With an abundance of natural beauty to be discovered across the entire county, Dorset has a reputation as one of the UK's top destinations to get active. We’ve picked out 10 of our favourite adventures for you to try on your next visit to Dorset.

To whet your appetite, take a few minutes to enjoy the extended version of the Dorset Video Project:

Explore Dorset by bike

Cycling in Dorset

Combining peace and tranquillity with rewarding exercise, pedal power is a fantastic way to explore the magnificent Dorset countryside. With miles of scenic country lanes, designated national cycle routes and opportunities to really tear it up off-road, exploring Dorset on two wheels is a popular option with casual visitors and cycling enthusiasts alike. Pedal through the woodland, heath, beaches and hills of Purbeck with Cyclexperience or Sika Trail Cycle Hire, or tune up your off-road skills then hit the trails under supervision of a qualified instructor with Dorset Adventures.  And if you fancy a holiday exploring on two wheels, take a look at the tours offered by The Carter Company that match scenic routes with comfortable accommodation across the county.

Ready, aim, fire!

Archery in Dorset © Insight Activities

Enjoy a day out in the scenic Dorset countryside with a group of friends, family or colleagues and challenge yourself to try something new. Take aim and let loose under the supervision of specialists at Insight activities, who offer a host of woodland activities including archery, crossbow shooting, and medieval axe throwing using specially designed custom weapons. We just love their ‘Walking Dead’ themed shooting range, where you take aim at latex zombie heads from 25m using powerful crossbows!

You can also try your hand at clay pigeon shooting under the supervision of AA Shooting school. They’ll show you how to handle a shotgun safely then teach you how to blast clay pigeons out of the sky in no time.

Climb the Jurassic Coast

Climbing in Portland - Visit Dorset

Dorset offers a host of breath-taking climbing locations providing both accessibility and varying levels of difficulty – ideal for both novice and experienced climbers.

For a taster session or casual climb, Bournemouth’s RockReef has 28 themed climbing walls, plus nerve-testing high-line and vertical slide challenges. Visitors can also experience the epic 250m zip line that runs from one end of the Bournemouth pier to the shore!

The most popular outdoor climbing locations are the Isle of Portland (regarded by many as one of the best UK climbing destinations) and the rugged stretch of Purbeck coastline between Swanage and Lulworth. Both areas offer hundreds of routes that will keep fans of sport climbing, bouldering and trad climbing disciplines entertained.

There are a number of activity providers offering climbing and abseiling sessions, catering for all levels of experience, including Cumulus Outdoor Adventures  in the Purbeck area and Adventure 4 All in Portland.

Seek out Jurassic treasure

Fossil Hunting in Dorset © Jurassic Coast Guides

Fossil hunting is one of those must-do activities when visiting our phenomenal Jurassic Coast and we would strongly recommend joining a guided walk for to boost your chances of finding fossilised treasures – it’s much safer and a lot more fun. Jurassic Coast Guides offer group walks together with more personalised itinerary combinations that will help you experience the most scenic spots on the Dorset coastline.

Put some wind in your sails

Set sail from Poole Quay © Harbour Sailing

Ocean lovers can enjoy first class conditions for windsurfing, kite boarding, sea kayaking, and sailing along Dorset’s famous coastline.

Both Poole and Portland offer large sheltered harbours that are ideal for learning the basics or advancing your skills. Experience the speed and agility at the helm of a race-cruiser class yacht with Harbour Sailing based out of Poole Quay. Weymouth and Portland’s National Sailing Academy offers top class facilities and training programmes for kayaks and SUPs to dinghies and sailing boats. For an unforgettable day at sea, you could join the crew of a tall ship. Moonfleet Adventure Sailing run trips from Weymouth Harbour including popular round trips to Durdle Door and Lulworth cove.

Take to the skies

For the very best views of Dorset, embark on a champagne flight with Aerosaurus Balloons. Take in the magnificent Dorset landscapes around the take off point in the Cranbourne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty then drift slowly with the breeze across the surrounding countryside.

Enjoy a scenic paddle

Paddle up the river Britt with West Bay Canoes

The meandering estuaries at Wareham and West Bay provide a pleasant environment for a gentle paddle alongside reed-fringed riverbanks. Whether you like to row, kayak or stand-up-paddle board (SUP), Wareham Boat Hire and West Bay Canoes will provide you everything you need for a fun-filled day of messing about on the river.

Discover the underwater realm

Dorset boasts some fine diving and snorkelling opportunities with relatively clear and warm UK waters to explore. Steeped in rich maritime history, the area has numerous wrecks to explore together with opportunities to forage for scallops. Dive centres love to run introductory experiences to give you a taste of the underwater realm, whilst certified divers can join a boat trip with one of the many clubs that operate across the county. See the British Sub Aqua Club for more information on local operators and clubs.

Take a leap into a smugglers cove

Coasteering on the Jurassic Coast

Fancy leaping from rocks into the sea, climbing though hidden tunnels and exploring smugglers caves? The rugged Jurassic Coast offers challenging natural obstacles to navigate in the adrenaline pumping activity known as Coasteering. Join a session with one of Dorset’s experienced operators such as , Land and Wave and Lulworth Outdoors.

Catch your supper

Fishing on the Jurassic Coast © Snapper Charters

Fancy catching your own supper? Then a trip out to sea with an experienced skipper will be a highlight of your visit. In the summer months, mackerel are abundant off the Dorset coast and can even be caught whilst kayaking, Fore Adventure offer trips that combine fishing with foraging from Studland, close to the stunning Old Harry Rocks.

If you are staying in the Swanage area, book a trip with Swanage Sea Charters, the experienced skippers run two boats and have a great reputation for finding the action.

Snapper Charters run fishing trips from Weymouth Harbour, catering for novices and experienced sea anglers alike. They even run some special trips that include fishing time and sight-seeing along the Jurassic Coast as you cruise to Durdle Door and back.

More inspiration?

For more active experiences in Dorset, be sure to check out our Things to Do section. Plus, keep and eye out for special events such as guided walks, foraging days and bushcraft workshops on our What's On section.

Related

Cyclexperience
Cycle Hire
Cycling with Cyclexperience

Combine tranquility, exercise and discovery on a bike and explore the woodland, heath, beaches and hills of Purbeck.

Dorset Adventures
Adventure Sports
Dorset Adventures

We specialise in Mountain Biking, Kayaking, Stand-Up Paddle boarding, Rock Climbing, Coasteering, Archery, Axe & Knife Throwing! Our team of qualified and experienced instructors offer a range of adventurous activities around Shaftesbury, and the surrounding counties.  We have a fleet of quality Mountain Bikes which are also available for hire.

The Carter Company
Cycling Tour
The Carter Company

The Carter Company’s cycling, walking and touring holidays are a unique way to discover Dorset. Designed with the discerning traveler in mind, our creative routes show you the hidden gems and local secrets as well as the highlights, and at the end of the day relax in one of our hand picked luxury hotels, traditional inns or cosy guesthouses.

Archery in Dorset, Crossbows & Axe Throwing in the woods
Outdoor Activity/Pursuit Centre
Archery in Dorset, Crossbows & Axe Throwing in the woods

Nestled in a rustic woodland you will find Insight Activities shooting and throwing ranges where anyone can learn the arts of Archery, Crossbows, Axe Throwing and Archery Combat Tag in Dorset. Insight Activities are a small specialist provider, not a large multi activity centre. If you want excellent instruction using top quality weapons in a rustic woodland, then please book with us.

AA Shooting School
Shooting
Family fun, AA Shooting School

Norman in an effort to share his passion for clay shooting set up AA Shooting School for the tuition of shotgun/clay shooting. Providing a safe environment where non licence holders can enjoy the exciting challenge of clay shooting. and regular shooters can practice and hone their skills.

Cumulus Outdoor Adventure
Outdoor Activity/Pursuit Centre
Climbing with Cumulus Outdoor Adventure

Activities include: Coasteering, Kayaking, Climbing & Abseiling and Bushcraft amongst other things, plus outdoor corporate events, fun days and team building for business plus school and youth programmes and activities.

Adventure 4 All
Adventure Sport Centre
Adventure 4 All

Adventure 4 All are specialists in Outdoor Adventure. Their activities go beyond your expectations to give you an experience second to none. Their core activities include Coasteering, Stand Up Paddleboarding and Rock Climbing.

Land and Wave
Adventure Sport Centre
Kayaking

Climbing, Coasteering, Sea Kayaking, Bushcraft, Raft Building, Stand Up Paddle Boarding & more in Swanage and The Purbecks. Excellent instructors, top notch kit and passion for the Great Outdoors.

Lulworth Outdoors
Outdoor Pursuits
Lulworth Outdoors Coasteering at Lulworth

Lulworth Outdoors are a passionate, lively group of outdoor pursuit instructors, based within the stunning and versatile Lulworth Estate. We have access to continuous footpaths, bridleways, and permissive tracks, allowing freedom of exploration, whatever your activity!

Harbour Sailing
Boat Trip
Harbour Sailing, Poole, Dorset

Sailing out of Poole, we provide one of the best ways to see the stunning Dorset and Poole coastline. For those who want to try sailing, or are ‘old hands’ – experience the amazing Poole Harbour on our racer cruiser yacht. Or join us for one of our scheduled or private 'Try Sail's' and enjoy one of the best days out in Poole.

The Official Test Centre Ltd
Watersports
The Official Test Centre Ltd

The Official Test Centre (OTC) is the windsurfing, kitesurfing and stand up paddling (SUP) centre located right on the water’s edge, within the grounds of the National Sailing Academy on Portland.

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.

Wareham Boat Hire Ltd
Boating and Canoeing
Abbotts Quay, Wareham

Motor Boats, Kayaks, Canoes, Rowing Boats and Paddle Boards all for hire from Abbots Quay in Wareham. We have a fantastic range of self drive motor boats, some of the latest touring and sit on top kayaks both single and double. Canadian canoes, Red Paddle SUP's and much more. All perfect for exploring the River Frome and Poole Harbour. Great fun for all ages, sizes and abilities.

West Bay Canoes
Canoeing
Enjoy a scenic paddle with West Bay Canoes - Visit Dorset

One of the best ways to spend a couple of hours with friends, family or even your dog on a sunny day is to take a canoe trip from West Bay to Bridport.

Aerosaurus Balloons
Outdoor Activity/Pursuit Centre
Aerosaurus Balloons

Aerosaurus Balloons is a family-run company offering champagne hot air balloon flights across the South West of England. As the largest hot air balloon flight operator in the West Country, we have over 25 years' experience and have flown more than 80,000 passengers, ranging from six to over one hundred years of age!

Snapper Charters
Boat Trip
snapper charters weymouth

Snapper Charters offers deep sea fishing boat trips from Weymouth Harbour. Our trips are well suited to families and groups and provide an excellent way to see the stunning Jurassic Coastline. We provide everything you need including rod, reel, tackle and bait. We catch a variety of species depending on the conditions including mackerel, pout, dog fish, rays, conger eels and much more. Half day fishing trips are popular for beginners, but we also offer full day inshore and wrecking trips. Snapper Charters also run sightseeing boat trips along the Jurassic Coastline, which take in the sights of Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Mupes Bay.

Swanage Sea Fishing
Fishing
Swanage Sea Fishing

Based in Swanage on the stunning Jurassic coastline, we welcome both experienced and novice anglers, including children and families! This part of the world offers fantastic angling marks and a plentiful variety of fish for the table, plus the limestone cliffs provide the ideal habitat for numerous nesting seabirds including guillemots, razor bills, puffins and peregrine falcon.

Fore Adventure
Adventure Sport Centre
Fore Adventure

Adventures include: kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling, foraging, fishing, wild cooking, feasting, forest school, beach school, bushcraft, wild camping and mini expeditions.

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