We are open

From Friday 1 April 2022, we will be open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and the first Saturday of each month. The Local Studies Library and Family History room are open for drop-in visits between 9am and 5pm.

Access to original records in our Searchroom continues to be by appointment only. Email archives@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk for more information.

Opening hours

Opening times for the Dorset History Centre
Day Opening hours
Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed 
Wednesday 9am to 5pm
Thursday 9am to 5pm 
Friday 9am to 5pm
Saturday Open first Saturday of every month only, 9am to 4.30pm
Sunday Closed

We offer access to original documents by appointment only. Appointments are for one, two or three hours in either the morning or the afternoon. Contact us to arrange an appointment and pre-order documents.

Where to find us

Dorset History Centre
Bridport Road

Getting to us


There are bus services to Dorchester from many parts of the county and Dorchester can be reached via the national coach network.
Search for a bus stop, timetables and departures for Dorset History Centre.


Dorchester has two railway stations which run frequent services to Bristol, London, Poole and Bournemouth. Both stations are within 10 to 15 minutes walking distance of Dorset History Centre. Get more journey options and travel information


Dorset History Centre has a secure and dry bicycle storage facility at the front of the building. Please ask at reception for a key.

Car parking

Limited car parking is available on the paved area at the rear of Dorset History Centre. This includes 3 disabled bays. Please note that this car park is a coin-operated pay and display car park. All money raised is used to support services provided by the History Centre.

Pay and display car park charges for the Dorset History Centre
 Time  Charge
 up to 1 hour  70p
 up to 2 hours  £1
 up to 3 hours  £2
 up to 4 hours (no return)  £3

Please speak to a member of staff if you are using Dorset History Centre for longer than 4 hours. Charges apply Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm.

The nearest public car park at Top O' Town has both long and short stay parking. The market car park (not available on Wednesdays) is a 10 minute walk from the History Centre. On Saturdays there are plenty of parking spaces available in the car park behind the centre.

See other car parks in Dorchester

How to use Searchroom in use Dec 2014

A guide to what you will need for your visit and what you can expect when you arrive.
William Bankes Egypt drawing ref D-BKL H J 6 11 A 17

We are working hard to make sure everyone can benefit from our services.
East Dorset Heritage Trust visit to Dorset History Centre

We offer introduction sessions to Dorset History Centre and our resources.