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

05 Jun

Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole, Dorset BH15 1UG

05/06/2015 To 06/06/2015

7:30 pm To

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour features an exhilarating selection of short films that will take you to the most captivating places on earth. Through the big screen, be transported to the world’s last great wild places, follow the expeditions of some of today’s most incredible adventurers, see amazing footage of adrenaline packed action sports and be inspired by thought-provoking pieces shot from the far flung corners of the globe.

This year we are featuring 2 different programmes at the Lighthouse Theatre.

Date: 5th & 6th June Venue: Lighthouse Theatre

Times: 19:30 (doors and bar open 1 hour before) Tickets: £13.50 /£11 concession (multiple screening discount available)

For tickets: www.banff-uk.com

14 May

Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB

14/05/2015 To 14/05/2015

2:00 pm To 3:30 pm

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Screening of RUFUS STONE, followed by Q & A with Project Lead, Executive Producer and Author of the film, Dr Kip Jones. Bournemouth University’s Gay and Pleasant Land? project was part of the national New Dynamics of Ageing Programme funded by Research Councils UK. The project investigated ageing and gay life in rural South West England and Wales.

Venue: Bournemouth University, Stevenson Lecture Theatre, refreshments available from 1:30pm

15 May

Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB

15/05/2015 To 15/05/2015

12:30 pm To 1:30 pm

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Building defensible invisible castles

Software is invisible, and so pervasive that we place our trust in software without caring too much about how warranted that trust is. Unfortunately, designing secure software is hard, and the media is filled with stories about what happens when software fails to meet our [albeit implicit] security and privacy expectations. In this talk, I will describe how adopting disciplinary perspectives beyond computer science can help build software that is both secure and useful.

Venue: Bournemouth University, Kimmeridge House; lunch served at 12 noon

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.