Continuing with our look at places to live in Dorset, this month we’re taking a closer look at Dorchester. Perhaps you’re thinking of moving to the area and are interested in removals in Dorchester – or you would just like to know about more about what is available in the local area before you make that move! Sometimes people come to Dorset on holiday and want to stay, but what’s it like living in such a picturesque place during the ‘off’ season?

Dorchester is the county town of Dorset, nestled between the coastal town of Poole and Northover and Gilbert HQ here in Bridport. A historic market town, Dorchester features many listed buildings and areas of historical interest. It was also the home and inspiration of author Thomas Hardy – perhaps the town’s most famous resident – and many of his novels were written here.

Two of Hardy’s former homes are now owned by the National Trust and are open to the public. His birthplace, Hardy’s Cottage is a picturesque property with stunning gardens. In contrast, Max Gate is the atmospheric Victorian home which Hardy designed himself – having originally trained as an architect – before following his passion for writing. This quirky house was built by Hardy’s brother and bequeathed to the Trust by his sister. Hardy lived there until his death in 1928.

Steeped in history, Dorchester is a popular destination for summer holidaymakers staying on the coast. There are lots of things for day trippers to see and do and the town is home to many interesting museums. These include the Dorset County Museum, the Keep Military Museum, and – somewhat out of place for Dorset – a Terracotta Warriors Museum and a Tutankhamun Exhibition.

But what is it really like to live in Dorchester?

Just a short distance from the coast and surrounded by beautiful countryside, locals say it is a great place to raise a family. Several of the town schools have been rated as outstanding by Ofsted and there are strong collaborations between the schools and local colleges ensuring that youngsters get the best out of their education. The transport links are good, situated on the A35 and with two railway stations you can be in London within two and a half hours. On Wednesdays there is a large market at Farifield, just South of Dorchester. The market takes place all year round and features around 500 stalls offering a wide range of products including organic produce direct from local farms, second-hand goods, bric-a-brac and antiques. There is also a popular car boot sale held on the market site every Sunday between 8am and 1pm.

House Prices in Dorchester – renting or buying?

According to Zoopla, the average house price in Dorchester right now is around £303,000. Terraced properties currently sell for an average value of £259,500 and semi-detached properties for around £304,000.

If you’re thinking of renting then one bedroom properties start at about £600 per calendar month, rising to around £900 for a three bed property.

Useful links

Thomas Hardy’s Cottage: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardys-cottage
Max Gate (Thomas Hardy’s House): www.nationaltrust.org.uk/max-gate

Dorchester Visitors Guide: www.visit-dorset.com/explore/towns/dorchester

Picture Credit: Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, Wikimedia Commons