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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 Eype to your Itinerary



    Meaning “steep hill”, Eype has been described as one of West Dorset’s most beautiful villages. It is easy to see why, as the village is full of pretty thatched cottages with country gardens, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Situated just West of Bridport on the coast, Eype has a...

  2. Add Cranborne to your Itinerary



    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...

  3. Add Burton to your Itinerary


    Burton , Christchurch

    Burton is a village in Christchurch. It has a strong community feel with a village green as the hub. The Green has a local shop, doctors surgery and 2 churches. They have a yearly veterans parade and scouts carnival.

  4. Add Melbury Osmund to your Itinerary

    Melbury Osmund


    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....

  5. Add Sutton Poyntz to your Itinerary

    Sutton Poyntz


    The first part of the name is derived from the Old English words 'sud' (south) and tun (farm). The manor here was held by the Poyntz family from the 13th century. On 18th April 1908 a serious fire broke out in the village and by the time the Weymouth Fire Brigade arrived, almost a quarter of a mile...

  6. Add Studland to your Itinerary



    Studland is a small village located on a peninsula in south Purbeck, and is close to both Swanage and Corfe Castle. The start of the 630 mile South West Coast Path national trail is found at Shell Bay and continues to Minehead in Somerset.

    The area is famous for it's long, sandy beaches, and...

  7. Add Sydling St Nicholas to your Itinerary

    Sydling St Nicholas


    Sydling St. Nicholas is a stunningly picturesque village, winding along the little Sydling Water with tiny connecting bridges to the ancient thatched cottages which line the banks. In the summer the walls are covered with roses and clematis and birdsong drifts from the gardens.

    The church of St...

  8. St Leonards & St Ives

    Add St Leonards & St Ives to your Itinerary

    St Leonards & St Ives


    The parishes of St Leonards and St Ives, situated between Ringwood and Ferndown, are surrounded by heath land which walkers and visitors can explore at Avon Heath Country Park, with its visitor centre and marked trails. There is good access to both Rural Dorset, the New Forest, Bournemouth, Poole...

  9. Add Toller Pocorum to your Itinerary

    Toller Pocorum


    Toller Porcorum (valley of the pigs) is a village of approximately 160 households nestling within the West Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the South Wessex Downs Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and the South Wessex Downs Natural Area. Due to its fabulous countryside location,...

  10. Add Cattistock to your Itinerary



    Known by many as the “knob-throwing village”, Cattistock’s recent rise to fame is thanks to a peculiar tournament of the same name held annually in the village. This quirky game, where one hurls a Dorset Knob Biscuit as far as they can, has rapidly grown in popularity. Coinciding with the Frome...