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Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum

Open today: 10:00 - 17:00
Review Highlights
First visit to this attraction. on a wet day.

We did not know this museum existed until we walked up the main street on a wet day. However, what... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
Paul H
A little gem in the heart of Dorchester

We visited Shire Hall during half term and the kids had a whale of a time in the cells and... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Fiona E
Poole, England, United Kingdom
via mobile
Read all 92 reviews
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Traveller Overview
  • Excellent84%
  • Very good15%
  • Average1%
  • Poor0%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
“court room”(8 reviews)
“audio tour”(7 reviews)
Shire Hall is a brand new Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester, Dorset. Discover the stories of people whose lives were changed, and in some cases ended, by their experiences in this building. Walk through the cells in the footsteps of the...more
Open Now
Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:00
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Suggested duration: 2-3 hours
Shire Hall, High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1UY, England
+44 1305 261849
Reviews (92)
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All reviews court room audio tour tolpuddle martyrs holding cells individual stories short introduction civil rights tour takes fascinating insight fun afternoon history brought to life all ages annual ticket well worth a visit during half term very helpful staff pleasant cafe
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1 - 10 of 92 reviews
Reviewed 6 days ago

We did not know this museum existed until we walked up the main street on a wet day. However, what an experience we had taking us back in time. The big bonus was that it was all local history.We were a litle restricted for time...More

Thank Paul H
Reviewed 1 week ago

A very interesting worthwhile visit to County Town Court of yesteryear and a place with a diverse history. Explore the cells and walk the route the ‘accused ‘ took into their box in court. Sit in the judges seat there is even a judges wig...More

Thank edjcapp
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We visited Shire Hall during half term and the kids had a whale of a time in the cells and courthouse. I would have liked to have read all the signs about the history but the children were just too busy exploring and I had...More

1  Thank Fiona E
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This museum is fantastic for all ages. It engaged my 7 year old daughter and my 70 year old father - not many places can do that! Engaging, interesting, interactive and knocks the socks off other local museums. Only downside was the disappointing cafe food...More

1  Thank G P
Anna B, Director at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Hi GP, thanks so much for the lovely review! I hope you don’t mind me asking, but when was your visit? I’m wondering because we changed the cafe menu a couple of weeks ago and it would be really helpful for us to know which...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I am so glad this building has been preserved. The Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum is a very interesting building. The volunteers are very helpful and you are given an audio tour on which you can choose which of 4 "stories" to follow. The stories...More

Thank Barrie - Alison C
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Fascinating old court rooms where they have brought history to life. I followed the trail of the Toll-puddle Martyrs using earphones and found it to be so interesting. The building is beautifully preserved and the staff very knowledgeable. .

Thank mrsagreen1
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Visited as a family today and very reasonable price for a family ticket at £20. We found the whole thing very interesting. The audio tours available and chance to take selfies and email them to yourself in the various hats and outfits was so good...More

1  Thank Nat W
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

For £7.50 (concession price - £8.50 full price) you get a year pass to a fascinating insight to justice of bygone years. This is the place that held the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and sent countless people to their deaths or to transportation. Very clever use of...More

Thank OlderGuy1956
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We visited here and took our granddaughter who is 11 they have made a great improvement and such a lot to see and do. We were fortunate as it was the town history week and they had the Shire Hall entry free on the day....More

Thank DavenportsUK
Reviewed 11 October 2018

The Shire Hall is the top place to visit in the attractive town of Dorchester. I last visited in 1982. Since then it has been transformed. You still have the memorable experiences of the dark and dank cells, and of repeating the prisoners' climb up...More

1  Thank Tom P
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Questions & Answers
Ask a question
29 May 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from G6762TGannab | Property representative |
Hi there, we have worked hard to make Shire Hall as accessible as possible. The short answer is that there is non-stepped access, and a lift to all floors. There are some narrow doorways - we have tested wheelchairs of 60cm... More
Linda B
2 May 2018|
Response from G6762TGannab | Property representative |
Hi Linda, ticket prices are: Adult £8.50, Child £4.50, Family £20, Concessions £7.50. Price includes free repeat visits for a year when you gift aid your ticket. There is a gift shop and cafe which both have free entry.
Linda B
2 May 2018|
Response from MsR1960 |
£8.50 for adult annual pass £7.50 for concession annual pass Unsure of children and family tickets. Will be on website.