From Monday 29 April 2024 there will be no public access to the car park at Dorset History Centre whilst we undertake major work on our roof. The car park will be closed for 4 months, reopening in September 2024. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause.

Opening hours

Dorset History centre opening hours
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


There are a few things you need to do before you visit.

If you want to look at original documents, you need to book an appointment. Contact us to book an appointment and pre-order documents.

Appointments are for up-to 3 hours in either the morning or the afternoon. The morning session runs between 9.30am and 12.30pm. The afternoon session runs between 1.30pm and 4.30pm.

Please note that the main searchroom closes for one hour between 12.30pm and 1.30pm for staff lunch. The library and family history computer room remain open during this period.

We also offer group visits for community or educational groups.

Where to find us

Dorset History Centre
Bridport Road

Get directions


We have limited parking on the paved area at the back of Dorset History Centre. This includes 3 disabled bays.

You can buy a ticket using cash, through the JustPark app, or by calling 07520 634455 and paying by card.

Pay and display car park charges
 Time  Charge
 up to 30 minutes 50p
 up to 1 hours  £1
 up to 2 hours £1.50
 up to 3 hours £2.20
up to 4 hours (no return) £3.50

Charges apply Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm.

If you are using Dorset History Centre for longer than 4 hours, speak to a member of staff.

Other car parks

The nearest public car park at Top O' Town has both long and short stay parking. Fairfield 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.

Cycle parking

We have a secure and dry bicycle storage facility at the front of the building. Ask for a key at reception.


All our public rooms at Dorset History Centre, including the search room, are on the ground floor with level access from outside via automatic doors.

There is an accessible toilet at the centre. Hearing loops are fitted at all the enquiry desks.

Find out more about accessibility and how we are making sure everyone can benefit from our services.