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A pretty Dorset village

A pretty Dorset village

Dorset Villages

Dorset is home to some of the prettiest villages in England.

If you’re looking to wander down winding country lanes lined with sweet scented wild flowers, tinkling streams, thatched cobb cottages before chancing upon a quaint little village pub or tea room, you’ve come to the right place!

Picturesque Dorset Villages

One of the most popular villages in Dorset is Abbotsbury, a picture postcard village set in the Dorset AONB countryside.

Whilst here, visit the famous Swannery, or climb to St Catherine’s Chapel for tremendous views along Chesil Beach and the Jurassic Coast.

You’re in for a treat if you visit West Lulworth as the small hamlet is dotted with little trinket shops and ice cream parlours as it meanders down to the stunning Lulworth Cove.

Milton Abbas is also well worth a visit, with its uniformed line of thatched white cottages. Visit in July for the 18th Century Street Fair and be whisked back in time.

And set in the heart of Cranborne Chase, once a mediaeval hunting estate, are the intimate, rural villages of the Tarrants, Chrichels and the Gussages.


Quirky village names

Dorset villages have their fair share of strange place names and many of these are often cause for much tittering.

Whilst in Dorset you may find yourself in the Piddle Valley and stumble across the villages of Piddlehinton and Piddletrenthide.

Whilst strolling in the beautiful Purbecks, you may see a signpost to Happy Bottom. And, what other English county has such evocative village names as Whitchurch Canonicorum, Rhyme Intrensica or Gussage All Saints?

There is one village name in Dorset which is far too rude to mention here but bound to cause a few laughs, why not come and visit and see if you can find it (we'll give you a clue, it's near Bere Regis).


Villages full of folklore and history

Each Dorset village has its own character, history, individual charm and tale to tell.

Visit Cerne Abbas and see the famous club wielding chalk giant, imagine historic battles as you stand in Corfe Castle with its romantic castle ruins, stand under the Martyrs Tree at Tolpuddle, birthplace of the Trade Union and hear the whispers in the walls at Tyneham – Dorset’s ghost village.

Make a wish at the Upwey Wishing Well, hunt for fossils at Charmouth, visit Thomas Hardy’s Cottage in the forest at Higher Bockhampton or ascend to Ashmore, the highest village in Dorset.


Experience the rural ideal and explore Dorset’s villages

As you can see there are many quirky little villages in Dorset, each with their own history, claim to fame and individual mysteries just waiting to be discovered and unless you spend a night or two, there’s no way you will be able to see them all!

Fortunately, there's lots of great accommodation close to each of these villages so why not take advantage, simply click the links below to get started:

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  1. Add Alton Pancras to your Itinerary

    Alton Pancras


    Running alongside the River Piddle, Alton Pancras is a small village with its church dedicated to St. Pancras. Little features remain from the 15th century when the church was built however its organ has an interesting history, having been originally a fairground organ, and thus has a different...

  2. Add Little Bredy to your Itinerary

    Little Bredy


    Little Bredy stands at the head of the Bride Valley where the River Bride tumbles down a waterfall from its springs and is well worth visiting for its gorgeous setting. The descent into it from the east is tremendous from either of the two roads with some of the best inland scenery to be seen in...

  3. Corfe Mullen

    Add Corfe Mullen to your Itinerary

    Corfe Mullen


    Featured in the Domesday Book, the residential parish of Corfe Mullen takes its name from Saxo-Norman meaning ‘a mill in a gap’ and the mill, on the River Stour, sadly no longer in use, is described in the book as the most valuable corn mill in Dorset. For many years Corfe Mullen was important for...

  4. Add Evershot to your Itinerary



    Evershot is the second highest village in Dorset at 625ft above sea level and is the source of the River Frome. It is a small, neat village, of only 200 inhabitants and has little changed since Hardy’s time. Despite its size, Evershot is a well known village, famous for its inclusion in much of...

  5. Alderholt

    Add Alderholt to your Itinerary



    Located on the border with the New Forest Alderholt is a largely modern village with a 19th century church, pub and shops. A little outside of town lies an 18th century watermill, which is still used today to mill flour.

    The name of Alderholt's railway station (no longer in existence) was...

  6. Add Charminster to your Itinerary



    Charminster is a small village 2 miles north of Dorchester full of delightful traditional cottages and possesses a typical Old English feel. It has two pubs and a superb Norman church, St Mary’s, which is unusually situated directly over the River Cerne. The Ham stone tower to the church was added...

  7. West Parley

    Add West Parley to your Itinerary

    West Parley


    A large village with shops, restaurants and a pub. The village lies on the River Stour with some excellent views from the iron age fort at Dudsbury and a charming historic parish church.

    The village is close to Bournemouth (Hurn) International Airport, there are two popular garden centres on...

  8. Add Bridport & West Bay to your Itinerary

    Bridport & West Bay


    Set amongst the spectacular rolling Dorset hills, Bridport is a lively town with a friendly and vibrant character. As well as being a Gateway Town to the Jurassic Coast, Bridport has also been named a Beacon Town for the quality and variety of its locally produced food. Bridport’s culinary delights...

  9. Add West Moors to your Itinerary

    West Moors


    A large village with a modern parade of shops and two village pubs. The village lies on the route of the Castleman Trailway a walking and cycle route which runs from Poole to Ringwood. Surrounded by heathland and woodland, a great base for a cycle ride.

  10. Add The Gussages to your Itinerary

    The Gussages


    Three attractive villages; Gussage St Andrew, Gussage St Michael and Gussage All Saints lying along a pretty valley. The name 'Gussage' is thought to mean 'gush of water', a reference to the clear chalk stream that flows through the area.

    Each village has an attractive church and Gussage All...