When holiday time comes around it’s always good to explore new places and a visit to Dorset could well be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. Liz from Classic Cottages shares her favourite Dorset holiday locations.

Dorset has an eclectic mix of stunning dramatic coastline, cute villages, and rolling lush countryside. Nestled in between Devon to the East, Somerset to the North and Wiltshire and Hampshire taking the eastern flank, Dorset seems to take the best bits from each county, especially when it comes to homegrown produce, wide open sea vistas and historic sites.

Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury Swannery - Visit Dorset

Sitting in the shadow of St Catherine’s Chapel, Abbotsbury is often missed off the tourist trail. This quintessential chocolate box village is just a stones throw away from the coast and offers up a lovely mix of cafes, shops and galleries.  Spend the day; visit the famous Chesil Beach down the road, take the family to meet the swans at Abbotsbury Swannery or climb the hill up to the chapel and then reward yourself with a cup of tea and a slice of Dorset apple cake or why not partake of a Dorset Knob; worthy of a good giggle if nothing else 😊

Lyme Regis

Everyone knows Lyme Regis, from the French Lieutenants Woman and that stolen kiss on the Cobb to the abundance of fossils to be collected on Monmouth beach. These days you’ll find a thriving town with sweeping wide bay and gentle sloping beach. The town offers up a food lovers paradise to match the view so if fine dining is your style choose the contemporary and fabulous Hix Oyster and Fish House or, if fish and chips sitting by the sea is more to your taste then you’ll have lots to choose from on the seafront. Here at Classic we have a favourite, Lyme Bay Pizza and to remind us of the stunning view we have a webcam installed so we can look at the dreamy view across the bay anytime.

The Isle of Portland

Portland Bill © James Loveridge Photography

Situated on the most southerly point of Dorset with Portland Bill Lighthouse keeping watch from the farthest tip, this area of land calls itself an island but is in fact joined to the mainland by a road causeway and Chesil beach. Famous for its limestone which was used to build both St Paul’s Cathedral and the United Nations Building in New York, the Isle is steeped in history and much of this can be discovered in the local Portland Museum. With its interesting architecture and abundance of flora and forna, it’s best to explore the delights of this tiny island, that isn’t an island on foot.

Corfe

The word Corfe translates into “gap” from Anglo-Saxon times and this relates to the village and castle which stand over a gap in the Purbeck Hills. The castle was built to protect valuable marble once quarried from the Purbeck Hills and transported through the gap. Nowadays a stroll around the historic village is offers up a collection of eclectic shops and cafes. The model village gives a visual  on what the village and castle would have been like before Cromwell got his mitts on it during the civil war and at 1/20th of the scale makes an enchanting visit.

Corfe Castle stands majestically over the village and can be seen for miles around. Visit early in the morning or later in the evening and try to time your visit for sunrise or sunset. If it’s a clear day it’ll be well worth it, just don’t forget your camera. There’s been a building here since Roman times and since then the castle has weathered may a battle. Now only ruins remain but the National Trust took over in 1982 and the site is open most days so the public can discover the castle for themselves.

Classic Cottages

After a long day exploring, put your feet up in one of our Dorset holiday cottages. We have everything from cosy cottages where you can snuggle up in front of an open fire, to larger town houses with lots of choice for dining out. Our collection of cottages are carefully selected, personally inspected and fully equipped to ensure you have the perfect holiday. Take a look on the Classic Cottages website to see more.  

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Classic Cottages
Agency (Self-Catering)
Classic Cottages

For over 40 years, Classic Cottages have been the independent holiday cottage specialists. Still run and owned by the founding family, we pride ourselves on our local expertise in our areas. From family-sized homes with sea views in Lyme Regis to chic couple’s boltholes in the heart or Bridport, there's something for every holiday.

Portland Bill Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Portland Bill Lighthouse

Portland Bill Lighthouse has been standing majestically for the past one hundred and eleven years at a height of 41 metres (135 ft).  The distinctive red and white tower first shone its famous four flashes of light every twenty seconds on 11 January 1906 and has a range of 25 nautical miles which has guided passing vessels through the hazardous waters around Portland Bill as well as acting as a waymark for ships navigating the English Channel.

Abbotsbury
Village
Credit Mark Simons

Abbotsbury is a popular, pretty, picture-postcard village steeped in history and surrounded by spectacular scenery.

Abbotsbury Swannery
Animal Collection
Abbotsbury Swannery

The only place in the world where up to 1,000 swans can be visited during the nesting and hatching time (end May- end June). Audiovisual presentation. Ugly duckling trail. Mass feeding by hand at 12 and 4pm daily.

Corfe Castle
Village
Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle village is overlooked by the outstanding ruins of its castle perched on a hill. The Castle, built in 1086, was one of the country’s great strongholds and was defended by Lady Bankes during the English Civil War.

Corfe Castle
National Trust Property
Corfe Castle in spring

Adults and children alike will be captivated by the romantic Corfe Castle ruins and the breath-taking views across Purbeck.

Lyme Regis
Town
WDDC credit

Lyme Regis is Dorset's most westerly town, a bustling and picturesque seaside resort famous for its fossils and literary connections.

HIX Oyster & Fish House
Restaurant
HIX Oyster & Fish House

Perched on the hillside offering panoramic views of The Cobb and Jurassic Coast, HIX Oyster & Fish House is arguably the most picturesque spot in Dorset to enjoy locally sourced fish and seafood.

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