Shire Hall Courthouse Museum

High W St, Dorchester, DT1 1UY

01305 261849

Executed for arson. Transported for asking for fair pay. Given six months hard labour for stealing clothes. 200 years of justice, injustice, crime and punishment are brought to life at Dorchester’s Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum.

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17.8 miles from Highlands End
19.8 miles from Golden Cap
15.6 miles from Graston Copse
7.6 miles from Sandyholme

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Executed for arson. Transported for asking for fair pay. Given six months hard labour for stealing clothes. 200 years of justice, injustice, crime and punishment are brought to life at Dorchester’s Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum.

The new immersive museum enables visitors of all ages to explore the history of law and order, as well as past and present efforts to achieve justice for all people.

Walk in the footsteps of everyday people who were tried and sentenced in the court. Use the interactive multi-media guides to find out what happened to them. Discover the depths of the cold, dark cells, and stand in the dock of the historic courtroom, where famous novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was a magistrate. Dress up in wigs, gowns and hats to play the part and uncover the remarkable stories of those who passed through the building. Learn what it means when we say “crime,” what we want when we demand punishment for those crimes and how we can all make the present-day world that little bit fairer.

See where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were held before being brought to trial, thereby sparking the Trade Union movement. Learn how it felt for them to be separated from their families and sentenced to transportation to Australia.

All visitors can enjoy refreshments and delicious food at the Shire Hall Café, or browse our quirky gift shop.

For more information visit the website.

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Holidays in Dorset

At West Dorset Leisure Holidays, we have a great choice of accommodation and facilities across 4 family-run holiday parks on or near the Jurassic Coast - Highlands End, Golden Cap, Graston Copse and Sandyholme, as well as Caravan and Lodge Holiday Homes for sale.

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Our Awards & Accreditations

Our parks have been recognised as some of the best in Dorset. We're extremely proud of the awards and it's easy to see why our guests return year on year. You can be safe in the knowledge that you're staying at one of the best parks in the county! Please note awards vary by Park.

What our guests say

  • Very peaceful Park

    The wildlife is stunning, we were visited by the ducks on a regular basis which was lovely. Our visit was very enjoyable and we will definitely be back in the future!

    Sarah W - Pitch Up
    Sandyholme

  • 5 out of 5 isn't enough!

    This is simply our favorite touring park along the south coast. The location couldn't be better with views to die for and an abundance of fresh sea air. The park is spic and span and extremely well kept with very friendly staff.

    Big Caravan Adventures - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Best holiday ever!

    This is by far the best Holiday Park I have been to. The views are breath taking with easy access to the beach and nice coastal walks to West Bay. If you're looking for a relaxing holiday in a stunning location, then this is the place to come.

    Alison D - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • Fantastic holiday once again

    We have been coming here now every year for about 10 years. Its our favourite place and the Park has everything we need.

    Andy M - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • A little bit of heaven!

    Golden Cap is a little bit of heaven. The views are awesome, right next to the sea. It's all relaxed and low key just how we like it.

    Esther Woodhouse - Facebook
    Golden Cap

  • Idyllic setting

    Quiet site in a beautiful setting with exceptionally clean toilets and showers

    Anthony M - Pitch Up
    Graston Copse

  • Would definitely recommend

    Close to beach, a nice local pub, dog friendly and a very relaxed atmosphere.

    Dan M - Pitch Up
    Golden Cap

  • A tour of Dorset!

    An excellent Park as a base to visit the Dorset coast, Jurassic Coast, Chesil Beach, Lyme Regis, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, to name a few.

    Arthur D - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse

  • Fantastic Park

    10 out of 10 is not enough for this Holiday Park. We have been here 3 times and we love it more and more every time. The park has all you need, with some pitches overlooking the sea and a great restaurant.

    Shirley Thompson - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • A hidden gem

    The location is amazing, right on the beach and all the facilities are good. It's a hidden gem this one, one of the best parks in the country

    Mark Tee - Tripadvisor
    Golden Cap

  • Lovely tranquil campsite

    The location was great as we could easily walk to the village or local beaches through the beautiful countryside. I would recommend this campsite to families for a peaceful and safe stay.

    Sarah - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse