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!
Enjoy endless stretches of stunning coast and magnificent beach at Lulworth, the heart of Dorset. The estate of Lulworth is made up of rolling countryside that is home to Lulworth Castle and Park as well as an outdoor adventure centre. The area is backed by five miles of UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast which includes the world-famous Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
The cove can be reached by the Southwest Coast Path national trail, making it a walker’s paradise, and the magnificent rock formations of the Lulworth Crumple and Stair Hole are sure to leave an impression on you. Low tide reveals wonderful rock pools teeming with crabs and fish that make it a great destination for inquisitive kids! Lulworth is truly an adventurer’s paradise, an explorer’s delight, and a nature lover’s haven.
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. So grab your bucket and spade and get your ice cream in hand and toes in the sand at one of the gems of the South Coast.
When it comes to a fun family holiday by the seaside, look no further than Weymouth. With many of Dorset’s best holiday parks on the doorstep, there’s no reason not to. There are long sandy or shingly beaches to choose from and traditional seaside amusements such as donkey rides and Punch & Judy to keep you entertained. Walk the sandy beach, dotted with colourful beach huts and lined with Georgian buildings, gaze at the sharks, stingrays and turtles at Weymouth Sealife Park, or uncover scenic, pebbly Chesil Beach, one of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks.
Weymouth is also home to the revolving Jurassic Skyline observation tower and the Victorian Nothe Fort which both offer fantastic panoramic views of the harbour. Once you’ve taken it all in, lie back on a deckchair and relax, safe in the knowledge that Weymouth’s waters are fantastic for your little ones to play in.
Lyme Regis, Dorset
Known as the "Pearl of Dorset", Lyme Regis boasts gorgeous scenery and magical charisma that makes it unforgettable. The seaside town is perhaps most famous for the Cobb, the iconic curving breakwater that was featured in the film adaptation of John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman.
The harbour wall provides a truly dramatic location for a walk or to enjoy your fish and chips or ice creams. In addition to the man-made spectacles, the unique geology of Lyme Regis has earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status as the ‘Jurassic Coast’, owing to the fascinating fossils that are found there. You can discover the prehistoric wonders for yourself at the Dinosaurland Fossil Museum which is great for all the family.
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.
Studland keeps its beaches unspoilt by being a little out the way and while hotels can be a little pricey, Studland Bay is well under an hour’s drive from many of Dorset’s best caravan parks, so accommodation need not be a headache. The peninsula is also home to a nature reserve with beautiful walking trails and the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Harry Rocks, three spectacular chalk formations which are worth the journey alone. These credentials confirm its standing as one of the best places to visit in Dorset.