Historic Sites & Museums in Dorset
Historic Sites & Museums in Dorset
The Etches Collection – Kimmeridge
Visitors will enter the Exhibition Gallery and experience a laboratory of the senses as they are taken on an immersive journey through life underwater 150 million years ago.
The Etches Collection is the result of one man’s passion. Over 30 years of discovery and diligent research, dogged determination not just to find and collect specimens, but also to bring to life the amazing stories of the creatures that existed in the Kimmeridgian age.
Open Daily 10am – 5pm
Closed 24th, 25th, 26th Dec
This museum holds a collection of over 300 vehicles and is regarded as the best in the world. The Tank Museum is home to the world’s first ever tank – Little Willie, the feared German Tiger tank and the modern Challenger 2. Whilst at The Tank Museum, take a look at the Fury Exhibition and see the the film’s armour plated star, Sherman M4 along with props, imagery and footage directly from the set.
Tanks in Action displays take place at 13.00pm every weekday during School holidays The Tank Museum is open daily from 10.00 – 17.00. The Museum is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Look out for special events
Lulworth Castle, built in the early 17th Century as a hunting lodge, became a country house at the heart of a large estate. The Castle opened to the public as a tourist attraction in 1998 and today visitors can enjoy exploring the Castle, climbing the Tower, visiting the C18th Roman Catholic Chapel of St Mary and the C15th Church of St Andrew. There are woodland walks and a childrens playground and spacious grounds to dog walk and picnic.
The Castle & Park is typically open Sunday to Friday (Closed Saturdays). March to October 10.30am – 5.00pm and November to March 10.30am – 4.00pm. Lots of special events at the castle
Lyme Regis Museum
stands in the heart of the town, just where the beautiful coastlines of Dorset and Devon meet on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The museum’s collections are unusually rich for a small museum and we have a lot of good stories to tell. Lyme’s lively local history is well represented by maritime and domestic objects, and illustrated by paintings, prints and photographs.
is an iron age hill fort and downland with views across the Marshwood Vale to the coast. The hill fort itself is about 2,500 years old and is a great place for walking, flying kites or simply taking in the extensive views of the surrounding countryside and the English Channel in the distance.
Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum
is a modern, informative, and educational exhibition, using interactive touch screen displays telling the story in text and images. Visitors can discover for themselves how the Tolpuddle Martyrs changed the face of social history and, through their beliefs and actions, made such an impact on society. 01305 848 237.
is open 1st April to 31st October 11am – 5pm. Last admission is at 4:30pm. Visitors tour the Castle on a ‘self-guided’ basis following from room to room in their own time.
Sherborne has had a castle since the 12th Century. Visitors from all over the world have been attracted to its outstanding collections of art and furniture, connection to Sir Walter Raleigh and to admire Capability Brown’s landscape. Sherborne Castle remains the family home of the Wingfield Digby Family. 01935 812072
Clouds Hill. This tiny isolated brick and tile cottage in the heart of Dorset was the peaceful retreat of T. E. Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’). The rooms are much as he left them and reflect his complex personality.
This cottage, where Hardy was born in 1840, was built of cob and thatch by his grandfather and has been little altered since the family left. The garden reflects most people’s idea of a typical cottage garden, with roses around the door, and the sound of birdsong, even in winter. 01305 262366.
Beaulieu Motor Museum.
With over 250 vehicles the National Motor Museum tells the story of motoring on our roads and racetracks. Re-live memorable challenges in World of Top Gear – and see exclusive behind-the scenes footage featuring the stars of the show. Ride the Monorail for sweeping views of the park, and uncover the covert role played by Beaulieu during World War Two in the Secret Army Exhibition.
Cerne Abbas Giant.
Standing at 180ft tall, this is Britain’s largest chalk hill figure. It is also Britain’s most controversial. Many theories surround the giant’s identity. Is it an ancient symbol of spirituality? The Greco-Roman hero Hercules? Or a mockery of Oliver Cromwell? Local folklore has long held it to be an aid to fertility.
The dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle stand on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills. It may have been a defensive site even in Roman times and Corfe Castle certainly has had a colourful history. Enjoy one of Britain’s most iconic and evocative survivors of the English Civil War, partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians.
Knowlton Church and Rings.
The church was built sometime in the twelfth century and underwent several modifications through to the fourteenth century. The ruins of Knowlton Church are magnificent.
is the largest hill fort in England extending about 45 acres and lies 2 miles South of Dorchester Town. Maiden Castle appears to have been abandoned, although the Romans may have had something to do with this!
Visitors can experience a unique journey through six miles of beautiful scenery passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle, travelling down to Swanage. Step back in time and experience the unique atmosphere and romance of luxury fine dining on one of the dining trains, while watching the beautiful rolling countryside and iconic Corfe Castle. Pop down to Swanage Railway in order to take a ride on one of the steam trains.
The Dinosaur Museum.
The Dinosaur Museum provides a fun, interactive and exciting environment in which children, families and adults can discover more about dinosaurs and their fascinating prehistoric world. The museum has consistently enthralled and entertained children with its mix of fossils, skeletons, life-size dinosaur reconstructions combined with hands on and multimedia displays.
The history of the Royal Navy is preserved for the benefit of today’s and future generations by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN). With four exhibition halls, over ninety aircraft and over 2 million records and 30 thousand artefacts the Museum is Europe’s largest naval aviation Museum. This museum houses the first British Concorde which you can go on board, view the cockpit and visit the award winning Aircraft Carrier Experience.
Open daily from 10am – 6pm. Overlooking Portland Harbour in Dorset stands one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal forts, built in the early 1540s to protect against French and Spanish invasion. Enjoy stunning sea views from the gun platforms, and get close to the powerful cannons. Portland Castle offers lots to do for families and couples alike. Take a stroll in the Contemporary Heritage Garden before relaxing in the Captain’s Tearoom.
Teddy Bear Museum
is Dorchester’s unmissable family museum, with Edward Bear and his family of people-sized bears, in Teddy Bear House. One of the best varied selection of Teddy Bears and collectors soft toys in the South. A visit to the Teddy Bears’ home is a delight for visitors of all ages. Join the bears as they relax around their home.
Open 7 days a week. April to September 10am to 5pm. October to March 10am to 4pm.
This World Heritage Exhibition, currently shown in Dorchester, is the original Tutankhamun Exhibition established following the success of the Treasures of Tutankhamun Exhibition at the British Museum London. Since it opened the Exhibition has been seen by visitors from all over Britain and many parts of the world exceeding most attendance records.
The Tutankhamun Exhibition features amongst many wonderful treasures: The Golden Mask of Tutankhamun, The Golden Throne of Tutankhamun, Tutankhamun’s mummy. The Golden figure of Tutankhamun the Harpooner.