HRH Prince Charles, it continues to raise a degree of architectural debate. It was designed to mix social and private housing as well as commercial and residential buildings in a series of high quality, high density, interlinked urban zones.

The intention is to create an attractive, modern and pleasant place in which people can live, work, play and shop. It is unquestionably different to the suburban characteristics we are more familiar with and well worth the few minutes drive, to experience it for oneself.

For those wishing to follow the life of Hardy, a village off the A35 east of 8 The Tourist Handbook Wessex 2018-19

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