Places to Visit in Dorset

Where should you go whilst visiting Dorset?.....Where do we start!

Dorset is such a diverse and beautiful county that you’ll be spoilt for choice!  Rolling hillsides, dramatic cliffs, sweeping beaches, chocolate box villages, bustling towns, quiet countryside….Dorset’s charms are there for all to see and discover!

Retreat to the charms of Rural Dorset!

Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life? The peace and tranquillity of Wimborne MinsterBlandford ForumShaftesbury and Gillingham will certainly clear your mind and rejuvenate your senses!

This is traditional rural England at its finest…unspoilt countryside, picturesque villages, quaint pubs…need we go on?

Lose yourself whilst exploring mile upon mile of footpaths, breathe in the scent of bluebells in ancient woodland and admire the sweeping panoramas from Iron Age hill forts over patchwork fields.

But keep a lookout – this area is rich in wildlife!

Why not make it a holiday to remember by trying something new?  Perhaps orienteering, bushcraft or segwaying – all fantastic and fun ways of embracing the great outdoors!

West Dorset – as multi-layered as the famous fossil-flecked cliffs along its Jurassic Coast

Looking for somewhere to recharge your batteries and reinvigorate your senses?  West Dorset is for you!

Unplug from the daily rush and enjoy the simple pleasures of Bridport & West BayLyme RegisDorchester and Sherborne.

West Dorset doesn’t shout about its stunning natural features, it simply lets you discover them! Wherever you are, each turning leads to a new adventure, a secret hiding place, or an atmospheric, mellow stoned village or two.

Amble along the green-topped cliffs that rise and fall like a sales graph – the path ahead is visible for miles as you climb high above the fossil flecked beaches below.

Fly a kite on an ancient hillfort, scramble around rock pools at low tide for the ultimate find, wander woodlands....If you’re looking for a bit of a thrill to get the adrenaline pumping why not take a rib blast along the coast?

Stylish, yet unspoilt.  Magical and mysterious…West Dorset will stir the senses and calm the mind!

Soak up the splendour of Christchurch

Located on the shores of its own natural harbour, Christchurch is the perfect setting to relax and enjoy stunning views, or if you’re feeling more energetic, there is a host of water activities to indulge in!

After a few hours on one of Christchurch’s many beautiful beaches, why not enjoy a stroll along the River Stour and the area around the town’s quay.

Stop for a while, sit back and relax in one of the many restaurants and cafes and sample some delicious Dorset delights.

Once you’re re-fuelled and ready to get going again, a short amble from the harbour brings you to Norman Castle ruins and magnificent Priory church allowing you to step back in time and immerse yourself in Christchurch’s historic past!

Family fun at the seaside amid Olympic waters!

If you’re looking for a traditional family holiday by the seaside then head to Weymouth! With beautiful, long, sandy beaches and traditional seaside attractions such as Punch and Judy and donkey rides, this is where childhood holiday memories are made!

Just imagine yourself sitting in a deckchair with the warm sun on your face and the sand between your toes……the golden sands and safe shallow waters of Weymouth are perfect for sitting back and relaxing whilst your little ones entertain themselves by building the most magnificent sandcastle!

And you won’t just be gazing out onto any water – these are Olympic waters! 

Weymouth & Portland played host to the sailing events at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, however, Portland is much more than just a sailing venue – it’s an explorer’s paradise, adventurer’s delight and nature lover’s haven.

Enjoy the buzz of Bournemouth and Poole!

There’s all this and more to discover in Dorset, plus the bright lights of nearby Bournemouth and Poole and the woodland trails of the New Forest National Park.

Why not venture over to Bournemouth and discover the beautiful sandy beach that stretches for 7 miles followed by a night on the tiles in one of the many bars or restaurants? Or if you're after a bit of retail therapy then Bournemouth won't disappoint!
Or spend a day in nearby Poole with it's beautiful harbour and award winning blue flag beaches! Why not try one of the many water sports on offer or head off on a fishing trip?

Enjoy old fashioned seaside charm in Swanage and Purbeck

Swanage and Purbeck is sure to delight any visitor!

Victorian Swanage captures the essence of a traditional seaside family holiday! Pack your bucket and spade and enjoy a day building sandcastles on the beautiful sandy beach. Have some fun splashing around in the water or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the ebb and flow of foamy surf over damp pebbles.

Hire a pedalo from Swanage beach for some family fun, stride the cliff paths and be rewarded with awesome views or spot rare orchids and peregrine falcons at Durlston Country Park – the choices are endless!

Why not hop on the steam railway at Swanage and puff your way up to Corfe Castle, you’ll be captivated by these romantic castle ruins. Feel the history come to life as children play amongst the fallen walls, uncover secret hiding places and discover tales of treachery and treason around every corner.

Discover Dorset and book your break today!

With so many areas to explore, you’d better book a break to stand a chance of fitting it all in!
Click on the links below to book your accommodation and find out more about Dorset!

Discover Dorset's areas to visit


Nestled within a natural valley in stunning West Dorset is the delightfully picturesque town of Beaminster.

Blandford Forum

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


Bournemouth is the largest resort in Dorset and along with seven miles of sandy beaches also has beautiful parks and gardens.

Bridport & West Bay

Bridport is a market town with a fantastic antiques quarter. Only a mile away is the dramatic cliffs of the Jurassic Coast in West Bay,


Dorset's Christchurch offers award-winning beaches, coastal nature reserves as well as heritage attractions.


Dorchester is Dorset’s county town and Thomas Hardy's birthplace, with many wonderful attractions, activities and places to eat.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis is a quaint and stylish seaside town, with fantastic eateries, attractions, beaches and the best places to hunt for fossils.


Poole is a bustling resort famous for its harbour, award winning beaches, bustling quayside and a beautiful historic old town.


Portland is the southernmost point on the Jurassic Coast and is joined to the mainland by Chesil Beach and is a great place for exploring.

Isle of Purbeck

The Isle of Purbeck is home to some of the country’s most well-loved towns and landmarks including Swanage, Lulworth Cove, Corfe Castle and Durdle Door.

Shaftesbury & Gillingham

Shaftesbury is one of the oldest and highest towns in England. Nearby Gillingham is Dorset’s most northern town famous for its connections with painter John Constable.


Nestled in green valleys and wooded hills, Sherborne is without doubt, one of the most beautiful towns in England.

Sturminster Newton

A peaceful, rural Dorset idyll that offers plenty to see and do. Explore Sturminster Newton and the beautiful Blackmore Vale.


Situated on the Isle of Purbeck, the coastal town of Swanage is a fun family resort ideal for relaxing breaks, walks and exploring the Jurassic Coast.


Wareham is a pretty riverside town where the rivers Frome and Piddle meet, there are many wonderful attractions and activities to experience.


You will never be short of things to do for a family day out in Weymouth, with an abundance of natural and themed attractions for everyone to enjoy!

Wimborne Minster

The beautiful, historic market town of Wimborne Minster, with its gracious Minster Church and family attractions is sure to fit the bill!

What does your Dorset look like? Adventures on our epic coastline? Visiting attractions with family? A walk through the beautiful countryside? Or perhaps a chilled out evening eating and drinking with friends? Discover a sample of your #VisitDorset images below and share your love for Dorset using the hashtag on Instagram.