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

23 Sep

Margaret Green Animal Rescue, Church Knowle Rehoming & Visitor Centre

23/09/2018 To 23/09/2018

11:00 am To 4:00 pm

Margaret Green Animal Rescue’s annual Country Fayre this year incorporates a Family Fun Day and Novelty Dog Show! Lots to do for the whole family including the four legged members; Dog olympics, Live Music, Falconry Display, Novelty Dog Show, Festival food, Sheep Shearing, Vintage cars and engines, Introductions to our Animals, Hobby Horse Gymkhana and more…

Price: £4 Adults, £2.50 Children up to 12

10 Oct

Gillingham Methodist Church, High St, Gillingham, Dorset. SP8 4AG

10/10/2018 To 10/10/2018

7:30 pm To 9:30 pm

Professor Ian Tracey is Organist Titulaire at Liverpool Cathedral and also Organist to the City of Liverpool. He is no stranger to GMC, having entertained us on numerous occasions before with his inimitable brand of consummate musicianship & amusing anecdotes.

Crispian Steele-Perkins is one of the world’s best known trumpet soloists, renowned for the quality of his performances and his wide-ranging musical experience.

Together with GMC’s famous trumpet stop they are sure to produce an amazing sound!

12 Oct

Station Road, Semley, SP7 9AN

12/10/2018 To 13/10/2018

10:00 am To 5:00 pm

Vintage and antique fabrics, haberdashery, eiderdowns, quilts, sheets, linens, lace, threads and more will be filling Dairy House on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th October from 10am to 5pm.

Part of our ground floor will be filled with some wonderful stalls, whilst other textiles will be spread throughout the shop.

So, if fabric is your ‘thing’ then come along, and tell your friends!

Newly Added Listings

Spend your next Dorset holiday in Purbeck with Island Cottage Holidays. Our cottages can be found in some of the prettiest locations in the area, from the famous Jurassic Coast to historic towns and villages inland – popular destinations include Swanage, Studland, Corfe Castle and Worth Matravers.

Many of our cottages have been Visit England-accredited, having been given an award of 4 stars or above, so you can be guaranteed quality accommodation while holidaying with us. Choose from a variety of places to stay, including luxury, romantic and dog-friendly cottages.

DT6 6QL

Stay In Dorset offers a choice of over 200 holiday cottages across Dorset alongside a selection of holiday parks, hotels and B&Bs.

Our accommodation is set in great locations across the county, from coastal spots such as Weymouth, Lyme Regis and Swanage to historic countryside towns including Corfe Castle and Dorchester.

We offer a variety of great places to stay, including dog-friendly cottages, family-friendly holiday homes with swimming pools, and a selection of large cottages big enough for all of your family and friends.

Take a look at our website to see our full collection of accommodation and find your perfect holiday in Dorset.

Sykes Holiday Cottages are the leading UK holiday booking company with over 100 hand-picked properties located in Dorset that are personally inspected to the highest standard and at an affordable price.

We have cosy cottages on the coast, ideal for a romantic getaway or larger homes with gardens, perfect for those big family get-togethers. Many of our properties include exciting features such as hot tubs, games rooms and sea views. Your perfect place awaits.