Our favourite things to do in Dorset
Dorset is an underrated oasis. Stunning countryside and coastal paradises come together to form an experience that needs to be talked about more on the national stage.
Towns tell tales of immense history that can be relived with a 21st-century visit, attractions are entertaining for every generation of the family, and beaches are havens of beauty that will leave you wanting more. This is the package that Dorset offers. With the south coast area widely known as one of the best places to live in the UK, it’s no wonder that the county keeps the holidaymakers coming back year after year. Look at our favourite things to do in Dorset and start making those all-important plans.
Adventure Wonderland, Christchurch
Adventure Wonderland has been welcoming families for decades. Perfect for kids aged 12 and below, the park hosts over 30 rides, each offering their own type of awe-inspiring experience. Just a short distance from beautiful Bournemouth, the park also has a runaway train, inflatable slides and trampolines in its locker.
Two loveable residents are on hand to greet all visitors. Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts are fan favourites and join you throughout your time here. You don’t need to go anywhere for a bite to eat either. The park has the wonderful Wild Thing Café that caters to all tastebuds. If you fancy bringing your own food, there’s plenty of space for a picnic too.
Chesil Beach’s characteristics are one of the many things that are unique to Dorset. The natural phenomenon here can be seen in few other places. What’s known as a fleet separates the beach from the shoreline, generating an incredibly serene body of water between the sand and the mainland. The peculiarities of this 17-mile area makes it one of our favourite things to do in Dorset.
Aside from our accolades, Chesil is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and known globally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unsurprisingly, this is a place where wildlife flourishes, and if you’ve brought your dog with you on holiday this is an unbelievable stroll. It’s a challenge to find a more peaceful place in all South West England, let alone Dorset.
No visit to Dorset is complete without a mosey around its county town. This vibrant hive of activity is home to nearly 20,000 people. If you fancy a bit of retail therapy, we recommend Brewery Square, home to household names of the high street and some enticing independent outlets. This area showcases contemporary architecture in all its glory yet is just a stone’s throw away some of the UK’s best preserved roman ruins. This is simply what makes Dorchester so special.
The Keep Military Museum, Museum of Dorset and the Thomas Hardy statue add to the creative cultural experience that leaves a huge impression on visitors to the town. The author and poet based his famous novel The Mayor of Casterbridge on the surrounding streets.
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove
No list of things to do in Dorset is complete with mentioning what is indisputably the county’s most famous image: the glory of Durdle Door. The centrepiece of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the spellbinding natural archway has formed over millions and millions of years of coastal erosion. Couple it with the immensely pretty Lulworth Cove and you have a match made in heaven.
The great news is, they’re only a five-minute drive away from each other so it’s more than doable to tie them both in on one day. There are few better places for a picnic, and if the sun’s out, stay here until the evening and experience one of the greatest sunsets in the UK. The rocky depths of the coastal water are met by snorkellers on a typical day, looking to learn more about how this peculiar area continues to shift with the sea. Visiting here propels your Dorset visit to new heights.
Poole Harbour and Quay
Poole is another one of Dorset’s beautiful towns, prestigiously located in a unique and beautiful protected area on the south coast. It’s harbour and quay are the star of the show. The former is Europe’s largest of its kind, home to unspoilt woodlands, coastal walks and every type of water sport you could imagine. Indeed, Dorset was home to some of the sailing at the London 2012 Olympics, a nod to the area’s reputation a centre of excellence.
The surrounding wetlands are a Site of Specific Scientific Interest, with international protections in place for the birds and mammals that inhabit it. The quay is home to some incredible seafood restaurants and pubs that will keep you for an extra pint or two. Stylish seaside shops are on the icing on the cake here, making this one of the best things to do in Dorset.
Start planning your Great British break
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Places to visit in Dorset
Dorset is delightful throughout the year with historical resort towns coupling magnificently with the Jurassic Coast to bring a variety of experiences to the table. Have a read and get planning.