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


  • 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.

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.

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Featured Listings

36 St Thomas Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8EH

The Babylon Bar in Weymouth town centre is a small, friendly bar with a big atmosphere. On Friday and Saturday nights they offer the Retro weekender, with music from the 80s, 90s and some random stuff to mix it up.

The Babylon Bar also shows all the football, rugby and other Sky sports.

Weymouth Outdoor Education Centre (WOEC) is the Dorset County Council centre for land and water-based outdoor activities such as sailing, kayaking, rock climbing and team development.

The centre is open all year round and provides opportunities for people of all ages.

The primary purpose of the centre is to provide activities for young people that complement the work of schools and colleges. Its programmes combine fun, learning, challenge and adventure. During the taster sessions and progressive courses, young people are supported and encouraged to fulfil their potential.

The centre also runs a large programme of courses for individuals, including kayaking, sailing, rock climbing and multi-activities. It is possible to have a taster session or progress to a higher level of competence on a longer course.

General enquiries about the centre should be directed to Julia Howorth (tel: 01305 784927,

Sutton Poyntz Pumping Station, Sutton Poyntz, Weymouth, Dorset

In 2006, Sutton Poyntz Pumping Station celebrated 150 years of supplying water to Weymouth. Occupation of the site can be traced back 10,000 years and the museum describes how water has influenced life since that time. The museum also contains one of Dorset’s three Industrial Ancient Monuments. Admission is free but by appointment only.

Featured EventsView All

04 Oct

Children's Centre, Dorchester Hospital, Damers Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2JY

04/10/2014 To 04/10/2014

11:00 am To 3:00 pm

The Dorset Kidney Fund (DKF) is holding an Antiques Valuation Day to raise funds to support DKF causes.

On the day you can bring along your most treasured items and family heirlooms to gain insight, history and ultimately a price in today’s market.

Antiques Roadshow’s very own Paul Atterbury will be alongside Matthew Denney from Dukes Auctions of Dorchester to give you their professional views and expert opinions.

Free car parking. Entry price includes afternoon tea. Two antiques per person.

28 Sep

Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 4EA

28/09/2014 To 28/09/2014

10:30 am To 6:00 pm

Come and enjoy the Autumn Fair at Kingston Lacy organised with Arkadia Events on Sunday 28 September. Browse a vast array of stalls covering everything from Dorset food and drink to a wide selection of artisan arts and crafts, all reflecting local talent and skills. Sit back and listen to the ukulele band whilst enjoying a glass of cider or browse the displays of vintage agricultural equipment showing how times have changed. On show will be a wide range of products which are produced on the Kingston Lacy estate, including honey, fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden and apples from its orchards.

There will be plenty of activities to keep the children entertained in the National Trust’s ’50 things’ activity area. Families will be able to tick off more of the ’50 things to do before they’re 11¾’, including creating some wild art, cooking on a camp fire, playing conkers and much more.

Entry to the Autumn Fair is included in the normal admission price and is free for National Trust members.

20 Sep

The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset

20/09/2014 To 20/09/2014


This year’s Britain at War Day will focus on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

See a range of privately owned vehicles in action alongside vehicles from The Tank Museum collection.

Browse stalls and enjoy a range of D-Day themed talks and tours. Learn more about Hobart’s Funnies, and the D-Day landings.

Military Vehicle Trust Members will be enititled to a 30% discount. To qualify for your discount, present your MVT membership card at admissions on the day of the event. The individual names on the card will be entitled to admission at the discounted rate.

The Vehicle Conservation Centre will be open all day.

There will be Tracked Vehicle rides going on throughout the day, at an additional cost of £3.

Please note – Normal admission charges apply, and annual passes ARE valid for this event.