Craving an escape from the humdrum of everyday life but financial worries, lack of time and job constraints holding you back?

You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to get the same soul-enriching experiences offered by a traditional gap year or sabbatical – say hello to the microgap!

The microgap is made for people who want to discover the world but still have to be back in the office on Monday morning. It offers the same opportunities a gap year would such as embracing a new challenge, improving wellbeing, experiencing local culture and supporting a good cause - but all within a stone’s throw from home.

Dorset is an ideal county to plan your microgapping adventure and Visit Dorset have collated some fantastic bucket list ideas to get you started here:

Bucket List Experiences:

Kayak beneath Old Harry Rocks

These epic chalk cliffs and towering stacks are a must-see on any trip to Dorset, marking the easternmost point of the stunning 95-mile Jurassic Coast. For a truly unforgettable experience, join a Kayak tour setting off from Studland Bay (a unique habitat of native seahorses), paddling beneath the cliffs and through sea caves. Keep an eye out for local wildlife: seals, dolphins and peregrine falcons can be found here.

Book your ultimate kayak trip, or one of many awesome foraging trips with Fore Adventure

Tip: treat yourself to lunch or dinner at the wonderful PIG on the beach in Studland:

Sail to Durdle Door on a Tallship

Experience some of Dorset’s most iconic coastal sites from a different perspective and join the Moonfleet Adventure Sailing crew for a truly memorable sailing adventure. Participation is welcomed: honorary crew members can help raise anchor, hoist the sails and even take the helm. Alternatively, simply kick back and relax as this magnificent ship cruises through Weymouth Bay before dropping anchor for a lunch stop at Durdle Door.

Book an epic day at sea with Moonfleet Adventure Sailing

Learn new skills:

Take a masterclass in English sparkling wine

Who doesn’t love a glass of fizz? You might be surprised to learn that Dorset has a formidable reputation for wine, winning numerous international Gold awards. These wines have been created using classical Champagne grape varieties, hand-picked, and then processed using a combination of traditional and modern techniques. Explore the vineyards to learn about how the grapes are grown, harvested and prepared, before honing your tasting skills with tips and guidance from the in-house experts.

Tip: Enjoy a leisurely morning in the vineyard, then tuck into some local produce in the Vineyard Café at Langham Wine. Plus, look out for special tasting dinners pairing the wines with Dorset’s exceptional local produce.

Bake artisan bread at a working watermill

If you have a passion for French patisserie, or fancy baking Foccacia in a wood-fired masonry oven, join master baker Paul Perry for a craft baking masterclass in scenic North Dorset. Hosted at a working watermill (most of the organic flour used in milled on site), these small-group courses will give you an insight into both the art and science of craft baking.

Book your dream baking day at Panary

Bonus: The nearby town of Shaftesbury has a unique bread connection of its own – make some time for a trip to nearby Hovis Hill!

Sample traditional stone carving

Dorset’s unique geological composition has made stone an important and lucrative export: St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and many more iconic buildings were created from Portland Stone. Learn about the local quarrying and masonry heritage or Purbeck then get hands on with traditional tools and carving techniques at the Burngate Stone Cutting Centre. Set amongst rolling hills with expansive views to the Jurassic Coast, the workshops are an incredibly mindful way to get creative with stone.

Have a go with the talented team at Burngate Stone Cutting Centre

Meet the locals:

Chris Brancher is a proper Dorset character, one of those people whose passion and enthusiasm is truly infectious. Spend a few hours strolling through scenic West Dorset country paths in the company of Chris and his gentle donkeys for an unforgettable Dorset experience. Take a picnic (there are some wonderful spots), or stop by at a traditional country pub for a ‘bit-an'-drap’ (bite to eat and drink) and plenty of banter with Chris.

Most wonderful day donkey walking! If you’re local or holidaying in Dorset this is a real treat. We prepped our donkeys first thing ready for a trek through the depths of Dorset, lunch at a pub then a slow wander back for a cuppa at the shed! Typically after weeks of sun we’d picked the rainy day but still had a great day. I’m feeling like a rep for Dorset holidays at the moment! More donkey adventures in my story... . . . #donkeys #donkeywalking #dorset #westdorset #thingstodoindorset #daysout #whereiwander #visitdorset #visitengland #familyfun #animaladventures #animalexperience #dorsetlife #dorsetholiday #outandaboutindorset #daysoutindorset #donkeysofinstagram #donkeywalkingdorset #dorsetambassador #staycation

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Book a day with Chris in scenic Stokewater Meadow

Delve into the 200 million year history of the Jurassic Coast in the company of fossil expert, mountain leader, and genuine Dorset ambassador: Martin Curtis. Make the most of your time on the Jurassic Coast – Martin will take you to the best locations and share his wealth of knowledge to help you uncover fossils and understand this jaw-dropping stretch of coastline. For the ultimate day, book a guided hike up Golden Cap (Dorset’s highest viewpoint) together with a fossil hunt with Martin.

Book a day with Martin on the Jurassic Coast

Visit Dorset. Leave no trace.

With a majority of Dorset being designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, visitors can enjoy spectaular and relatively unspoilt coast and countryside. Having said that, there are always opportunities to contribute a few minutes to keeping the planet tidy:

Litter Free Dorset are a team dedicated to spreading awareness and encouraging positive action that host and coordinate regular cleans up around Dorset. Get in touch and get involved:

For a truly environmentally conscious getaway, book an Eco Adventure Camp on Brownsea Island, the spiritual home of Scouting and one of the few remaining habitats of the native Red Squirrel. The peaceful campsite offers camping pitches or pre-pitched tree hammocks that are available for hire, plus communal facilities to wash/cook/dine amongst the natural beauty of this enchanting island.

Hammock camping on #brownseaisland with @ddhammocks

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Visit the NT Brownsea Island website for booking information

Live the Simple Life

Surrounded by beautiful Dorset countryside, Loose Reins is the place where life’s stresses end and life’s adventures begin and where you can truly enjoy the essence of a microgap.

At this relaxed glamping destination, the daily grind is left at the gate and a place of experience, discovery and relaxation opens up.

Put those feet up and toast marshmallows on the fire. Take things slow. Rock back on the cabin porch. Listen to the owls. Snuggle inside with the wood burner or feel the summer dew on your feet. Make friends with the horses, make memories forever. Live the pioneer life in tranquil comfort. Share a home-cooked meal and trail talk under the stars….

Book your escape with Loose Reins here.


Fore Adventure
Adventure Sport Centre
Fore Adventure

*Gift Vouchers for ForeAdventure are now available for as little as £25. Adventures include: kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling, foraging, fishing, wild cooking, feasting, forest school, beach school, bushcraft, wild camping and mini expeditions.

Moonfleet Adventure Sailing
Boat Trip
Moonfleet Adventure Sailing

Both novice and sailor can try classic tall-ship sailing around Southern England’s stunning Jurassic coastline and the fascinating chalk downlands of The Isle of Purbeck and The Isle of Wight.

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.

Burngate Stone Carving Centre
Activity Centre
Burngate Stone Carving Centre

Courses in stone carving, sculpture, letter carving, family sessions. Sale of locally produced items including headgear, hosiery, jewellery, candles, cards and artwork. Tea room from which refreshments and snacks can be purchased.

Jurassic Coast Guides
Walking Tour
Jurassic Coast Guides

We offer professional guided walks, tours and fossil hunts anywhere along the full length of the Jurassic Coast and surrounding areas. There is so much to be discovered within the World Heritage site. Not only is there 95 miles of breathtaking coastline, but delve a little deeper and you can physically 'walk throught time' as it reveals 185 million years of life on earth, showcasing the three Dinosaur periods known as Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.

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.

Loose Reins
Alternative Accommodation
Loose Reins

Loose Reins is where the world slows down. It’s where the daily grind is left at the gate and a place of experience, discovery and relaxation opens up. It’s where you reconnect, come together and unwind in luxurious lodges or cosy cabins. Surrounded by beautiful Dorset countryside, it’s the place where life’s stresses end and life’s adventures begin. Put those feet up and toast marshmallows on the fire. Take things slow. Rock back on the cabin porch. Listen to the owls. Snuggle inside with the wood burner or feel the summer dew on your feet. Make friends with the horses, make memories forever. Discover Loose Reins. Discover your trail.



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