Welcome to The Arts Society Dorset County website.

This society serves the Dorchester and Weymouth area in Dorset and our members are interested in and enjoy the arts in general. Our Society is affiliated to The Arts Society  (formerly National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS)).

Our objective, through lectures and visits, is to bring people together through a shared appreciation and curiosity for all the arts. We meet in the Corn Exchange in Dorchester to attend illustrated lectures given by experts chosen for their knowledge and presentational skills to speak on a huge variety of topics: architecture, artists, china, glass, painting, sculpture, jewellery, furniture, music, dance and much more, covering every period when mankind has been creative.

The Visits may include museums, palaces, country houses, gardens, exhibitions and other places of interest. Our Special Interest Days provide the opportunity for members who want to study subjects in greater depth from a lecturer who has more time to speak at length. We also enjoy several social events each year. Our volunteers help at the Dorset County Museum and Church Trails in churches nearby. Our society also supports Young Arts with a variety of projects.

We are open to all age groups and hope you will find much to interest you in our very varied programme of events.

Guests of members and visitors wishing to attend on a "trial" basis are welcome to our lectures and, as a Registered Charity, we request a discretionary donation of £5 per person at the door.

Why not spend time to explore this website to discover more about our activities?


Our first visit in 2018 will be a three-day outing with an exciting programme taking in Blenheim Palace, a guided city tour of Oxford, Pitt-Rivers Museum, Ashmolean Museum and Hughenden Manor departing 22 April 2018. This trip has proved to be very popular and is now full. We shall however be happy to place any further applications on a waiting list in case of cancellations..

Please go to VISITS for details.


Our second visit of the year will be undoubtedly a sell-out very early on.

We have secured very hard-to-obtain tickets to Highclere Castle, which as Downton Abbey, is sold out for the foreseeable future. We shall have access to the Castle, the grounds and also the Egyptian Exhibition. Most of us will know that Lord Carnavon sponsored Howard Carter's excavation of Tutunkhamun's tomb. We shall visit beforehand the Sandham Memorial Chapel, which houses Stanley Spencer's iconic images of the First World War, only ten minutes away.

As expected, this visit has sold out immediately and preference has been given to existing members. All applications received by Friday 2 February 2018 have been accepted and will be acknowledged very soon if not already done. We shall place any further applications from members on a standby list but please note that non-member guests are unlikely to obtain a place.

For an application form please click here 


We would be very grateful if members would give us feedback on their opinion of the quality and interest level of the lectures via the website. This will help us greatly in preparing the future programmes.

All current members have been registered and should be able to give feedback on lectures.  If anyone finds problems in registering, please send a message and the registration will be done MANUALLY by the Website Manager.  Once an acknowledgement reply is received to say that registration is successful, please give your feedback again. This may take some time as the Website Manager may not be at his computer at that moment!