All you need to plan your perfect holidays in Dorset

The Visit Dorset website provides you with travel and tourist information for Dorset. So whether you are planning holidays in Dorset or coming for a short break or business trip, Visit Dorset has all the information you need:

  • explore the vibrant holiday resorts, small market towns and picturesque villages of Dorset with our Places to Visit guide
  • discover the amazing array of Things to Do while on your holidays, from sightseeing at nature reserves and stately homes to kite surfing or quad-biking

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  • find out what events and festivals are going on all year round with our constantly updated guide to What’s On in Dorset
  • choose a restaurant for a romantic evening out or a friendly country pub for a warm and hearty meal using our Eating Out in Dorset section
  • find out the best way of Getting to Dorset, be it by car, train, aeroplane or ferry
  • download money off vouchers, and pick up useful tips on dog friendly beaches, parking, access for disabled visitors, etc in the Visitor Info section

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Dorset is a quintessentially English county of rolling hills and chalk downlands, with a picturesque coastline that is so important geologically it was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2001. Known as The Jurassic Coast, the rocks of the East Devon and Dorset coastline record 185 million years of the Earth’s history – a geological walk through time spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The craggy Dorset coastline, which stretches from Lyme Regis in the west to Christchurch in the east, also boasts many unique geological landforms such as Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, the Isle of Portland and the shingle bank of Chesil Beach to name but a few. Over half of Dorset is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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Nestled among the Dorset hills are charming market towns with enchanting little shops and interesting museums, as well as numerous picture-postcard villages such as the sandstone village of Abbotsbury, which has numerous tea rooms and pubs as well as the world famous Abbotsbury Swannery and the Sub-Tropical Gardens. There are also historic sites such as the famous Cerne Abbas Giant, which is carved into the chalk hillside above the village and at 180-foot-high is the largest hill figure in Britain, as well as the Iron Age hill fort of Maiden Castle, the largest hill fort in Britain and regarded by some as the largest in Europe.

Dorset’s natural beauty means walking, cycling and horse riding are popular activities, but there are plenty of other things to do in Dorset, both on and off the water. There is an abundance of family attractions, historic houses and gardens, golf courses, paintballing, even llama trekking and zorbing. There are water sports aplenty: fishing, canoeing, kite surfing, wind surfing, wakeboarding, swimming and, of course, sailing. In fact the waters off Weymouth and Portland are generally regarded as the best in Europe for sailing, which is why the area was chosen to host the sailing events during the London 2012 Olympic Games. What more could you possibly want for your holidays in Dorset?

Nightlife in Dorset tends to centre on the popular holiday resorts of Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth. Apart from numerous pubs, bars, restaurants and night clubs, there are also multiplex cinemas, ten-pin bowling alleys, ice rinks and dry ski slopes. So you will never be short of things to do on holidays in Dorset. Many of the larger towns in Dorset also have theatres that put on concerts, plays, shows and comedy nights, including the Lighthouse in Poole and Tivoli in Wimborne. The leading venue for events as well as conferences and exhibitions in Dorset is the Bournemouth International Centre, or BIC as it is known.

Finding the perfect place to stay in Dorset should be a pleasure with the choice available – from five star hotels to romantic B&Bs to family-friendly seaside caravan parks – Dorset has them all. So, whether you are looking for accommodation in Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth or elsewhere in the county, you are sure to be able to find something to suit your taste and budget.

Newly Added EventsView All

17 May

St John's Church, West Bay, Dorset DT6 4EN

17/05/2015 To 17/05/2015

3:00 pm To 5:00 pm

Allington Strings Spring Concert will take place at St John’s Church, West Bay on Sunday 17th May 2015 starting at 3pm.

This will be the Allington’s first concert under their enthusiastic new conductor Arturo Serna. Arturo started his musical studies with ‘Il Sistema’ in Venezuela and is considered one of the finest cellists from this country, winning prizes at many international music festivals. Recent career highlights include performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall and Fort Macleod Festival in Canada.

The concert includes pieces from baroque to modern including Pachelbel’s Canon, Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto, Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue, Holst’s Brook Green Suite and Wiren’s Serenade for Strings.

Catrin Win Morgan is the soloist in the Bach Concerto. She is Head of Strings at Sherborne Girls School and second violinist in the Brodowski Quartet who have performed at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and live on BBC 3.

04 Apr

Lytchett Minster, Dorset BH16 6AP

04/04/2015 To 04/04/2015

10:00 am To 5:00 pm

Join us for the first Dorset Food and Venison Festival, a celebration of the best of Dorset produce but with an emphasis on local venison.

We have a superb rural setting in Lytchett Minster with a backdrop of Post Green House.

We have easy access from the A35. Parking will be available in the grounds of Lytchett Manor School (courtesy of the school). Locations will be clearly signposted on the day.

Family fun, education, local ecology, live music and food demonstrations.

Entry £2.50. Age 12 and under are free.

28 Mar

Orchard Park, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 5JG

28/03/2015 To 10/04/2015

To

Easter Egg Hunt Gillingham at Orchard Park Garden Centre from Saturday 28th March to Friday 10th April 2015 (closed Easter Sunday 5th April).

Every child gets a prize. One child will win a special Easter hamper.

£1 entry per child.

Open:
Monday-Saturday 9am-5.30pm
Sunday 10am-4.30pm

Newly Added Listings

Behind The Bull Hotel, 34 East Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3LF

Mon-Fri (inc. school holidays) 5pm - 11pm (Food 5pm - 9.30pm), Sat & Sun (inc. school holidays) Noon - 11pm (Food Noon - 9.30pm)

The Stable Bridport in Dorset serves gourmet pizzas, pies and salads and has a cider house.

Poole Quay, 2 High Street, Poole, Dorset BH15 1BW

The Stable Poole is located on Poole Quay, just at the start of the High Street, on the water’s edge serving pizzas, pies, salads and cider. The restaurant has exposed beams, cosy benches and big oak barrels, so grab a seat in the sun by the window and enjoy the view or watch our chefs working in unison upstairs in the open kitchen.

Pier Approach, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5AA

Oceanarium Bournemouth – see amazing baby loggerhead turtles cruise the waters of their Key West home and get jaw-droppingly close to the new crocodiles!

Come face to face with hundreds of creatures – from otters, rays and clownfish to sharks and piranhas – discover the world’s waters under one roof.