Heritage & Culture in Dorset

Looking to discover rich and intriguing heritage and soak up the atmosphere of bygone eras? You’ve come to the right place! 

Dorset offers more than just stunning scenery and fabulous coastline; you’ll feel a real connection with our ancient past. There aren’t many areas that can claim a huge naked chalk giant, a coastline where you can follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs and the largest hillfort in Europe.

From past to present – the Jurassic Coast

Love the coast but looking for more than just a lazy day by the sea?  You will be stunned when you arrive at Dorset’s coastline! 

The awe-inspiring, dramatic Jurassic Coast tells a mighty tale of bygone eras when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Take some time out to explore and you may discover prehistoric fossils and gigantic footprints at the foot of the ancient cliffs formed millions of years ago.

Magic & Mystery

Uncover fascinating tales of mystery and intrigue in Dorset. 

Why not climb the hill above the village of Abbotsbury to the medieval St Catherine’s Chapel where young women would go to pray for a husband.  Make sure you stop a while to take in the breath-taking scenery whilst you are up there – you won’t be disappointed.

Visit the picturesque village of Cerne Abbas and marvel at the huge club wielding giant carved into the hillside.  There are many theories behind this ‘rude man’, but which one do you believe?

Looking for somewhere to visit that may send a tingle down your spine? Many of the historic houses in Dorset are said to have a ghostly past…..do you dare to visit?

Quintessentially Dorset!

Dorset is the perfect place to travel back through centuries to explore fascinating architecture and artefacts with an eclectic range of castles, country houses and forts.

Dorset’s castles and country houses offer an insight into the lives of our ancestors.  Roam the grounds, immerse yourself in the surroundings and enjoy a taste of the high life!

Fascinating Museums

Still looking to find out more about Dorset’s unique history and heritage?  Then take time to visit one (or perhaps more!) of our museums.  Discover life-size reconstructions of dinosaurs, experience live action in military vehicles or delve into the history of some of Dorset’s amazing towns.

Inspiring National Trust Properties

Dorset is home to many jaw-dropping National Trust locations. Everything from an island, ancient hill carvings and hidden gems, to a castle, cottages and an Italian inspired palace. 

There's also dramatic coastline, unspoiled countryside and beautiful gardens for a fix of fresh air and chance to let off steam in the great outdoors.

Literary Dorset

Looking to find the inspiration behind many a great author and film maker?  Dorset’s amazing landscape is the answer!

Dorset is Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and this is the landscape that the novelist used time and time again as a backdrop for his tales of love and tragedy.  Much of the grassy vales, pebble-strewn beaches and furze flattened heaths of Hardy’s Wessex are little changed today.  Soak up the scenery and imagine yourself in one of his fictional hamlets.

Why not stay a while?

Phew, with so much to discover you’re going to need to stay a while!  Book a break to Dorset and uncover what makes this county extra special!

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Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle ruins are one of Britain's most iconic and evocative survivors of the English Civil War, partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians, they sit proudly upon a hill of this...

Highcliffe Castle

Highcliffe Castle is not only a beautiful and historical building, but the surrounding grounds are perfect for a relaxing stroll or a family picnic on the lawns. There is direct access to both...

Kingston Lacy

Kingston Lacy is an elegant 17th century Italian inspired country mansion set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland. Step inside the residence of the powerful and flamboyant Bankes...

Lulworth Castle and Park

Welcome to Lulworth Castle and Park, the most beautiful castle in the south! This fairy-tale castle was originally built as a hunting lodge in the early C17th to entertain aristocracy and royalty and...

Museum of East Dorset

Located in the heart of the beautiful market town of Wimborne Minster, visitors can discover the story of East Dorset with stunning Roman wall paintings, the fascinating childhood gallery and a unique...

Palmers Brewery

Guided brewery tours now run throughout the year Monday to Friday. Book on to one of our brewery tours and take a look around the only thatched brewery in the UK. Palmers ales are brewed in one of...

Portland Castle

Overlooking Portland Harbour in Dorset stands one of Henry VIII's finest coastal forts, built in the early 1540s to protect against French and Spanish invasion. Today it provides a great day out...

Shire Hall Museum

Shire Hall Museum brings over 200 years of justice and injustice to life. Walk in the footsteps of people whose lives were forever changed in the historic court at Dorchester’s Shire Hall...

Treasure Trails Dorset

Explore the streets of Weymouth with a self-guided Murder Mystery themed walking Treasure Trail; a fun and imaginative way to explore Weymouth. As you follow the Trail route, can you solve the clues...

Discover Dorset's History

Castles & Forts

In Dorset, there are fascinating stories of bygone times to be discovered everywhere!

Ancient Sites

There are so many fascinating ancient landmarks to uncover across Dorset

Arts & Crafts

Explore Dorset's local art and craft scene, from galleries to sculpture parks

We handrawn heart Stately Homes

Stately Homes

Dorset is home to some of the most spectacular homes and gardens in the country

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Areas to Visit

Bustling towns, quaint villages and seaside resorts...all waiting to be explored!

Things to Do

There's activities and attractions galore in Dorset!


Dorset has a fantastic range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.

Reconnect with the land

Read our blog about reconnecting with the land beneath your feet and discovering Dorset's history.

We handrawn heart Dorset Art Weeks

Dorset Art Weeks

Discover Dorset’s creative community, featuring contemporary work from over 500 artists and makers