The name Dorset derives from the county town of Dorchester, it was established by the Romans in the 1st century naming it Durnovaria, and by the year 940 it was recorded as Dorseteschire and was part of the kingdom of Wessex. The county is one of chalk downs and heathland as well as the iconic cliffs.
Dorset has a long history of human settlement, the Romans conquered Dorset's indigenous Celtic tribe, and during the early Middle Ages, the Saxons settled here and made Dorset a shire. Dorset has the unfortunate honor of the first recorded Viking raid on the British Isles that occurred during the 8th century.
The county has a long and chequered history and the history lover will find lots to see and do here. The Tolpuddle martyrs and smugglers are associated with the county. Sir Walter Raleigh for a time lived at Sherborne castle building a new one in 1594.
Dorset has much scenic beauty over half the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and three-quarters of its coastline is a World Heritage Site. Famous landscape’s such as Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door are seen on countless cards and calendars.
The literary buff will love the counties associations to its famous son Thomas Hardy, who used the county as the principal setting of his Wessex novels the county town of Dorchester becoming his Casterbridge. William Barnes the poet was born in Dorset, his poetry celebrates the ancient Dorset dialect.
Towns in Dorset
Activities in Dorset
Castle and Gardens
Sherbourne Castle - Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594
Adventure Wonderland - All weather funpark
Compton Acres - Stunning Themed Gardens
Gold Hill Museum - Gold Hill Museum
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