Ruins of a 12th-c Norman keep, located in a very peaceful setting by the banks of the River Avon in Christchurch. The ancient walls rise up to 40ft high in places with an archway in each. The ruins of the Norman Constable' s House, in the nearby park, are also of interest.
Run by English Heritage.
Opening times: any reasonable time Free Entry
Location: Christchurch, Dorset - Website
One of the most impressive ruined castle in England. It was here that King John imprisoned 24 French Knights and Prince Edward was murdered in AD 978. Built by the Normans circa 1080, the castle was later destroyed after a siege in the Civil War. Today its crumbling and leaning ruins dominate the small village below it of the same name. Most of the village houses are built from the local purbeck stone. There is also model village where you can see what the area looked like before the Civil War.
The castle is said to be the inspiration for Enid Blyton's 'Kirrin Castle' from her Famous Five adventures.
Opening times: daily, from 10am
(closed Xmas) Admission Charge
Location: The Square, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5EZ - Tel: 01929 481294 - Website
Facilities: parking, cafe, restaurant, gift shop
A prehistoric hill fort set in Blackmore Vale. One of the finest hill forts in the UK, with ring ditches and impressive fortifications.
Opening times: any reasonable
time Public Access
Location: Blackmore Vale, five miles north of Blandford Forum (Latitude: 50.913554N Longitude: 2.221706W)
Historic castle set in lovely parkland. Part of the Lulworth Estate, which includes Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. Built in the 17th-c as a hunting lodge, the castle has been fully restored and houses a museum. Visitors can climb the towers and explore its many fine period rooms or walk around the surrounding gardens, estate and woodlands.
Opening times: Sun to Fri from 10:30am Admission Charge
Location: Lulworth Castle, East Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5QS
Tel: 01929 400352 - Website
Facilities: parking, gift shop, animal farm, indoor/outdoor play areas
One of the largest and most impressive Iron-Age hill forts in England. These enormous fortifications were created around 300 BC, making this one of the most important settlements in British prehistory. The 47 acre flat-topped site is surrounded by three great ditches and ramparts, each rising up to 90ft. Entrances at each end of the site are guarded by an intricate labyrinth of earthworks, designed to slow down attackers, and subject them to a hail of missiles from the ramparts above.
Archeological evidence shows that the fort was stormed by a Roman legion in AD 43, led by the future Emperor Vespasian, which brought about its final demise.
Opening times: at any reasonable
time Public Access
Location: Near Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 9PR - Website
Henry VIII coastal fort, in continuous use up until the end of WWII. The castle is a squat, bastion style fortress, with 14ft thick walls that once bristled with artillery. Located on the waterfront overlooking Portland harbour, it was basically designed as a gun platform to protect the harbour.
Opening times: Apr~Oct, daily from 10am to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Castleton, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1AZ - Tel: 01305 820539 - Website
Facilities: parking, gift shop
Housed in the School of Signals of the Royal Corps, the museum documents the diverse and fascinating history of British military communications, from carrier pigeons in the First World War to the long-range technology of modern warfare. Interactive exhibits for children.
Opening times: Mar~Oct Mon-Fri 10am to 5pm, Sat-Sun 10am to 4pm Admission Charge
Location: Blandford Camp, Blanford, Dorset, DT11 8RH - Tel: 01258 482248 - Website
Facilities: parking, shop
One of the most impressive of Dorset's historic houses, set in 30 acres of Capability Brown landscaped gardens, grounds and lakes. Built by the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594, the Castle was later passed to the Digby family in 1617. Period paintings, furniture and porcelain are on show.
Opening times: Apr~Oct, Tue-Thu, Sat-Sun & BH Mon 11am to 4.30pm Admission Charge
Location: New Rd, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 5NR - Tel: 01935 813182 - Website
Facilities: parking, cafe, gift shop
Image Credit: Mike Searle (CC2)
A small but very important museum located in a group of memorial cottages in the village of Tolpuddle. Packed with illustrative displays that reiterate the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and their struggle against derisory pay and poor working conditions in the early 19th century.
Opening times: all year, times vary Free Entry
Location: Tolpuddle, Dorset, DT2 7EH - Tel: 01305 848237 -
Facilities: parking (lay-by outside museum), shop.
Please note that the above information was accurate at the time this page was last updated. This information is subject to change at any time (opening times in particular), therefore if you plan on visiting any of the above attractions, please check the owner's website first or phone them for the latest details.