The minster’s squat, square towers of mottled brown stone dominate the town centre. The building’s foundation dates back to AD 705, when Cuthburga and Gwenburga, sisters to the King of the West Saxons, set up a mixed monastery here. The present building dates from some 400 years later. One of its most fascinating features is the library, founded for the free use of the townspeople in 1686, and consisting of 350 (mainly theological) volumes. To prevent theft of such valuable items, the books were chained to the shelves. See also the astronomical clock, Quarterjack on the west tower and the Man in the Wall.
Facilities – at a glance
Suitable for all child ages
- Suitable for children of all ages
- Parking nearby
- Facilities: Ramps, induction loop, wheelchairs available; filmed tour of Chained Library can be seen in Trinity Chapel
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year, Mon 2-4, Tue-Fri 10.30-12.30 and 2-4 (or by prior arrangement). All opening times subject to church services
Also in the area
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.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
Why choose Rated Trips?
Your trusted guide to rated places across the UK
The best coverage
Discover more than 15,000 professionally rated places to stay, eat and visit from across the UK and Ireland.
Choose a place to stay safe in the knowledge that it has been expertly assessed by trained assessors.
Plan your next trip
Search by location or the type of place you're visiting to find your next ideal holiday experience.
Read our articles, city guides and recommended things to do for inspiration. We're here to help you explore the UK.