ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Europe»
  • United Kingdom

Ten amazing places to visit in Dorset, England

Updated on May 23, 2016
The cliffs at West Bay, Bridport. Recently used as a backdrop for the hit tv series "Broadchurch".
The cliffs at West Bay, Bridport. Recently used as a backdrop for the hit tv series "Broadchurch". | Source
Rainbow at Colmer's Hill. The hill with the trees on top is an iconic landmark that overlooks Bridport.
Rainbow at Colmer's Hill. The hill with the trees on top is an iconic landmark that overlooks Bridport. | Source
View of the castle on Brownsea Island, Dorset
View of the castle on Brownsea Island, Dorset | Source
Looking westwards along Chesil Beach from Portland in Dorset
Looking westwards along Chesil Beach from Portland in Dorset | Source
Dorset County Museum in the county town of Dorchester
Dorset County Museum in the county town of Dorchester | Source
The cliffs at West Bay, Bridport, Dorset
The cliffs at West Bay, Bridport, Dorset | Source

A map of Dorset in England

Fossil beds exposed at low tide on the Jurassic coast
Fossil beds exposed at low tide on the Jurassic coast | Source
Lyme Regis harbour on a calm and sunny spring day
Lyme Regis harbour on a calm and sunny spring day | Source

Dorset is a small rural county on the south coast of England, noted for its idyllic countryside, rolling hills and beautiful coastline. Visitors to the area may be looking for a quiet country retreat, a holiday by the seaside, or maybe just a sightseeing tour of this picturesque county. Here are my top ten suggestions for a worthwhile visit, going from east to west.

1. Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour

Poole is a large town to the east of the county with a busy port and large harbour. Within the harbour are a number of small islands, including Brownsea, which is owned by the National Trust. Boat trips run regularly to the island, and include a short tour of the harbour. The island is perfect for a day trip, and is a self contained nature reserve that is home to the county's only red squirrel population and also many seabirds. It was also once the home of Lord Baden Powell who started the boy scout movement in the last century.

2. Corfe Castle

For a bit of real English history a visit to Corfe Castle is highly recommended. The ruins stand high on a hill in the village of Corfe, near Wareham, and can be seen for several miles around. Built originally for William the Conquerer after the Norman invasion of 1066 it served as a royal fortress for nearly 600 years until it was destroyed by the Parliamentarians in 1646. It has a rich and interesting history, and the local village and surrounding area are also very pretty.

3. Durdle Door

Durdle Door is one of the most picturesque features of the Dorset coastline, and is situated near Lulworth. The "door" is a natural limestone arch that protrudes out from the cliffs into the sea. The beach is mostly shingle there, and the water is beautifully clear, so popular in the summer for swimming and snorkelling.

4. Chesil Beach

Chesil is the longest shingle beach in Europe, stretching 18 miles from Portland to Bridport in the west, and is one of Dorset's natural wonders. At the eastern end it forms part of the narrow strip of land that joins the Isle of Portland to the mainland, and is separated from the land for a few miles by the Fleet, a brackish lagoon which ends at Abbotsbury, where the world famous swannery is. The western end of Chesil lies beneath the towering sandstone cliffs at West Bay in Bridport. The whole beach is quite magnificent, and any part of it is worth a visit.

5. Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle, near the county town of Dorchester, is an Iron age hill fort - the largest of its kind in Europe. It is a large ramparted hill with a long and interesting history. There is also evidence of later Roman occupation, and Dorchester itself is an old Roman town.

6. Dorchester

As the county town Dorchester is well worth a visit. The county museum there has lots of interesting historical artifacts including some beautiful Roman mosaics, and is a good place to find out more about the county's most celebrated literary figure, Thomas Hardy.

7. The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic coast is now officially a world heritage site, recognised for its geological importance. It includes 95 miles of coastline from Swanage in east Dorset right into east Devon. Keen walkers can walk the entire length along the south-west coast path. Geologically it spans 180 million years of history, including the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, and is rich in fossils and geological wonders.

8. Abbotsbury and the Sub-tropical Gardens

Abbotsbury is a very pretty little village, with several tourist attractions including the Swannery, the Tithe barn and the sub-tropical gardens. The gardens are nestled in a sheltered valley, where many rare and exotic trees and plants seem to flourish.

9. Bridport

Bridport is a small market town that hosts regular farmers' markets, and a busy street market on Saturdays, selling everything from local produce to antiques and crafts. There is also a thriving arts scene, with plenty of galleries and live music to choose from. The local beach and harbour are at West Bay, which is very popular with tourists.

10. Lyme Regis

Lyme is famous for its geology, and was the home of Mary Anning, the geologist who discovered the first dinosaur bones there. It was also once the home of the novelist John Fowles, who based his book The French Lieutenant's Woman in the town. The cobb is a long wall that runs alongside of the harbour, and featured prominently in the film of the book, as well as in Jane Austen's Emma . The museum is very good there, and walks along the beaches or around the fossil shops are recommended.

For more information on Dorset, visit http://www.visit-dorset.com/




Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Imogen French profile image
      Author

      Imogen French 5 years ago from Southwest England

      Updated May 2013 with some new pictures

    • Imogen French profile image
      Author

      Imogen French 6 years ago from Southwest England

      I agree, Limo Les, Portland and the lighthouse make a great day out. The more I think about it the more wonderful places I think of to visit - I can feel a sequel to this hub coming on!

    • profile image

      Limo Les 6 years ago

      Great Hub. Dorset has got to be my favorite county. Portland Bill lighthouse is worth a visit.

    • Imogen French profile image
      Author

      Imogen French 6 years ago from Southwest England

      Hello, 2Patricias. Yes, Swanage is in a lovely area, down on the coast amongst the beautiful Purbeck hills. You must have been to - or at least seen - Corfe Castle near there, in that case. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Dorset is a lovely part of the country. We've had some super holidays in Swanage.

    • Imogen French profile image
      Author

      Imogen French 6 years ago from Southwest England

      Updated with a few new pictures and a map - May 2012

    • surfgatinho profile image

      Chris Leather 6 years ago from Cornwall UK

      Good stuff. I love a bit of Dorset! Agree with most of your choices and with what Trish says about Lulworth and Corfe Castle, both great places

    • Imogen French profile image
      Author

      Imogen French 6 years ago from Southwest England

      thanks for that comment Will Apse - I'm sure there are better things to do in Dorchester though ... :)

    • Will Apse profile image

      Will Apse 6 years ago

      I have been drunk a few times in Dorchester and a fine place it is for such a thing.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      I like Dorset. We spent a few holidays there when our 'children' were younger.

      I haven't visited all of the places that you mention, but loved Lulworth Cove ~ and Durdle Door. I also enjoyed visiting Corfe Castle.

      There is a lot to see in Dorset ~ I shall have to go back soon :)

    • VizFact The Dude profile image

      VizFact The Dude 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Now this is a useful hub. Nice work.

    • UniquelyIndonesia profile image

      UniquelyIndonesia 6 years ago from Indonesia, South East Asia

      Nice info. Very Informative and useful for those who have some holiday plans to England. Hope someday i would go there too.

    • slmorgan profile image

      slmorgan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Dorset sounds like a beautiful place to visit.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)