Nearest History & Heritage Dorset
Our History and Heritage category brings all Coast Radar’s Dorset listings related to looking for something to do or a place to visit together where they offer some form of historic or heritage based activity.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Dorset day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the historic and heritage links below, hit the jump to my location button or use the search bar to plan your next Dorset activity.
- Shaftesbury is a charming market town and Dorset’s only hilltop town founded over 1,000 years ago as the home of King Alfred’s citadel Benedictine Abbey. The Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and garden brings to life the story of the Abbey and its inhabitants. The walled garden includes excavations of the Abbey Church. The Gold Hill is a charming collection of traditional sandstone cottages on a steep cobbled stone hill. This is one of the most photographed roads in England and has featured in TV commercials.
- The Durlstone Head Globe is on the cliffs of Durlston Head and is often refered to as the “Large Globe” or the “Great Globe”. Erected 1891 the globe is constructed of Portland stone, weighs about 40 tonnes, is 3 metres (10 ft) in diameter and surrounded by a circle of cast iron railings. At the base is a tablet recording distances between stars and planets. To the rear are a series of panels with quotations from the Bible, Shakespeare, the Aeneid and Tennyson and further tables of distances.
- Sherborne actually has two castles. The now ruins of Sherborne Old castle which was built in the 12th century as a strongly defended palace, Sherborne Old Castle became a powerful Royalist base during the Civil War. Sherborne Castle ‘new castle’ was built in 1594 by Sir Walter Raleigh as a stately home and now reflects over 400 years of English history. The 42 acres of grounds includes the 50-acre lake created by Capability Brown in 1753 and magnificent landscaped gardens of specimen trees, borders and sweeping lawns. The Castle’s interiors include collections of art, furniture and porcelain, together with Raleigh’s original kitchen, family artefacts and archaeological ‘finds’ from the old medieval castle on view in the castle cellars. The Castle Tea Room serves morning coffees, light lunches and afternoon teas, whilst the Gift Shop has a selection of gifts, souvenirs and our very own Sherborne Castle wines.
- Nothe Fort is at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour, constructed on three levels, with lift access, the Fort is filled with displays, guns and display areas that describe the history of this Victorian Fort. The Fort is a labyrinth of underground passageways and outdoor areas with stunning views of the coast.
- Knowlton Church is a ruined Norman church, built within a neolithic henge monument. The henge enclosing Knowlton Church is only one of three henges and associated earthworks. However, Church Henge is the best preserved. Nearby is Great Barrow, the largest round barrow in Dorset. Aerial photographs reveal a large number of ploughed-out barrows in the immediate vicinity.
- Kingston Lacy Country mansion with important collections, set in formal gardens and extensive parkland – children’s adventure playground and Iron Age hill fort, Badbury Rings. The land was gifted to Sir Ralph Bankes by Charles II in the 1660s in appreciation of his loyalty to the Royalist cause. The house you see today went under extensive change in the 1830s by the architect Sir Charles Barry, who architected the Houses of Parliament. The interiors include works by Rubens, Titian and Velazquez whilst the grounds have many marked trails.
- Max Gate was the home of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy – it is believed Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and the Mayor of Casterbridge were written here. Thomas Hardy designed this red-brick mansion himself and lived here for the last 40 years of his life, and died here on 1928, although his ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey, Thomas was a Dorset man through and through.