This month, our guest blog writer Jasmine from the Arts Development Company shares her favourite place to visit in Dorchester during the Autumn and Winter months.

This beautiful, historic market town of Dorchester is the perfect destination in the colder months. It offers plenty of activities to suit wet and dry weather, cosy venues with relaxing atmospheres, and a public garden to admire the changing season in.

Here are a few of my favourite spots in and around Dorchester, for families, couples and solo trips.

Shire Hall

Explore Dorset’s courthouse and the extraordinary people and stories it holds, from the Tolpuddle Martyrs to the case that inspired Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Alongside its captivating exhibition there are some cosy and seasonal events to enjoy. Their Christmas Market is held on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November, 10am - 4pm and every Wednesday and Saturday 10am - 12pm you can enjoy a delicious breakfast and endless tea and coffee for £10.

Shire Hall Christmas Market

Shire Hall’s normal opening hours are Monday-Saturday 10-4pm, with last entry to the Museum at 3pm. Ticket price includes an annual pass giving you free return visits for a year.

Plaza Cinema

This Art Deco gem has brought movie magic to Dorchester since 1933. It opened with Fay Wray in 'King Kong', which was allegedly the first screening of this film outside London. The cinema has four screens, two with wheelchair access, and they show mainstream movies throughout the day with ticket prices from £3.50 to £5.50.

Borough Gardens

My favourite place to admire the changing season is Borough Gardens. It’s a beautiful space with an impressive fountain, clock tower and an unusual sundial where the user forms part of the dial system. The gardens have something for everyone.

There’s a playground and exercise equipment for adults, refreshment kiosk, and a bandstand where you can stay dry and enjoy the sound of rain on the leaves.

The Gardens are located within a few minutes walk of the town centre and are wheelchair accessible from all entrances which are located on the corner between Albert Road and Princes Street, Cornwall Road, Bowling Alley Walk and West Walks. The Gardens are open every day from dawn until dusk in the winter and 9.00pm in the summer.  

Tincleton Gallery

Just 16 minutes from the town centre by car is an art gallery housed in an old Victorian school. It’s an intimate space with a homely atmosphere, nestled in a picturesque village. Their current exhibition, running until 5 January 2024 features artists, printmakers, ceramicists and painters from across the UK.

Tincleton gallery is open 10am-4pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. If you wish to visit at other times please contact them.

Sculpture by the Lakes

Just down the road from Tincleton Gallery is the spectacular Sculpture by the Lakes. 26 acres are home to over 120 inspiring artworks. It is rightly described as one of the most beautiful and unique settings in the UK, and a place where you can experience art and the landscape working seamlessly together.

The chase by Simon GudgeonThe Makers Yard is an exciting space to discover new food and art, and it is free to enter. They have an outstanding exhibition of international artists that is changed every six weeks, and the pantry and kitchen offers high quality and local food and drink to enjoy there or at home.

Sculpture by the Lakes is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm. Please note children under 14 are unable to enter.