Dorset is one of England’s most charming counties, located on the South Coast of England, it is a perfect destination for a weekend or even weeklong break.
There’s no shortage of things to do, but a car would be recommended to get the best out of Dorset. Top of the list has to be the Jurassic Coast. It is Englands only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and with good reason, it’s absolutely stunning. The pictures don’t do it justice, it’s a must see in person. You can drive along the coastline and stop at parts for walks / picture opportunities. If you are on a whirlwind tour, I’d recommend not missing out on Lulworth Cove and Durdle Doo which is just north of Lulworth.
You’ll probably want to start off in the largest town in Dorset, Bournemouth. This coastal town is famous for it’s beach, pier and vibrant nightlife. No wonder it attracts millions of tourists every year! Try and base yourself somewhere central to all the sights and sounds, most of the good Bournemouth hotels and accommodation are within walking distance of the centre and the beach.
If it’s activities you’re looking for, check out one of the many surf schools along the coast. You can rent out the gear and board for reasonable rates and head on down yourselves or you could book into a few lessons. Alternatively, but keeping with the beach theme, just spend a lazy day at the beach and the promenade. Bournemouth beach is one of the cleanest and most beautiful on the South Coast.
One of my personal favourite ways to explore a new place is to go on one of the numerous walking tours that have sprouted up all over cities around the world. The guides are often very knowledgeable and best of all, you can meet up with fellow travelers. Win win.
The best route to take around Dorset is probably to arrive into Bournemouth and drive along the coast westwards taking in Swanage, Weymouth, Charmouth and looping back up through the countryside. It’s easy driving, but beware in the height of the summer it can get busy on the roads!
Most people love a good mystery and The Cerne Abbas Giant is a still a big mystery. It’s origins are still debated, but it’s impact on local culture is not. You’ll see souvenirs of this giant everywhere in Dorset, and a stop at the informative visitors centre is a worthwhile one.
For food, you need not look too far. There’s loads of options in the quaint villages and towns dotted around the Dorset countryside. From pub lunches, tea rooms to award winning restaurants, you won’t go hungry!
For lunch or an afternoon break, stop at a tearoom in any number of villages and try the famous Dorset apple cake with a bit of clotted cream on the side.
Beer/Ale lovers can enjoy the brewery tours at both the Hall & Woodhouse and the Palmer’s Brewery. Stock up on the local ales which also make great accompaniment to a pub lunch! And speaking of pub lunches, give the Dorset Blue Vinney cheese a try. It’s a local blue cheese made from skimmed cows milk and goes great with a ploughmans lunch.
While the UK isn’t famous for the sunshine, believe it or not, there are vineyards in the South of England. Located in West Dorset is the Furleigh Estate vineyard where you can join a wine-tasting tour. A bottle of English wine makes for an interesting gift.
After Dorset, you’ll be in a great location to branch off and explore the neighbouring counties of Devon and Cornwall which are equally fantastic destinations.
Have you been to Dorset? Leave a comment below!