English Tourism Week is a national celebration of events showcasing the quality of tourism throughout the country.

This year, the week long event is taking place from the 17th - 25th March 2018 and is the perfect opportunity to make the most of Dorset’s award winning attractions, accommodation, events, activities and restaurants. Here are a few of Dorset’s best bits that you can celebrate during #ETW2018.

Swanage Steam Gala

From the 23rd to 25th March Swanage Railway are holding their Spring Steam Gala.

The Gala will recreate the typical 1960’s Southern Branch Line scene and changing atmosphere of British Railways from steam to modern motive power.

Perfect for any steam enthusiast! An intensive timetable is planned with some services extended towards Wareham and lots of opportunities to ride behind each loco and enjoy the railway on a Spring weekend.

Swanage Steam Railway next to Corfe Castle in Purbeck, Dorset

Above image © Andrew PM Wright

Furleigh Estate

Set in West Dorset’s wonderful green and rolling hills, Furleigh Estate makes some of the best sparkling wine in the country. A converted barn where once cows were milked, now serves as the tasting room where you can sit and admire the views while tasting some spectacular wine.

Why not spoil yourself on a ‘Grand Tour’ of Furleigh Estate winery. It starts with a glass of Furleigh fizz and includes a visit to the vineyard and winery, finishing with a tasting of the wonderful still and sparkling wines.

Beautiful colours at Furleigh Estate vineyard

Spring Activities

Dorset is perfect for those with a spirit of adventure and a love of the great outdoors! Our mix of glorious countryside and superb coast makes Dorset the ideal setting for that exciting, new venture or finding the best spot to enjoy your favourite sports and hobbies!

Whether you’re looking to burn off some energy or throw yourself into a daring new adventure, Dorset offers everything from stunning walking routes and electric bike tours to segway experiences, sailing, rock climbing and coasteering to name a few!

With so many reasons to get yourself outdoors in Dorset, take advantage of spring’s fresh air and find a thrilling new experience to lap up during English Tourism Week.

Kayaking along the Jurassic Coast, Dorset

Above image © Land and Wave

The Jurassic Coast

Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site which most definitely deserves some celebration! This natural wonder and its amazing 185 million years of history, is world renowned for being one of the richest heritage sites for prehistoric remains!

Visit the Dorset County Museum’s Jurassic Gallery and gaze upon the world’s biggest bite – the Weymouth Bay Pliosaur and see real life bones of the magnificent beasts that roamed our planet millions of years ago.

For families, the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester will excite any young dinosaur fan with life sized replicas and lots of interactive fun!

The Museum of Jurassic Marine Life is home to a collection of fossils all found and preserved by one man - Dr Steve Etches MBE. He even discovered a new species! See the fossils, learn about how they were collected and if you're lucky you'll even see them being cleaned and conserved in the museum lab and workshop.

There are many opportunities to take part in fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast, many of which are based around the stomping ground of possibly the most famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning, in Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

Stunning Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Lulworth Cove © Visit Britain

World Poetry Day

Dorset’s plentiful literary links make it a haven for any lover of literature. On the 21st of March, World Poetry Day celebrates Dorset’s talented and famous poet’s that spent their lives adopting Dorset as inspiration for their work.

Thomas Hardy, the internationally renowned poet and novelist, spent most of his life here in Dorset (Wessex) using it as the fictional setting for numerous novels including 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'.

Friend of Thomas Hardy and T.E.Lawrence, poet William Barnes famously wrote in Dorset dialect celebrating the unique language which was around from the time of Shakespeare until the arrival of railways and London’s language. Like other writers and poets, William was also inspired by Dorset’s stunning and diverse landscape which is found within his renowned poetry.

Find out more about Dorset’s famous literary links and if you want to find your own artistic inspiration, track down locations used by great authors or simply relax with a book on holiday - look no further than Dorset!

Filming Far From The Madding Crowd in Dorset

Above image © Carey Mulligan

Dorset's Famous Afternoon Tea

Why not enjoy a quintessentially English afternoon tea at one of Dorset’s superb restaurants or tea rooms during English Tourism Week? This is the perfect time to indulge in one of Dorset’s famous afternoon teas!

In Dorset you’ll find scrumptious finger sandwiches, fluffy scones and moreish sweet treats matched with beautiful settings to complement the delicious flavours.

Whether you fancy a cosy setting at The Wishing Well and Tea Gardens, a slice of history at The Greyhound Inn nestled next to the magnificent Corfe castle, a seaside view at Key West Bar and Grill or a luxury retreat at the Grand Hotel’s Coast Restaurant, there are tea rooms dotted all over the county ready to blow you away and if you fancy, add a little sparkle and try some of Dorset’s exquisite bubbly!

Delicious Dorset Cream Tea

Langham Wines

Dedicated to producing world-class sparkling wine, Langham Wine Estate lies in the heart of Dorset and everything is grown and made at their single site, allowing them to take control of the production process from grape to bottle.

Join them on a guided tour and learn how they produce traditional method sparkling wines. The tour involves a visit to the vineyard and winery followed by a tutored tasting of their award winning home grown wines.

Dorset grown sparkling wine at Langham Estate

Spring Gardens

With Spring in full swing, there’s no better time than English Tourism Week to visit Dorset’s lavish and charming gardens.

Dorset is home to some of the most spectacular stately homes and gardens in the country, all with their own stories and hidden histories. Enjoy the beautiful award winning gardens as they bloom into their best spring displays.

Explore the scenic bliss that lies within Bennetts Water Gardens, blanketed in 140 different varieties of water lilies or how about the intimate yet broad 12 formal gardens at Kingston Maurward where you will find buckets of character and delightful sweet scented flowers. Minterne Garden’s unique collections of flowers and plants all sit in stunning harmony with a chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams.

These are just a few of Dorset’s many superb gardens in Dorset so check out our website to see how you can make the most of the fresh spring weather.

Discover Dorset's many spectacular gardens

Unique Wildlife

With well over 80% of the UK's bird, butterfly and mammal species found in Dorset, not to mention all six of the UK's reptile species, you may well encounter some magnificent wildlife on your visit to Dorset.

The two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB's) offer a variety of habitats supporting all manner of wildlife, so it's no surprise that Dorset is often considered to be the wildlife capital of the UK. There are also plenty of opportunities to stay in secluded rural settings and watch amazing wildlife right on your doorstep.

Brownsea Island situated in the middle of Poole Harbour is one of the few places in England where you can spot a rare red squirrel! There are around 200 red squirrels that live on the island, which is a safe haven away from their rival, the grey squirrel.

Dorset is also one of the best areas in the UK for finding butterflies and moths with an amazing 44 species of butterflies which can be seen in Dorset. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a puffin, as late spring is the time for these colourful birds to return to Dorset. Or if you're gazing out to sea or on a boat trip, you could catch sight of bottlenose dolphins swimming along Dorset’s coast!

Dorset has lots of amazing nature and wildlife

Dippy and Dorset County Museum

The Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus skeleton cast, known as Dippy, begins his nationwide tour in 2018. It is of course fitting that his first stop is to the Jurassic Coast, the birthplace of palaeontology, for a 12 week stay at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester from February until the 8th of May.

There will also be lots of events happening at the museum and across Dorset in partnership with the Jurassic Coast Trust, so you can explore the history of the county all the way from prehistoric to present day!

Dippy on tour in Dorset


Langham Wine Estate
Langham Estate

*LATEST UPDATE* Gift vouchers and online shop now open for delivery to your door. World class sparkling wines from the heart of Dorset! At Langham Estate, we love to share our passion for what we do and welcome visitors to the estate throughout the year. We offer various types of tour and have a tasting room, shop and café on site. Nestled amongst the rolling hills of rural Dorset, it really is a special place to visit.

Furleigh Estate Wine Tours
Furleigh Wine Estate

*LATEST UPDATE* Online shop now open for delivery to your door.

Dorset County Museum
Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum closed in October 2018 for a two-year multi-million pound redevelopment. Complete with new galleries, a learning centre, collections storage, a library and visitor facilities the new Museum will become a cultural destination at the heart of Dorset’s community. The Museum is continuing to inspire, educate and entertain all generations on its county-wide tour exhibiting in towns and at events across Dorset.

The Dinosaur Museum

Fossils, skeletons, life-size dinosaur reconstructions plus hands-on and multimedia displays provide great family fun at this award winning museum.

Museum of Jurassic Marine Life - The Etches Collection
The Etches Collection - Museum of Jurassic Marine Life

The finest single collection of Late Jurassic age fossils in Britain, housed in a purpose built, brand new immersive museum in the village of Kimmeridge, Dorset. Discovered and collected by just one man, Dr Steve Etches MBE, all from the Kimmeridge locality, the amazing exhibition is the result of a lifetimes work. Watch sea monsters swimming above whilst the exceptionally preserved and prepared fossils encased below provide a unique insight into how these marine creatures lived, bred and died.

Hardy's Cottage
National Trust Property
Hardy's Cottage

*LATEST UPDATE* Hardy's Cottage is currently closed. Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in this small cob and thatch cottage, which was built by his great-grandfather and is little altered since the family left. His early novels Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd were written here.

Bennetts Water Gardens
The 'Monet' style Japanese bridge sitting over the Uk's largest National Plant Collection of waterlillies.

*LATEST UPDATE* Bennetts Water Gardens are planning to re-open in early July. There will be limits on the number of people who can visit and you will need to book a time slot in advance of your visit. Eight acres of gardens. Outstanding displays of water lilies in summer. Monet style bridge and gazebo. Nursery, gift shop and tearooms.

Minterne Gardens
Minterne Gardens

*LATEST UPDATE* Minterne Gardens are now open (usual hours from 10am to 6pm). Please observe the notices in place during the Coronavirus situation: respect 2 metre social distancing, there is a One-Way system around the Garden and the toilets remain closed. Minterne is famed for its seasonal profusion of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Japanese cherries and Magnolias are set in a peaceful wooded valley and have been described by Simon Jenkins as ‘corner of paradise.’ As seen on BBC Gardeners' World.

Brownsea Island
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Red Squirrel on Brownsea Island

*LATEST UPDATE* Brownsea Island is currently closed. A beautiful island with wonderful views, history & wildlife including rare red squirrels and birds, and is also the birthplace of Scouting and Guiding.

Upwey Wishing Well, Water Gardens and Tea Rooms
Tea Room/Coffee Shop
Upwey Wishing Well, Water Gardens and Tea Rooms

*Re-opening on 4th July* - Welcome to Upwey Wishing Well, Water Gardens and Tea Rooms in Upwey, Weymouth! We are open daily serving freshly ground coffee, light bites, lunches and afternoon tea. We offer a daily specials board and are fully licensed. We use fresh, locally sourced ingredients wherever possible and all of our delicious cakes are baked on the premises daily.

The Greyhound Inn
The Greyhound Inn at Corfe Castle

*New Takeaway Service* - The Greyhound Inn is offering their takeaway menu for collection and delivery, 7 days a week. You can get a 'grab and go' takeaway from their garden bar to enjoy while exploring the castle or village. Alternatively, delivery will be to your car and payments will be taken over the phone. Delivery service also available to the local area. The Greyhound is a historic country Inn overlooking Corfe Castle. Fresh seasonal food sourced as close to home as we can get. Annual beer and cider festivals.

Key West Bar and Grill
The sun terrace at Key West Bar & Grill, Bournemouth

*LATEST UPDATE* Key West Bar & Grill is closed until further notice. Unrivalled panoramic views across Bournemouth Bay and located at the end of Bournemouth Pier. Key West is open 7 days a week, all year round serving a great tasting, varied menu with something to suit everyone’s taste. Key West’s domed shape is surrounded in floor to ceiling glass doors and windows allowing you to admire the outstanding panoramic views. When the sun is shining, a large sun terrace allows you to sit back and relax and is the perfect location to watch one of Bournemouth’s beautiful sunsets with a cocktail in hand.

Coast Restaurant - Grand Hotel
Coast Restaurant - Grand Hotel

*LATEST UPDATE* Coast Restaurant at Grand Hotel is currently closed. Commanding views across Swanage Bay, fine dining with exciting and innovative cuisine and using fresh local produce where possible. We are open 7 days a week for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner or Afternoon Tea.



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