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best places to live Dorchester Poundbury, Dorset

Top places to live in Dorset Dorchester

The historic county town of Dorset, Dorchester is great for families with very good schools, close proximity to the Jurassic coast as well glorious countryside. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

WHY?

The historic county town of Dorset, Dorchester is great for families with very good schools, close proximity to the Jurassic coast as well glorious countryside. Poundbury, the Prince of Wales’ retro urban extension – neo-classical meets Georgian town houses meets flint-clad cottages and more – lies on the edge of town.

EAT

Lots of places including Taste Brasserie and The Potting Shed. British classics at Vinny at Six. Inventive but not poncy menus at The King’s Arms. Japanese at Myras Kaiseki, super local nosh out in Lower Bockhampton at the thatched Yalbury Cottage. The New Inn at Cerne Abbas. Award-winning Brace of Pheasants in Plush.

SHOP

Lots of indies and chains around town, including Waitrose. Hobbs, Joules, Belle Modelle interiors, Morrish & Banham wines in Brewery Square. Assortment of indies up in Poundbury including the Brace of Butchers, Magpie homewares and gifts, Dorset Wine Co and Little Waitrose.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Lots. Two cinemas: the brilliant Art Deco Plaza and an Odeon. Dorchester Arts at the Corn Exchange. Ten museums, including a collection of unwrapped 3,000 year old mummies. Biennial literary fest. The neolithic Maumbury Rings, the Cerne Giant and the Jurassic coast. Thomas Hardy and TE Lawrence’s cottages. The super luxe Monart Day Spa up in Poundbury.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

Period and new builds in Dorchester, with new builds reminiscent of period in Poundbury. Average house price last year was £326,685 over the last year, with detached properties fetching £503,035, terraced £332,086 and flats £224,652.

HOT PROPERTY

A spectacular Grade 1 listed manor house in Poxwell for someone with a huge family (there are 9 bedrooms) and matching budget (it’s £3.75m). 10 acres, separate 3-bed cottage, swimming pool and helipad (natch).

SCHOOLS

Very good. Several state primaries close by are ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. Seniors: the Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester and Colyton Grammar in Colyford (6 miles) are both ‘outstanding’. Independents within easy reach include Sherborne School, Sunninghill Prep, Leweston and Exeter School.

BEST KEPT SECRET

A network of tunnels underneath the town are believed to have been used by the infamous ‘hanging judge’ Judge Jeffreys during the Bloody Assizes of September 1685.

COMMUTE

Dorchester West to London Paddington in 2 hours 32 mins; Dorchester South to London Waterloo in around 3 hours.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live

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Dorset

Best Place to Live in Dorset Reader Vote

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Westbourne, Bournemouth

Probably Bournemouth's hippest, most cosmopolitan area stuffed with places to eat, drink and shop – and just 15mins walk to the beach.

Christchurch

Lying between two rivers, the sea and the New Forest, the harbourside town boasts an idyllic location - and much more.

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A bustling town with pretty streets and courtyards, period buildings, independent shops and whopping weekend markets.

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Georgian streets, independent shops and eateries, an ancient harbour (and even more ancient fossils) on offer at this pretty seaside town on the Jurassic Coast.

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Bridport

Sometimes known as London-by-the-sea, the town has a vibrant community, rich cultural scene, indie shopping and eateries.

best places to live Dorchester Poundbury, Dorset

Dorchester

The historic county town of Dorset, Dorchester is great for families with very good schools, close proximity to the Jurassic coast as well glorious countryside.

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Shaftesbury

Sleepy hilltop town nestled within the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset, with indie shops, cafes and restaurants and one of the UK's most iconic views at Gold Hill.

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Sherborne

The picture postcard market town in north west Dorset has gorgeous medieval and Georgian properties, an eclectic array of independent shops, cafes and restaurants, excellent schools, a magnificent abbey and not one but two castles.

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