Autumn Breaks in Dorset

The sunny days have passed, the kids have gone back to school and the nights are drawing in but all is not lost. Autumn is a wonderful time to immerse yourself in Dorset’s changing landscapes.

There is so much the county has to offer at this time of year. Whether you are seeking relaxation, entertainment, adventure or exciting events, you'll find everything you need for an autumn adventure.

Experience the great outdoors

Autumn is the perfect time to get out and explore before the colder weather arrives. The warmer temperatures have passed and the cool fresh air is ideal for those keen to discover more of our county. You might like to try out one of our suggested autumnal walks or hill climbs to get a real flavour of our towns, villages and stunning scenery.

Access all that is special about the Dorset coast and take a ‘walk through time’ on the South West Coast Path - England's longest waymarked long-distance footpath and also a National Trail. Stretching for 630 miles along the magnificent Jurassic Coast, it links together coastal hamlets, villages and towns providing access to all kinds of stories, including the Cretaceous period of the Earth's history.

Visit the wildlife paradise of Durlston Country Park, the fascinating Tyneham ‘Forgotten' Village or enchanting Corfe Castle and stop off for a hearty pub lunch.

Why not explore our gorgeous coast and countryside on 2 wheels?  Pedal your way through some scenic routes and soak in the amazing views. Whether you’re looking for a gentle jaunt or an exhilarating ride, our landscapes will leave you amazed. 

Take advantage of the brisk fresh air and venture out to the North Dorset Trailway. It is a splendid walking and cycling path that runs along a dismantled railway line from Stalbridge to Spetisbury via Blandford, with spectacular views of the River Stour.

Enjoy the changing colours

This is a truly magical time of year to amble around one of our splendid stately homes and gardens. Take in the grandeur of some of the most spectacular homes in the country and gaze at the magnificent trees as they take on the blazing colours of Autumn. Breathe in the fresh, autumnal air as you wander through the gardens....relax, rewind and enjoy life at a slower pace! 

Check out our Awesome Autumn Colours blog for the best places to see the leaves changing from gorgeous green through to the golden yellow and russet red.

This year's Autumn Colours Weekend at Sherborne Castle takes place on 23rd and 24th October. Stop by at the tearoom for a warming drink or something to eat before exploring the castle grounds and enjoying the gorgeous views across the lake and cascade.

Events and festivals this autumn

The Inside Out Festival returns to Dorset this year. Expect inspiring outdoor performances in five locations across Dorset at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Poole, Christchurch, Symondsbury Estate and Weymouth. The festival takes place over two weekends between 17th and 26th September. 

Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival takes place from 1st to 3rd October. Enjoy wonderful and unexpected characters, performances, art installations and music across this coastal town. 

If you're a fan of the literary arts, Dorchester Literary Festival features workshops, poetry readings and lots of fabulous authors between 9th and 16th October. 

Purbeck Film Festival is the UK's longest running rural film festival. The films are shown at various venues across the area including cinemas, village halls, hotels, restaurant and more. The Festival runs from 22nd to 31st October.

Between 7th and 13th November, Bridport Literary Festival hosts a number of special events and a packed programme of talks.

For a full list of events during September, October and November, take a look at our What's On guide.

Discover charming market towns

Unwind, relax and appreciate the simple life in pretty, picturesque towns of rural Dorset.

Visit one of out pretty market towns at Blandford Forum, Gillingham, Shaftesbury or Sturminster Newton and ramble along the infamous cobbled streets at Gold Hill.

In need of more inspiration?

Be sure to book the perfect stay in Dorset using our accommodation guide, and keep an eye on out for special offers to grab yourself a great value deal.

To complement your visit, we have lots of great places to eat out, including a guide to Dorset's weekly farmers markets and the best spots to enjoy some wonderful local produce.

For further information, check out what's on for the latest events or for more ideas browse our things to do guide for a huge range of attractions, activities, shopping, entertainment and more!

Be sure to follow our social media accounts for fresh inspiration about Dorset and share your adventures with us.

Discover Dorsetthis autumn

Awesome Autumn Colours

Stroll through beautiful vistas and gaze into bright blue skies as the seasons change around you.

5 Autumn Walks

Don your walking boots and embrace Dorset's autumnal beauty on one (or all!) of these five handpicked routes.

We handrawn heart autumn dog walks

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