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

dream cottages dorset

  • 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

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.

cleaners bournemouth dorset

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. Pop-up cafes, restaurants, bars and shops are also common in Dorset, especially during the summer festival season. If you need to arrange a pop up shop in Dorset then shop design from Sheridan and Co could be just what you need.

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. If Dorset isn’t for you and you’re looking to go abroad for the summer this year, make sure you you keep your health insurance up to date with european health insurance card renewal​ to stay safe wherever you go. Alternatively, if you fancy visiting the United States, make sure you have your USA esta visa in place.

Businesses in Dorset can also benefit from using this website: to advertise their products and source suppliers. Any Dorset-based business that wants to improve its customer service should look into the numerous and highly targeted courses offered by the Institute of Customer Service.

Newly Added EventsView All

14 Apr

The Toy Barn, Blackmarsh Farm, Sherborne, DT9 4JX

14/04/2017 To 14/04/2017

11:00 am To 4:00 pm

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Buy your advance tickets online at toy-barn.co.uk, pop into the shop at Blackmarsh Farm, Sherborne, DT9 4JX or call 01935 815040.

Sherborne-based toy shop The Toy Barn will be hosting an Easter egg hunt with a fancy dress theme on Good Friday, 14 April 2017, from 11am to 4pm.

Tickets cost £6 per child in advance (£7.50 on the door) and include an egg hunt, chocolate Easter egg and unlimited play on the climbing frames, swings, trampolines and wendy houses in the display and play orchard.

Children should come in fancy dress. There will be a prize for the best-dressed child.

Adult entry is free and there will be tea, coffee and cakes on sale with proceeds going to Yeovil, Sherborne and District Samaritans.

The Toy Barn has the largest display of climbing frames and trampolines in the south west. Children can play on these between the Easter egg hunts, while the parents enjoy a cup of tea. There is an egg hunt every hour on the hour from 11am.

Buy your advance tickets online at toy-barn.co.uk, pop into the shop at Blackmarsh Farm, Sherborne, DT9 4JX or call 01935 815040.

24 Mar

The Town Mill, Mill La, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3PU

24/03/2017 To 29/03/2017

10:30 am To 4:30 am

A mixed exhibition of paintings, mostly from the body of work “Delicious Dorset”.

Anyone who has known Dorset all their lives will find it a very hard place to leave. It leaves poetry in your veins. Dorset folk know how to sum up Dorset in few, and singularly simple words. This exhibition is an ode to having Dorset and the Dorset way in my veins, every last, tiny, delicious morsel.

When I first returned to Dorset after years submersed in the barren urban cityscape of London, it was like balm to my worried soul. I spent the next stage of my life deep in the Dorset landscape, translating it into paint, obsessively, clinging onto its life affirming and replenishing rhythm. It made me happy again and whole and reminded me of the freedom of the total abandon of being a child safe in the care of an adult’s guidance. So there will be plenty of the celebratory landscapes painted en-plein-aire decorating this exhibition.

Open every day 10.30 – 4.30 until the 29th of March

06 May

St Mary's Church, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2LY

06/05/2017 To 06/05/2017

6:00 pm To 9:00 pm

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Book online here: http://autismwessex.org.uk/book_event/opera-evening

Autism Wessex presents: My Life with Autism, finding my voice through music

Join us, in Dorchester, for an evening of music and conversation with, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano singer, Sophia Grech and local concert pianist, Duncan Honeybourne.

Hear about life with autism , diagnosis and achieving success while enjoying breathtaking performances.

Newly Added Listings

PO BOX 9120, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 4GR

New! OCEANROCKS celebrates your love affair with the coast, seaside and water. Shop for organic t-shirts, tops and clothes for families inspired by Dorset’s incredible Jurassic Coast.

Stunning bespoke designs printed on organic, environmentally friendly and ethically produced garments.

Discover great things to do and places to discover off the beaten track with OCEANROCKS Explorer and our Dorset blog.

OCEANROCKS is a proud business partner of the Jurassic Coast Trust – guardians of the UN World Heritage Site.

Safe, secure online shopping at www.oceanrocks.co.uk with free delivery for orders over £25.

Morcombelake, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6EA

Kay and Julian would like to welcome you to Halsons Bed and Breakfast, located in Morcombelake, a small village close to the Jurassic coastline, between the market town of Bridport and the seaside town of Lyme Regis.
Halsons was built in the 1800s and was built mainly of flint; it stands in the centre of its own walled garden. It stands in an elevated position which allows fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.

Halsons Bed and Breakfast, although easily accessible from the A35, is tucked away down a small country lane. The house sits in its own walled garden and due to its elevated position has wonderful views of the surrounding countryside including Golden Cap. Hardown Hill, the parent peak of Golden Cap, is directly behind us. We have three rooms, two large doubles and a twin. All the rooms have been recently renovated, including new modern bathrooms with walk in showers. Each room has tea and coffee making facilities, flat screen TVs with free view channels, and a DAB radio alarm clock. As well as the large airy dining room there is a shared lounge for guest use and a patio which leads off of both the dining room and lounge. Guests have the option of eating their breakfast outside on the patio on warm days. On cooler days there is a wood burning stove in the lounge. There is free Wi-Fi and free parking.

We serve a full English breakfast as well as a selection of cereals, fruit, yoghurt and breads and tea and coffee.

We are surrounded by walking routes and bridle ways and are within walking distance of Golden Cap and the Jurassic Coast. The local bus stop is a 2-3 minute walk away with buses to Bridport, Dorchester and Weymouth in one direction and Lyme Regis, Axminster and Exeter in the other. Axminster train station is a 10 minute drive away with regular trains to London Waterloo and Exeter.

Our Dorset base is in Burley

The Carter Company’s gentle cycling holidays offer a unique way to discover Dorset. Designed with families and leisure cyclists in mind, we have a range of self-guided tours ranging from 4 to 8 nights. Pedal at your own pace along our creative, largely traffic-free routes designed by locals to help you discover the hidden gems of the area, and enjoy overnight stays in hand-picked boutique hotels. Stonehenge, The New Forest, the Isles of Wight & Purbeck, and Salisbury all feature on our routes, as do gorgeous stretches of Dorset countryside and charming little villages. With 25 years of experience, we are known for our top-notch customer service and we love sharing Dorset’s treasures with our customers! Route directions, luggage transfers, bike hire, accommodation and a full support service are included on our tours.