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

19 Sep

Portfield School, Parley Lane, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 6BP

19/09/2015 To 19/09/2015

11:00 am To 4:00 pm

Join us between 11am – 4pm, at Portfield School, Parley Lane, Christchurch, Dorset on Saturday 19th September. There will be stalls, games, refreshments and entertainment for all the family to enjoy.

All money raised from this event will go towards installing a brand new interactive room. The interactive room will be a teaching room providing opportunities for learning through a multi-sensory experience. It will allow students to actively explore a world beyond their reach and is needed due to an increase of children being referred to us with increasingly complex needs.

Parking is available in the field in front of the school. Entry is by donation.

09 Aug

The King Charles, Thames Street, Poole, Dorset BH15 1JN

09/08/2015 To 09/08/2015

4:00 pm To 11:00 pm

GlamAID is a Multi Band Charity Gig to raise funds for RNLI.

Event starts at 4PM until 11PM.

It is FREE ENTRY – however please donate to the charity buckets, if you can, it is all for a great cause.

Phil Murray was lead singer of 1970s band – Woodmansey’s U-Boat, which was formed after the demise of David Bowie’s band – ‘Spiders From Mars’.

Phil Murray’s U-Boat headline, performing early Bowie – Ziggy Stardust and Glam Rock faves! ON STAGE 9PM – 10.30PM

Supporting bands:

The Sabres – Majorly Original Rock, these guys amaze! ON STAGE 7.45 – 8.30PM

Southern Brotherhood – Americana / Psychedelic / Bluesy – Rock ‘N’ Roll – some fine original material! ON STAGE 6.30 – 7.15PM

(5.15 – 6PM TBC)

4PM – 5.15 Disco

Music Genres: Bluesy, Americana, Psychedelic, Rock, Rock & Roll, 70s, Bowie, Glam Rock +

12 Jul

King Charles pub, Thames Street, Poole, Dorset BH15 1JN

12/07/2015 To 12/07/2015

4:00 pm To 11:00 pm

GlamAID is a multi band and disco charity event, being held at The King Charles pub, Poole, Dorset, on Sunday 12th July 2015 4PM to 11PM.
Free entry, however please donate to charity collection buckets if able to, as it is for a great cause. RNLI
Approximate timings (subject to any changes):

4PM to 5.15PM – Disco
5.15 to 6.00PM - Power Thief
6.30 to 7.15PM – Infinite Jest
7.45 to 8.30PM Details Below

Headliner is Phil Murray’s UBoat 9PM, they will be playing their early Bowie / Ziggy Stardust and Glam Rock hits tribute.
For those that remember the 1970s, Phil was lead singer of ‘Woodmansey’s U-Boat’ the band that was formed after the demise of David Bowie’s band ‘Spiders From Mars’.

Newly Added Listings

1 Salisbury Street, Blandford, Dorset DT11 7AU

Hallmark and Thorntons is an independent retailer with a high quality range of greeting cards and gifts, including Thorntons Chocolates and an amazing range of balloons for every occasion.

There are two Hallmark and Thorntons stores in North Dorset, one in Blandford Forum and one in Shaftesbury.

44 - 46 High Street, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 8JG

Hallmark & Thorntons is an independent retailer and with a high quality range of greeting cards and gifts, including Thorntons chocolates and an amazing range of balloons for every occasion.

We have two Hallmark stores in Blandford Forum and Shaftesbury, both in North Dorset.

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.