ONE of Dorchester’s most iconic buildings, set to be transformed into an international attraction, will be open to visitors this weekend.

Visitors can take a look around Shire Hall, the Old Court Room and Cells, to coincide with the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival.

Plans to make the building in to an interactive attraction are gaining ground, with the multi-million pound centre due to open in 2017.

The London Dorchester Committee Trust (LDCT) will manage and run Shire Hall under a lease from the owners, West Dorset District Council.

Trust chairman John Russell said: “Shire Hall is a unique part of British heritage.

“The Tolpuddle Martyrs’ fight for decent wages and working conditions is as important in its way as the signing of Magna Carta. Some of the questions Shire Hall’s history raises about justice and oppression are still very relevant today.

“This project aims to blow the cobwebs off and bring alive the building’s many stories, as well as conserving the actual bricks and mortar.”

Guided tours will be held from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 10am to 1pm on Sunday and admission will be free.