Visit this award-winning museum in the heart of Dorset’s county town of Dorchester. Featuring a wide variety of collections, there is something for everyone to enjoy including the history of the Jurassic Coast and its dinosaurs, ancient Dorset, geology and earth sciences, fine art, sculpture, Dorset’s literary history (boasting a world-class collection on Thomas Hardy) plus a programme of temporary exhibitions. There are children’s trails and activities, and families are especially welcome. Look out for fun dinosaur activities in the Jurassic Coast Gallery, as well as the tearoom and gift shop.
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About the area
Dorset means rugged varied coastlines and high chalk downlands. Squeezed in among the cliffs and set amid some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery is a chain of picturesque villages and seaside towns. Along the coast you’ll find the Lulworth Ranges, which run from Kimmeridge Bay in the east to Lulworth Cove in the west. Together with a stretch of East Devon, this is Britain’s Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, noted for its layers of shale and numerous fossils embedded in the rock. Among the best-known natural landmarks on this stretch of the Dorset coast is Durdle Door, a rocky arch that has been shaped and sculpted to perfection by the elements. The whole area has the unmistakable stamp of prehistory.
Away from Dorset’s magical coastline lies a landscape with a very different character and atmosphere, but one that is no less appealing. Here, winding, hedge-lined country lanes lead beneath lush, green hilltops to snug, sleepy villages hidden from view and the wider world. The people of Dorset are justifiably proud of the achievements of Thomas Hardy, its most famous son, and much of the county is immortalised in his writing.
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