13 July 2023

Dorchester – The Facts

Served by Dorset Council, Dorchester is a historical market town consisting of approximately 9,000 households and a population of around 20,000 residents.

Where is Dorchester?

Dorchester is situated in southern central Dorset, between Poole and Bridport on the A35. It’s only about 35-45 minutes away from Poole and Bournemouth by road, and in terms of train excursions to nearby towns and cities, trips to Bristol and London will take just over two hours and three hours respectively.

Why live in Dorchester?

As the county town of Dorset, Dorchester benefits from exceptional amenities (country pubs, cafes and fine dining) as well as vast employment opportunities. This includes vacancies at the County Hall and Dorset County Hospital.

Additionally, students will benefit from strong teaching prospects, with many schools in Dorchester, achieving OFSTED ‘outstanding’ ratings (like Cerne Abbas and The Thomas Hardye School) or ‘good’ ratings (see Broadmayne First School and Buckland Newton). What’s more, sixth forms in Dorchester boast Oxford and Cambridge University acceptances.

What’s it like to live in Dorchester?

Dorchester is a town suitable for people of all ages with museums, parks, playgrounds and cinemas open to everyone, together with a busy high street full of big-name shops, small local shops, cafes and restaurants.

Residents have lots of opportunity to socialise thanks to the network of groups and communities that take place in Dorchester. For example, the Dorset Walking and Social Group is open to all like-minded adults and consists of walks, bike rides and festivals in and around the region. The Dorset Community Action charity also supports voluntary groups and social enterprises across the county.

Workers who prefer a more relaxed home life can take advantage of Dorchester’s travel connections to larger Dorset towns like Bournemouth and Poole. Residents of Dorchester also benefit from the countryside scenery, with popular walking destinations such as the Jurassic Coast and the Isle of Purbeck nearby.

Is Dorchester safe?

According to CrimeRate in 2021, Dorset is ranked in the top 20 safest counties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Dorchester also measured 16% safer than the average safety rate of Dorset.

What to do in Dorchester

Homeowners benefit from being a stone’s throw from a myriad of museums, historic sites, riverside walks and parks.

Dorchester has many museums, including child-friendly ones like the Teddy Bear Museum and Dinosaur Museum. Dorset’s rich history can be explored at the Dorset Museum and the Keep Military Museum.

Dorchester’s heritage can be dated as far back as the Iron Age, with Maiden Castle situated less than two miles of the country town. More recently, Hardy’s Cottage is the birthplace of famous British author Thomas Hardy. He also lived at Max Gate.

There are several parks in the area, such as Dorchester’s Borough Gardens which is within a few minutes’ walk of the town centre and offers a play area, adult fitness equipment and tennis courts. The Great Field in Poundbury also provides considerable green space for dog walks and hosts events throughout the year.

Brewery Square offers shoppers access to well-known high street brands, as well as local independent stores. In addition to cinemas, Insight Activities offers something a little different to most towns and cities in the UK – outdoor archery, axe throwing and crossbow shooting.

Where to stay in Dorchester?

There are several well-reviewed 3 and 4-star hotels based in and around Dorchester and its neighbouring suburb, Fordington, including The King’s Arms and The Casterbridge. Airbnb also provides a lot of unique holiday rentals within Dorchester and its bordering areas – Fordington, Poundbury and Castle Park.

Where to Eat in Dorchester

Food and drink is available all over Dorchester, with a number of cafes, tearooms, pubs and themed restaurants based in the area. Myra’s Kaiseki is the most popular restaurant in Dorchester (according to TripAdvisor), providing guests with authentic Japanese cuisine.

Brewhouse & Kitchen is one for beer and food-lovers alike, putting a contemporary twist on the traditional pub format.

For a sophisticated brunch option, Taste Brasserie offers coffee, cakes and breakfast and daytime menus with focus on local produce.

Summary: Is Dorchester a nice place to live?

Simply put – yes. A safe, historic county town with various shopping, entertainment and food options along with easy commuter links and nearby access to the coastline, Dorchester is a lovely place to live for anyone, regardless of age.

Looking for a new home in Dorchester or Poundbury? Morrish Homes has a range of schemes available to help you find – and purchase – the right property. Learn about our buying schemes.

We have recently announced the development of the prestigious Crown & Market Hall in Poundbury. Click here to learn more.

Contact us today to find out more and a friendly team member will be in touch

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