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Dorchester, Dorset, Southwest England

Updated on December 12, 2014

Dorchester, The County Town of Dorset and Home of Thomas Hardy

Dorchester, the county town of Dorset, is a pleasant little Georgian town, which could act as a great base for exploring the beautiful county of Dorset in the Southwest of England. Dorchester was the home town of Thomas Hardy and was the inspiration for the fictitious town of Casterbridge in his classic novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Dorchester is easy to get to with many roads passing through and two railway stations, with plenty of good accommodation, such as the Casterbridge Hotel and a good selection of museums, some Roman ruins and other sites very near by.

Please also see: Things to do in Dorset...


Map of Dorchester and Dorset

A markerDorchester, Dorset, England -
Dorchester, Dorset, England
get directions

Dorchester - Thomas Hardy's fictitious town of Casterbridge

Dorchester is famous as the home of Thomas Hardy and attracts tourists with a literary bent, with its Hardy museums and of course being the basis for the town of Casterbridge in the Mayor of Casterbrdige, but also has many attractions near-by:

There are Roman ruins near the town centre which are open and free to view, with ornate mosaics visible through the windows of a protected enclosure.

Monkey World is just a few miles drive away

Cerne Abbas and The Cerne Giant are also a short distance away from Dorchester

Monkey World, Dorset

Monkey World, Dorset
Monkey World, Dorset

Cerne Abbas and The Cerne Giant

Cerne Abbas and The Cerne Giant

Cerne Abbas is a beautiful 16th Century village near Dorchester, with a 14th Century church, but the main attraction is the Cerne Giant: a huge, 55m (170') tall chalk figure on the hill-side, which is estimated to be a few thousand (or maybe just a couple of hundred) years old.

Roman Ruins in Dorchester, Dorset

Roman Ruins in Dorchester, Dorset

Roman Ruins in Dorchester, Dorset

Roman Ruins in Dorchester, Dorset
Roman Ruins in Dorchester, Dorset

Monkey World, Dorset

Monkey World, Dorset

Gibbons at Monkey World

Gibbons at Monkey World
Gibbons at Monkey World

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis, Dorset

Lyme Regis, a beautiful Dorset, sea-side resort town, is just a short drive away from Dorchester.

Places to Stay in Dorchester

The Casterbridge Hotel, Dorchester, Dorset

Places to Stay in Dorchester, Dorset

The Casterbridge Hotel, named after Thomas Hardy's fictional town of Casterbridge, which was based on his home town of Dorchester, is an excellent old hotel on the main street running through Dorchester. Some of the rooms have four-poster beds and pleasant traditional decoration. There is no restaurant, except for breakfast, but a very inviting lounge with comfortable sofas and a small bar. There are many restaurants in Dorchester and takeaway food may be brought back to the hotel to eat in the dining area (plates etc provided) At the weekend booking a table in the restaurants would be advised. The only criticism of the hotel was slightly obtrusive road noise in the rooms at the front, when the window was open, but otherwise a wonderful place to stay.

The Casterbridge,

49 High East Street,




+33 (0) 1305 264043

Other places to stay. There is a Best Western Hotel just a few doors down from the Casterbridge, which has less charm, but is still a nice historic building in a good location.

England Photos and Souvenirs

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    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      As usual your lenses are informative, well done, great pictures... we can use it as guide if we need to travel...

      Sprinkled with Stardust and Blessings

      Happy Holidays

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      Hey, when I retire I will be happy to come and house sit for you, for free. Seriously!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 7 years ago

      Great town, lovely county

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Well, looks like a fabulous place to visit!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Dorset is a wonderful county, of course I have to love it, I was born there. Lensrolled and added as a Featured lens on my Dorset lens.

    • profile image

      ruthrina 7 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your post and it made really curious to visit the place. i just hope i can get a cheaper Dorset holiday cottages.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Enjoyed reading about Dorchester, Dorset and Southwest England.