Dorset is a rural area in England, United Kingdom with the most romantic countryside, exceptional coastal landscapes, massive cliffs, picturesque small ports, and perfect sandy beaches. Dorset is England’s West County and has no major city. Even there are no cities but still there are so many amazing attractions and places to see in this area. The coastal area of Dorset is also designated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is one of the best-known coastlines in England.
This rural area is also famous for fossil-hunting and has castles, abbeys and homes owned by state officials. There are numerous sandy beaches that extend eastwards from Lyme Regis. There are some of the world’s largest natural harbors in the town of Poole. You can also visit some incredible nature reserves, coves, and marine parks. More than half of the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England. Dorset is also home to many museums, theaters, and festivals.
22 Amazing Things to do in Dorset United Kingdom
Lyme Regis in Dorset United Kingdom
Lyme Regis is famous because of the beaches that extend eastwards from here. The Monmouth beach is famous because of its fun fossil-finding activities. It is a pebble and rock beach that stretches around 1 mile from the harbor at Lyme Regis. The fossil finding is more fun when the weather is unsettled at low tide.
The Cobb Beach is also a famous and spotless pebble beach with calm and transparent sea water. The Cobb harbor was used in the Meryl Streep’s movie “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”.
Shaftesbury in Dorset United Kingdom
Shaftesbury is a lovely hilltop town in Dorset county which is located around 200 meters above sea level. The hilltop town is famous among tourists and has many accommodation options. The wonderful old buildings have many bed & breakfasts and small inns inside them. Shaftesbury also has many historical attractions as the settlement in this town is as old as Saxon times. There are remains of an abbey that was built in the 9th century. There is also a museum about the history of the town in Shaftesbury. The steep cobbled stone street of Gold Hill is one of the astonishing sites that encapsulates the rural England amazingly.
Blandford Forum Town
The town of Blandford with its beautiful Georgian streets, baroque town hall and corn exchange building is an amazing place to visit. The town was destroyed by fire in 1731 and a fire monument is placed in the marketplace to commemorate the incidence. Everything in the town of Blandford has been reconstructed after the fire incident. There is a museum in the town that exhibits information and history about the rebuilding of the town. The famous Hall & Woodhouse brewery in Blandford is in business since 1777 and is well-known for its Tanglefoot bitter.
Poole in Dorset United Kingdom
Poole is famous for the natural harbors, calm and sheltered sea areas, and watersports. This place is ideal for watersports lovers, fishers, sailors, and windsurfers. The beautiful working maritime district of the Poole is a site to admire for its picturesque environment.
The Brownsea Island is completely owned by the National Trust and is cloaked in pine and oak woodland. It is a great place to visit and learn about some history around Poole.
Sandbanks is considered as one of the best beaches in United Kingdom. The beach is around 1 kilometer and the shores are filled with soft golden sand. This is definitely a wonderful place for barefoot experience on the beach.
Brownsea Island in Dorset United Kingdom
Brownsea Island used to be famous for its pottery in the Victorean era. You can still take part in the pottery activity and several other activities on the weekends. There is an open-air theater in the Brownsea Island which is pretty amazing because of the atmosphere. There are many walking and hiking trails undisturbed by traffic and with wildlife and history.
Weymouth in Dorset United Kingdom
Weymouth is the charming coastal town which has a beautiful harbor set on the banks of Wey River. Tourists love to visit the picturesque quays with old inns and warehouses. You can sit on a bench, relax, and watch yachts and boats coming and going calmly. The beautiful sandy beach is also ideal for tourist and families as the kids can also swim in the calm waters. Weymouth also hosts the Kite Festival in May and the Seafood Festival in July, which are both very entertaining and attract a lot of visitors.
Bridport in Dorset United Kingdom
Bridport is a nice market town in the hilly countryside of Dorset. The West Bay area of the town is a charming fishing harbor on the coast. The town has many shops and restaurants and is famous for a variety of seafood dishes it offers. The beautiful sandy beach, limestone cliffs and the traditional port are super amazing attractions for the visitors. Fossil hunters also love this town and the tourist information center is very helpful for them and provides them with very useful tips.
Sherborne in Dorset United Kingdom
You will always find Sherborne in the list of UK’s most beautiful towns. The town is mostly built with the Ochre-colored “ham-stone” which is quarried from the Somerset area. Sherborne is a small town but has many attractions including its architecture. There is a very impressive abbey which started out as a Saxon cathedral in the early 8th century. You can witness some of the remains from the old structure around the western portal. There are two magnificent castles in Sherborne which add to the beauty of the town.
Bournemouth in Dorset United Kingdom
Bournemouth is a Spa town since the early 19th century. The town has been a regular visit from the upper class from the England because of its health retreats and comparatively warm climate. The town has beautiful gardens, pine woodlands and fresh air from the sea. Many rich visitors loved the area and built their large villas in the town. There are several beaches in the coastal area that are spread around an area of seven miles. The Blue Flag Alum Chine is the most well-known beach with its incredible golden sand. The town has beautiful art gallery, many shops, restaurants, and nice spots for nightlife.
The Bournemouth Air Show has grown immensely popular since 2008. The whole area and the surroundings are filled with amazing flying exhibitions.
Christchurch in Dorset United Kingdom
If you are in Bournemouth, you must also visit the town of Christchurch which is a short train ride from Bournemouth. Christchurch has a beautiful harbor at the meeting point of two rivers. The town has beautiful old neighborhood and first-class beaches. The ideal way to roam around the town is to hire a bike so that you can move around easily and complete the visit within a day.
The Highcliffe beach has many restaurants for the visitors. You can also visit the ruins of an old Norman building called as “Constable’s House”. The town has an incredible medieval monastery called as Christchurch Priory that survived the Henry VIII’s dissolution. It became a parish church in the 16th century.
Isle of Portland
Isle of Portland is around 4 miles in length and is located at the edges of the Dorset county. It seems like a huge plate of Jurassic Limestone in the waters. The stone quarried from the very same place has been used at some of the best landmarks of the world including Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral and even in the United Nations headquarter in New York. Many adventure sports seekers also come to the island of Portland to climb on the rocks. For other visitors, there are beautiful site seeing spots and a Portland Castle which was commissioned by Henry VIII in 1539.
Swanage in Dorset United Kingdom
Swanage is a beautiful seaside town in Dorset county and has one of the most amazing beaches in England. This beach has soft and white sands and is ideal for families and kids. The resort town has many Victorian Stone buildings, cafes, pubs, and restaurants. Due to being a Jurassic coast town, the area is filled with natural wonders.
You can book yourself a Jurassic Coast guided tour in a cruise and get up close to the famous chalk formation called as Old Harry Rocks.
Wareham in Dorset United Kingdom
Wareham is famous among the history lovers because of the fortified walls from the Roman times. They were further strengthened during the Saxons time. The walls have defended the town from many invaders. There are ruins of a castle near Wareham where you can see some of the parts which are still intact.
Lulworth in Dorset United Kingdom
Lulworth is further divided into two parts that are East Lulworth and West Lulworth. This area is in the middle of the famous Jurassic coast which is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and has breathtaking landscapes around the sea.
The Durdle Door is a magnificent natural arch that is facing an unspoiled secluded sandy bay. Durdle door is highly famous and is a spectacular attraction especially when views from Man O’ War Bay which is next to it.
Another wonderful attraction is the Lulworth Cove which is majestic and highly admired by the visitors and photographers. Lulworth Cove seems like a perfect water bowl protected by rugged rocks and is rated as one of the seven natural wonders of South.
Lulworth Castle is also one the must visits while you are visiting this area. The castle has served as home to state officials for a very long time.
Dorchester in Dorset United Kingdom
Dorchester is the historic town in Dorset with several listed buildings in its center. The countryside around the town also has some majestic estates like Athelhampton and Kingston Maurward. There is a new brewery square which is created for shopping and nightlife in the town.
Dorchester is also famous because of the esteemed Victorian writer Thomas Hardy who spent most of his life in this area and has a cottage here.
The Jurassic Coast of Dorset
The magnificent and Jurassic Coast of Dorset is full of breathtaking views of the landscapes around the sea. The entire western shoreline of Dorset is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area has a history of around 185 million years which is layered by fossils of plants and animals which were present here since the pre-historic era. The beaches of the Jurassic Coast are famous for fossil hunting since hundreds of years.
You can learn more about the history of the area in the Charmouth Heritage Coast Center located in the village of Charmouth which is located in this area.
Monkey World is a great place to visit while being in the county of Dorset. The place is filled with wonderful wildlife, a petting zoo, and an indoor play area. You can have a guided tour and can book the venue for your celebrations or events. The 40-acre park is a sanctuary to more than 100 monkeys.
The Tank Museum in Dorset United Kingdom
The Tank Museum in Dorset exhibits the unique collection of tanks including the world’s first ever tank. This tank museum is also considered as the best tank museum in the world. You can view and learn about the amazing armored warfare which dates back to the World War I. The museum also showcases the Battlegroup Afghanistan Exhibition.
The Blue Pool
The Blue Pool in Dorset is famous because of its color changing abilities. The pool is surrounded by woodland with several trails. The sandy paths can lead you to the magnificent views of the Purbeck hills. The Blue pool remained hidden since long and hence is mostly unspoiled and an ideal place for nature lovers.
Tyneham Village in Dorset United Kingdom
Tyneham Village was evacuated in 1943 during the World War II and has been unpopulated since then. The abandoned village will take you back in time where you will see the remains of old houses and lifestyle of the residents. The School and the church are still intact but most of the other structures could not stand the test of the time.
English Oak Vineyard
If you are a wine lover, you must visit this area which is the award-winning sparkling wine producer. You can get a tour hosted by the vineyard owners who will lovingly explain everything about their wine making process. The wine tours are open on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer months. This is a superb place to experience the delights of an English vineyard.
Sculptures by the Lakes
Sculptures by the Lakes is a glorious 26-acre park filled with unique sculptures around the magnificent landscapes. The park is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. The park also has some nice tearooms where you can enjoy light snacks and meals with tea or coffee.