Travelling to Dorset

With so many great travel options and its close proximity to London, not only is Dorset one of the most accessible destinations in the South West, it is the ideal place to visit for your holiday or relaxing short break.

If you are travelling from another country, you will be delighted to find that Dorset has an international airport and ferry ports which connect us with Europe and beyond. So Dorset is a fantastic place to start your travels in the South West of England.

Planning your visit to Dorset couldn’t be simpler with our handy 'how to get here' travel tips for many modes of transport including traincoach, roadferry and air.

For journey planning from anywhere in Europe, you can also use Omio to check prices across a wide range of travel choices including rail, coaches, ferries and flights. You simply enter your start and end point and a variety of travel options will be displayed, which you can then book online.

Arriving by train

Dorset is served by a reliable rail network between many of the UK’s towns and local railway stations throughout the county.

South Western Railway operates direct trains from London Waterloo station stopping at Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole, Wareham, Dorchester and Weymouth as well as Gillingham, Sherborne and Axminster (for Lyme Regis).

Dorset also has connections from Bath, Bristol and Gloucester with Great Western Railway train services.

From 4 April to 10 September 2023, visitors will be able to travel by train from London, Southampton and many other destinations 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.

Arriving by road

Whether you are arriving by coach or car, Dorset is easily accessible by road. Travelling to the county is an enjoyable and scenic journey, passing through beautiful countryside along the way.

And once here, enjoy the peace and quiet – five English counties do not have a motorway and Dorset is one of them! Driving is a pleasure on our traffic-light country lanes - just make sure you don’t get distracted by the incredible views! 

If you are driving an electric vehicle, there are over 125 chargepoint locations across the county where you can recharge - many are in car parks or at supermarkets or you can choose to stay at a hotel, holiday park or B&B where you can charge overnight.

Arriving by sea

As Dorset is situated on the south coast of England, there are a number of ferry services from European ports arriving in or close to the county.

Ferry services run to and from Poole, Plymouth (in Devon) and Portsmouth and Southampton (in Hampshire). A warm welcome is also extended to cruise ship passengers arriving at Portland Port and Poole Port. 

There are also a number of harbours along the Dorset coast which welcome visitors travelling with their own boat, offering a place to berth overnight, showers and other facilities.

Arriving by air

Dorset is easy to get to from anywhere in the world!

The main airports for Dorset are at Bournemouth, Southampton (in Hampshire), Exeter (in Devon) and Bristol. All are less than 90 minutes drive away.

If you are arriving at London Gatwick or London Heathrow airports, you can get a connecting train or coach, or it is a 2-3 hour drive.

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

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!

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.