A Weekend in Dorset
Dorset has always been one of Britain’s most popular holiday hotspots. The county on the south coast of the UK boasts everything from scenic countryside to sandy beaches, fairy tale castles and a famed prehistoric coastline.
Natural beauty is the headline act in Dorset, particularly around the coast thanks to those steep cliffs, striking rock formations and plenty of long, sandy stretches of beach. The coast might be the star attractions but Dorset is far more than a one-trick pony. The rolling country hills found inland are dotted with Iron Age forts, stately homes and plenty of quaint and traditional villages. This charm continues in the coastal towns and cities which still cling on to that quintessential British seaside character.
How to get to Dorset
Dorset is easily accessible by air, train, bus, plane or car. Whenever possible I’d recommend driving so you’ve got the freedom and flexibility of your own car once you arrive.
What to see
If it’s a summer weekend, there’s no better place to head than the seaside resort of Bournemouth. The warm weather here makes the beach the perfect place to spend the day and the coastline in and around Bournemouth is home to over seven miles of award-winning sandy beaches. Check out our latest men's and boy's swim shorts from our family favourite collection.
Explore the Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast is Britain’s first and only natural World Heritage Site and consists of 95 miles of shoreline and around 200 million years of the planet’s history. Search for belemnites and ammonites (or bigger beasts) during a fossil hunt on the beach at Lyme Regis or learn more about this historic coastline through the interactive displays at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.
From the Punch and Judy show on the sandy beach to the colourful ice cream parlours near the water’s edge, Weymouth has all the ingredients of a quintessential English seaside holiday.
Of all the dramatic coastal scenery enjoyed in Dorset, Durdle Door has to be the most famous location, and certainly the most photographed. Discovered on the Jurassic Coast, just to the west of Lulworth Cove, which incidentally is another beautiful spot for an afternoon paddle in the sunshine, Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch formed by the erosive power of the sea.
A National Trust site located in Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island is one of the few places in southern England where indigenous red squirrels can be spotted in their natural habitat. There’s plenty of other wildlife too, including several herons and egrets for keen birders. History also plays a role here, as Brownsea Island was the scene of the formation of the worldwide Scout movement back in 1908.
Ride the Swanage Railway
Swanage’s heritage railway line is a wonderfully-restored six-mile line which travels through the Purbeck countryside on a journey into the past. Riding the steam train is a fun day out for families.
At one end of Swanage’s railway line lies Corfe Castle, towering amongst the Purbeck Hills. Today the castle is owned by the National Trust, but originally dates back to the 11th century and was built by William the Conqueror. A stroll through the remains and rubble effortlessly brings the story of the castle to life. Learn more about the castle’s history during the summer period when several demonstrations and re-enactments take place.
Visit the Market at Dorchester
Dorset’s county town provides a convenient base for exploring various surrounding attractions and locations, but Dorchester itself shouldn’t be overlooked. The historic market town lives up to its name each Wednesday when the lively market day kicks into action. It is also worth taking the two-mile walk to see Maiden Castle – an amazing Iron Age hill fort.