Places to visit in Dorset
Home to the world-famous Jurassic Coast, Dorset is overflowing with unique attractions both natural and artificial. We've rounded up the best places to visit in Dorset to get you started when planning your visit to the South Coast.
Dorset has preserved its traditional values and remains one of the best locations in the country to get a sense of history and times past. From Victorian resort towns to fossil-strewn beaches, there’s history at every turn. The county is also home to some of the finest beaches and best holiday parks in the country, so all the more reason to make it your next holiday destination!
Weymouth offers a fun family holiday by the seaside with long sandy or shingly beaches and traditional seaside amusements such as donkey rides and Punch & Judy. Visitors can also enjoy attractions like Weymouth Sealife Park, Chesil Beach, the revolving Jurassic Skyline observation tower, and the Victorian Nothe Fort, which offers panoramic views of the harbor.
Known as the ‘pearl of Dorset,’ Lyme Regis is a picturesque town on the Jurassic Coast. It combines traditional seaside charm with prehistoric significance and plenty of activities for visitors. You can go fossil hunting on the beach or visit the town's famous museum, which is dedicated to the town's heritage and geology. Lyme Regis is also a great place to enjoy water sports, such as swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding, or take scenic coastal walks.
The Jurassic Coast
The world-renowned Jurassic Coast, spanning approximately 95 miles along the English Channel from East Devon to Dorset, is a rare stretch of coastline that has been designated as a World Natural Heritage Site. Visiting the Jurassic Coast is like stepping back in time to the era of dinosaurs and exploring the history of the Earth through the many picturesque destinations along the way. However, it's not just about history; this region of Dorset also provides ample opportunities to discover the coast and partake in a variety of water sports, ensuring that there is always plenty to do.
Undoubtedly, Sherborne ranks among the most picturesque towns in England. Its delightful honey-coloured buildings are steeped in history and heritage, offering a feast for the eyes. The town is filled with plenty to see and do, from intriguing architecture to gardens, and trails that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Wareham, Dorset is an absolutely stunning destination to explore. As a historic market town, it is situated in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck, nestled between two rivers, with water encompassing three of its sides, offering breathtaking views in every direction. This naturally scenic location serves as an excellent day trip location, with plenty to offer visitors, making a trip to Wareham a must-see experience conveniently located just 10 miles away from Rockley Park Holiday Park.
Located around a mile inland from the English Channel, Bridport is a charming market town in Dorset renowned for its Saxon roots. Its proximity to the waterfront, along with the nearby West Bay, make it an ideal location for spending a relaxing day. This delightful community boasts a plethora of shops, cultural amenities, and exciting attractions to explore, ensuring that visitors will find plenty to enjoy.
The Isle of Portland is imbued with a rich historical legacy, ranging from its celebrated section of the World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast, to its thriving Second World War dockyards. It is hardly surprising that there are so many captivating sights and activities to experience here. Adding to its allure, the natural scenery is absolutely awe-inspiring.
Dorchester, a charming town in Dorset located just 6 miles north of the seaside town of Weymouth, is teeming with a wealth of history. From the birthplace of the celebrated English author Thomas Hardy to ancient 6,000-year-old settlements, there is an abundance of fascinating places to discover within this county town.
Situated to the east of Bournemouth is the quaint town and parish of Christchurch. The town is nestled at the convergence point of two of England's most extensive rivers, the Avon and the Stour, making it a paradise for fishing, boating, and water enthusiasts. Christchurch is a hidden treasure trove with a plethora of exciting sights and activities to enjoy, making it a must-visit destination on the Jurassic Coast.
The popularity of this resort town dates back to Victorian times when it became renowned for its clean air, sunny weather, and clear waters. The beach has won several European Blue Flag Awards and is a wonderful place to hire a beach hut, deckchair or a sunbed and soak up the rays. Pedalos and kayaks are also available to rent, and like all the best seaside towns, there are amusements and attractions found at the promenade which backs onto the beach.
Bournemouth and Poole
The Bournemouth and Poole area is famous for its seven-mile stretch of unspoiled, golden beaches with some of the UK's warmest water for swimming. In addition to these stunning beaches, there are plenty of thrilling attractions in Poole and the lively city of Bournemouth that are perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch located on the Jurassic Coast that is one of the most photographed landmarks in the area. Durdle Door provides a perfect getaway for the entire family, including the four-legged members. This famous Dorset attraction has much to offer, with plenty of opportunities for long walks, scrumptious dining, and relaxation.
The clear sheltered waters of Studland Bay are lined by glorious beaches which provide the perfect setting for a day of relaxation. This large area holds four miles of sandy beach and National Trust heathland with views of the famed Old Harry Rocks. The extensive area provides fun for all the family, from kayaking and snorkelling on Middle Beach to pedalos and paddleboarding at Knoll Beach.