THe Local area
History & Heritage
The area surrounding Lorton house is jam-packed with history that spans millions of years. There is of course the world-famous jurassic coast, but it’s also teeming with military and marine heritage too. All of the below will give you a good flavour of times gone by in our local area.
Constructed by Henry VIII to form part of the King’s defences against an invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, Sandsfoot Castle can be found just outside Weymouth. The situ is actually close enough for it to be historically known as Weymouth Castle. Free from potential invasion, the ruins of this once impressive artillery fort can now be visited throughout the year.
One of the most popular heritage attractions in Weymouth, Northe Fort stands proudly at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour. Offering 360 degree views across Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and a maze of underground passages, it’s a great day out if you’re wanting to immerse yourselves in a little history. It’s also so prominent that you’ll definitely see it even if you don’t visit!
Dorset is steeped in history. How much? Well 250 million years of it if you count our gorgeous Jurassic coastline. The multi-award-winning Dorset Museum, located in Dorchester, brings all of this natural history together in one place for you to enjoy. From natural Dorset to the people that have called it home, including the renowned Thomas Hardy, this museum has it all.
Castledown D-Day Centre is an authentic recreation of the busy wartime dockyard on the Isle of Portland, from which in 1944, thousands of American troops of the 5th US Corps and the US 1st infantry, embarked, bound for heavily defended beaches of Nazi occupied France. This is a great day out for not only those interested in wartime history, but for all ages of the family.
If it’s wall to wall views of the ocean you’re after then Portland Bill offers them in spades. Situated on the Southerly tip of the Isle of Portland the former lighthouse keepers’ dwellings feature fun and informative maritime displays and interactive games. There’s also a café for you to make the most of those views.
The Tank Museum
The Tank Museum is a great place to add to your heritage bucket list if you’re interested in military memorabilia. With 100 years of history told through 300 tanks and 10 powerful exhibitions, it boasts one of the world’s finest collections of tanks. It’s also suitable for all ages and considered as one of the best local attractions.
Now maintained by the National Trust, Corfe Castle was originally established by William the Conqueror and subsequently partially destroyed in the English Civil War. It’s now an utterly majestic and enchanting ruin that offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Purbeck countryside. Just like all National Trust locations, it’s worth visiting the tea-room during your trip!
Thomas Hardy is one of the most famous former residents of the area that surrounds Lorton House. If you’re an enthusiast there’s several places for you to explore. There’s of course his very own statue, which is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Dorset, as well as the cob and thatch cottage built by this great grandfather which would go on to become his birthplace.