"Mai Dun, Durnovaria and Dorchester..." Top 5 Page for this destination Dorchester by ettiewyn

Dorchester Travel Guide: 69 reviews and 222 photos

Maiden Castle

When I stayed in Bournemouth for ten days during my UK trip, I went to Dorchester for one day. At first I wanted to go there simply because it sounded like a nice place, but later I found out about something I really wanted to see: Maiden Castle, the biggest iron age hill fort in Europe!

I took the train to Dorchester in the morning and first explored the town centre and visited two museums, in the afternoon I went to Maiden Castle and another historical place, Maumbury Rings, before returning to Bournemouth in the evening.

Of course reminders of history are quite visible in most English towns, but in Dorchester maybe even a little more than elsewhere. Ok, there is no great cathedral, no castle, and the town centre is not as picturesque as in other towns I have seen. However, if you are interested in history Dorchester has so much to offer. Mai Dun, now called Maiden Castle, is an outstanding place that bears witness of the skills and life of the iron age people. When the Romans invaded this area, they founded the town of Durnovaria, and there are many interesting attractions left from this period, the highlight being the Roman Town House with its beautiful mosaics.
And then the Dorchester of modern times, with its connections to the famous writer Thomas Hardy!

To sum up, Dorchester is certainly worth a visit if you are interested in Roman and prehistoric history, or if you want to learn about the literary heritage of Dorset. As I said, it is not as picturesque as for example Winchester, but it is still a pretty town with its river, its small churches and tree-lined streets!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:So much history and pretty places to see, and outstanding Maiden Castle!
  • Cons:Busses to Maiden Castle do not go often
  • In a nutshell:Discover three different historical cities within one :-)
  • Last visit to Dorchester: Mar 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (29)

Comments (6)

  • Britannia2's Profile Photo
    May 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    As always really interesting and informative writing. Good photos too.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    Very interesting and informative tips. I had never heard of Maiden Castle or the Maumbury Rings, but they both sound like worthwhile places to visit ? with good walking shoes, of course.

  • slothtraveller's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Interesting page on Dorchester, a part of the country I do not know very well at all. I like the look of the Roman townhouse (nice mosaics!), although the Teddy Bear Museum sounds rather freaky. I can barely think of anything worse, especially the giant ones!

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    Hi Mirjam
    Just dropped by to rate your Maiden castle tip - and so glad that you found it as impressive as we did. It's always a bit of a concern when you rave about something and then wonder whether other people are going to share your enthusiasm!

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Very interesting destination

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Great page!


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