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Itinerary Planner

Plan your visit to Dorset using the '+ Itinerary Planner' button. Add to Excursion

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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 Burton Bradstock to your Itinerary

    Burton Bradstock

    Bridport

    Burton Bradstock is a large and pretty village, famous for its position along the Jurassic Coast with its iconic sandstone cliffs marking the start of Chesil Beach. The cliffs offer one of the finest examples of the distinctive, alternate hard and soft layered geology of the Bridport Sands, which...

  2. Add Minterne Magna to your Itinerary

    Minterne Magna

    Sherborne

    The lush, beautifully wooded parish of Minterne Magna is best known for its grand Manor House in which many a famous family have dwelled including Churchill, Napier and Digby. Inside the small, late medieval church of St. Andrew, magnolia-washed walls are covered with monuments to these families....

  3. Add Kingston, Worth Matravers & Langton Matravers to your Itinerary

    Kingston, Worth Matravers & Langton Matravers

    Wareham

    Kingston, Worth Matravers and Langton Matravers are found south of Corfe Castle.

    Stop in at the infamous Worth Matravers village pub to meet the locals and look around the fossil museum next door. You might be lucky enough to visit the pub when they have their annual Stone Carving or Pumpkin...

  4. Add Portesham to your Itinerary

    Portesham

    Dorchester

    A pleasant village, sheltered beneath the 776 ft Blackdown Hill. On the main road is a pretty 18th century house where Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy lived until 1807. It was also used in the Thomas Hardy novel 'The Trumpet Major' when Bob Loveday visited Captain Hardy to ask if he could serve...

  5. Add Hooke to your Itinerary

    Hooke

    Dorchester

    The quiet village of Hooke is tucked away in the Dorset Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a picturesque pond and 15th century church at its centre. The single bronze bell in its tower is reputed to be the second oldest bell in Dorset. There are pleasant walks of varying length and...

  6. Add West Stafford to your Itinerary

    West Stafford

    Dorchester

    West Stafford is a small, thatched village in the Frome valley just to the east of Dorchester. The village has good connections with Hardy’s work, the church of St. Andrews being the apparent setting for Tess and Angel Clare’s marriage in Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Lower Lewell Farm, located...

  7. Add Milton Abbas to your Itinerary

    Milton Abbas

    West Street, Blandford Forum

    A picture book English cob and thatch village on the Milton Abbey estate. Uprooted and rebuilt in the late 18th Century so the noise and smell of the village could no longer trouble the calm of the Abbey House! The original site now lies beneath a lake. The charming Abbey Church is open to the...

  8. Add Melbury Osmund to your Itinerary

    Melbury Osmund

    Sherborne

    This quiet and unspoilt village is where Hardy’s parents were married in 1839 and the marriage certificate can be seen framed on the wall in the church. At the northern end of the footpath through the churchyard is a thatched house where Hardy’s mother is thought to have lived when she was a child....

  9. Add Cranborne to your Itinerary

    Cranborne

    Wimborne

    A charming village of red brick and cob houses on the River Crane. The village has two pubs, a restaurant, village stores selling local produce and a garden centre.

    Known as 'Chaseborough' in the novels of Thomas Hardy, the village was also popular with poet Rupert Brooke who stayed at the...

  10. Horton

    Add Horton to your Itinerary

    Horton

    Wimborne

    Lying between the rivers Allen and Crane, the village of Horton has an attractive church and a village pub and shop on the outskirts.

    The village's unique landmark, Horton Tower, was built in 1750 by Humphrey Sturt as an observatory to watch the movement of deer when he could no longer ride. ...