Travelling around Dorset

Travel around our beautiful county by bus, train, boat, bike or car. Consider leaving your car at your accommodation and make the journey by public transport part of your day out - sit back, enjoy the view and let someone else do the driving!

Whichever way you choose to travel, make sure you enjoy Dorset’s beautiful coast and countryside to the full.

Using Dorset's regular and reliable public transport couldn’t be easier. If you choose to travel by bus or train, Traveline can give you various options and timetables.

Licenced taxis can be found at railway stations or booked in advance.

Travelling by bus or coach

It's really easy to travel around Dorset by bus or National Express coach. Travelling into the larger towns for shopping or entertainment can be stress free when you catch one of the bus services connecting all the main towns in Dorset. Let Traveline help plan your journey from A to B.

For National Express coaches you will need to buy your ticket in advance, but for other local bus services you can buy your ticket from the driver on the day of travel and you do not need the exact money. Each bus company offers a range of one-way, return, day, week, month or group tickets. You can now use contactless payment on Purbeck Breezer, More Buses and First Dorset buses (including Jurassic Coaster), so you no longer need to pay with cash. Many of the bus companies also have their own Apps to download too.

Travelling across Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole? Buy a Getting About Ticket for a whole day of travel.

The Jurassic Coaster and Purbeck Breezer buses are ideal for walkers who want to walk a section of the South West Coast Path, as you have the option of travelling out or back by bus. Plus you can sit on the top deck and get great views of our coast and countryside!

Want to use your bus pass? Find out when and how you can use it on Dorset buses.

Travelling by train

You are never far from a railway station in Dorset as there are 23 stations on the national rail network. This includes: 9 Stations on the Great Western Railway routes including Sherborne and Gillingham and 14 stations on the South Western Railway routes including Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester, Wareham and Weymouth.

From 4 April to 10 September 2023, visitors will be able to travel by train from Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole and many other locations to the beautiful village of Corfe Castle and seaside resort of Swanage. You will need to change trains at Wareham, switching onto a heritage diesel train run by Swanage Railway. You will be able to buy through tickets from South Western Railway and these services will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only.

You can buy tickets online, by telephone and at railway station ticket offices or self-service machines on station platforms. A variety of one-way, return, day, season and group tickets are available. You might also save money on the entrance to attractions by using the Days Out Guide 2 for 1 ticket.

Visit the National Rail website for more information and to get live train departure times.

Need to get a bus from the railway station to your final destination? Purchase a PlusBus ticket and save money.

There are taxi ranks at many train stations, but you may need to book in advance to guarantee your onward travel.

Vintage train travel

The Swanage Railway is the picture postcard branch-line to the seaside. Steam and diesel trains weave their way through the beautiful Isle of Purbeck countryside for 6 miles from Norden Station, passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle to the sandy beach of Swanage - the eastern gateway to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. 

Stations are located at Norden, Corfe Castle, Harmans Cross, Herston Halt and Swanage.

Travelling by boat

Avoid the traffic and travel by sea on a boat tour or ferry. Boat trips can be enjoyed as an alternative to road or rail travel and can be caught from Poole, Wareham, Swanage, Lulworth Cove, Weymouth and West Bay. Boats can also be chartered for touring along the coast.

Why not take a day trip to the beautiful Channel Islands or France with Condor Ferries from Poole or take advantage of the many boat trips along the Jurassic Coast? You can even combine boat and bus or boat and train travel with City Cruises and save money!

Travelling by bicycle

Discover Dorset's spectacular coast and countryside by using our cycle networks whilst you are here.

There are a mixture of long and short distance routes, plus signposted and circular trails available.

Travelling by road

Plan your days out with the help of Travel Dorset, which offers information and advice about parking, roadworks and live travel alerts.

Look out for park and ride schemes in Weymouth, Boscombe and Poole to help take the hassle out of your trip to town centres, beaches or festivals.

Taxis are available from train stations and airports, as well as towns and villages.

Electric car charging points can be found throughout Dorset at Blandford Forum, Bournemouth, Bridport, Christchurch, Dorchester, Gillingham, Lyme Regis, Poole, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Swanage, Weymouth, Wimborne Minster and many other locations. Some are located in car parks, near shopping areas, at holiday accommodation or you can find other charger points on the Zap Map website or CarWow website.

Want to go car free?

Let us tempt you into discovering car free days with some exciting itineraries for you to explore the area. Leave your car behind, let someone else do the navigating and take the stress out of travelling. And when you travel by boat, open top bus or steam train, it becomes part of your day out - fun for all the family.

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Further information to help you plan your visit or stay to Dorset.

What does your Dorset look like? Adventures on our epic coastline? Visiting attractions with family? A walk through the beautiful countryside? Or perhaps a chilled out evening eating and drinking with friends? Discover a sample of your #VisitDorset images below and share your love for Dorset using the hashtag on Instagram.