The captivating county of Dorset on the south west coast of England brings to mind blue seas, green rolling hills and sparkling white cliffs. The largely rural county (with no motorways to be found) has some excellent seaside holiday resorts, as well as delightful market towns. You can't go far wrong camping in Dorset!
With a World Heritage coastline and countless attractions to suit every taste, Dorset is a world class destination that will keep you coming back year after year.
Our favourite things to do in Dorset
- Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove
- Brownsea Island
- Weymouth Beach
- Corfe Castle
The Jurassic Coast (and more than a few fantastic beaches!)
One of the wonders of the natural world and a World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast is a genuine must-see. You can't fail to enjoy the fantastic coastal views and amazing geology which dates back over 180 million years.
A guided fossil hunting walk is to be recommended, as is Charmouth Heritage Coast centre. And don't miss the impressive Durdle door limestone arch formation, Old Harry Rocks near Swanage, and idyllic Lulworth Cove - all on the South West Coast Path.
The Dinosaur museum in Dorchester is the only one in the UK solely dedicated to Dinosaurs and the environment they lived in.
Despite being a largely rural county, Dorset has many lovely towns and villages to explore. Bournemouth and Weymouth are two of the more popular coastal resort towns and both offer all of the typical British seaside attractions you'd expect. Also worth a visit are the picturesque streets of Lyme Regis, Wimborne Minster and Shaftesbury.
The entire family will enjoy a trip to one of Dorset's fantastic beaches. Weymouth Beach, Swanage, Highcliffe Beach, Chesil Beach and Ringstead Bay are all highly recommended. Make sure to stop by Sandworld in Weymouth, a seasonal sand sculpture exhibit featuring the best sand artists from around the world as well as a chance for kids to make their own sand art.
A rich history
Dorset is home to a number of excellent landmarks and heritage sites. Visit the Roman Town House in Dorchester or the mysterious Cerne Abbas giant chalk figure.
Corfe Castle is also steeped in history and well worth a visit while enjoying the spectacular views of the coastline beyond. Historic buildings are plentiful in this part of the country and you may also wish to visit Christchurch Priory, Lulworth Castle, Kingston Lacy Country House, Highcliffe Castle and the imposing Sherbourne Abbey.
The Tank Museum near Wool is fascinating, home to a large collection of tanks and live-action displays.
Explore the region's scenic coastline via walking, hiking and cycling trails. Moors Valley Country Park and Forest has a variety of tree-top walkways, trails, and adventure courses across 1,000 acres of parkland. There are also many opportunities for outdoor activities and water sports such as kitesurfing, sailing and diving.
Take a trip to Brownsea Island near Poole which is a lovely day trip out - and home to some of our beloved red squirrels. Studland Beach and Nature Reserve also offers fantastic views and safe swimming.
Foodies will enjoy the Dorset Seafood Festival, or for something a little more bizarre, perhaps the Stinging Nettle Eating Championship!
Other family fun
Animal lovers will enjoy a trip to Monkey World, an ape rescue and rehabilitation centre in Wareham, or Abbotsbury Swannery and Children's Farm where you can experience wildlife close up. The Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park is another hit for those with children, as is Adventure Wonderland, an ‘Alice in Wonderland' themed attraction near Bournemouth.
For more ideas, please visit our things to do in Dorset pages.