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Dorset Towns

Dorset towns are brimming with history and charm, set in beautiful countryside and fringed by glorious coastline.

Visit the coastal towns in Dorset on the Jurassic Coast and beyond, with their mix of colourful harbours, sandy beaches and seaside fun, or head inland and discover our fascinating market towns.

Enjoy unique shopping and farmers' markets, amazing architecture and plenty of places to eat out and sample the local produce.

Historical Towns in Dorset

Vibrant and thriving, the historic market towns in Dorset offer a contemporary fusion of old and new.

The county town of Dorchester (Hardy’s Casterbridge) is a perfect example, mixing relics of its Roman past with the recently built Brewery Square, a vibrant new quarter bringing a trendy, Covent Garden feel to the town.

Sherborne is without doubt one of the most beautiful towns in England. Medieval and mellow stoned this Dorset gem has a magnificent abbey, two castles and reputation for art, antiques and unique shopping.

The old Saxon town of Wareham is situated on the River Frome making the pretty town a popular destination for those who enjoy boating up the river or simply relaxing on the Quay.

And close to Dorset’s northerly border you will find Shaftesbury, famous for Gold Hill, the steep cobbled street which provided the backdrop to the 1970s Hovis advert.

Dorset’s Coastal Towns

Victorian doctors used to prescribe patients a seaside stay to combat ailments of the spirit and a spell on the coast is still as every bit restorative as any pill.

The stylish town of Lyme Regis combines one of the south west’s most enviable dining scenes with a laid back ambience, typified by the mackerel fisherman who recline in chairs along the famous Cobb.

Historic Christchurch has a Saxon past, Norman priory, green flag quay and two castles. The colourful row of swanky beach huts at nearby Mudeford are among Britain’s most expensive.

The Victorian seaside resort of Swanage and Georgian Weymouth, each with their grand esplanades and wide sandy beaches are a firm favourite with families.

Breathe in the salt-drenched air as you wander between ice-cream and seafood stalls and relax on the beach whilst the children splash happily in the shallow waters and build sandcastles.


Book your stay with us today!

Get lost in Dorset’s charm and stay with us a while. Click below to browse our fantastic selection of accommodation and book a stay in one of the man Dorset towns.

Make the most of your visit and pop in to one of Dorset's Tourist Information Centres for inspirational ideas on what to see and do while you are here

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  1. Add Sherborne to your Itinerary



    Located to the north of West Dorset, this historic Ham Stone town nestles in green valleys and wooded hills and is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful towns in England. With its abundance of ancient and beautiful buildings, superb Abbey, world famous Schools, picturesque Almshouse and two...

  2. Add Christchurch to your Itinerary



    Christchurch, rich in heritage and culture, boasts two rivers, a castle, a beautiful 11th Century Priory and a mill of Saxon origin. Christchurch Quay overlooks the pretty Harbour, great for riverside walks. Christchurch is uniquely situated on the shores of its own harbour, close to the...

  3. Add Weymouth to your Itinerary


    North Quay, Weymouth

    With the fantastic backdrop of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, an award winning safe sandy beach, full programme of colourful events and fun-filled attractions, Weymouth is the ideal all year round holiday destination. The golden sands and safe shallow waters are the perfect place to enjoy the...

  4. Add Shaftesbury to your Itinerary



    The picturesque hilltop town of Shaftesbury lies nestled around its Saxon Benedictine Abbey and at its peak had the largest women's religious community in England.

    An indespensible Medieval trading post for the farmers of the arable Cranborne Chase and dairying Blackmore Vale, today Shaftesbury...

  5. Add Blandford Forum to your Itinerary

    Blandford Forum

    West Street, Blandford Forum

    Located on the banks of the River Stour, Blandford Forum is the most complete, small Georgian town in England.

    Following an extensive fire in 1731 Blandford Forum "rose like the phoenix from its ashes, to its present beautiful and flourishing state" as the Fire Monument in the Market place...

  6. Add Dorchester to your Itinerary



    Historic Dorchester is the county town of Dorset. Originally sited on the spectacular hill fort of Maiden Castle, , the largest and most complex Iron Age hill fort to be visited in Britain, the town was developed in its current location by the Romans in AD43. The town rapidly grew to be Durnovaria,...

  7. Add Gillingham to your Itinerary



    Gillingham a town in the Blackmore Vale area of Dorset, England. The town is the most northerly in the county 4 miles south of the A303 lying on the B3095 and B3081. The town of Shaftesbury is 5 miles to the south east.

    There is a stone age barrow in the town, and evidence of Roman settlement...

  8. Add Upton to your Itinerary



    Upton is the second largest town in Purbeck district.

    The town's biggest attraction is Upton Country Park with walking and cycling routes near Poole Harbour. The Park also includes The Peacock Tearooms and Art Gallery, the walled garden with splash fountain, natural play areas, plant sales and...

  9. Add Ferndown to your Itinerary



    Today a modern town with a good shopping centre and excellent community and leisure facilities. Much of the town's development was due to the arrival of the Stewart family from Scotland who set up a nursery in the town in 1864, to grow plants in warmer conditions than could be achieved at their...

  10. Add Lyme Regis to your Itinerary

    Lyme Regis

    Lyme Regis

    Dorset’s most westerly town, sitting on the Dorset-Devon border is a picturesque seaside settlement where the narrow maze of steep streets wind their way down to the 13th century Cobb (landing place of the Monmouth rebellion), family friendly beach and dramatic sea views. The area is world famous...