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.

cleaners bournemouth

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

24 Oct

Pier Approach, West Beach, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5AA

24/10/2015 To 01/11/2015

10:00 am To 6:00 pm

Discover the mystery and magic of the natural world at the Oceanarium this half term, with some of the world’s slinkiest, spiniest and slithery creatures including fearsome piranhas, creepy crocs and eerie eels!
From Saturday 24th October to Sunday 1st November additional spook-tacular family friendly activities will be hosted for all the family to enjoy including:

  • MEET THE CREEPY CREATURES face your fears and get up close to creatures such as snakes, bearded dragons and a tarantula!(Creatures are subject to change)
  • PENGUIN PLAY TIME – witness some of the penguins engaging in enrichment activities.
  • PHOTO COMPETITION – take a photo of what you think is the creepiest or scariest creature at the Oceanarium and tag it on instagram @oceanariumbournemouth or post it on our Facebook page at with #oceanariumspooks for the chance to win a goody bag of prizes.
  • Help FEED THE TURTLES* - throw the turtles favourite food to them during our main feeding sessions on Turtle Beach.
  • Take part in our TRICK OR TREAT QUIZ TRAIL- follow all the clues to discover some of our most ghoulish creatures!
  • Watch our waters come alive in our DAILY FEEDS & PRESENTATIONS - including sharks, penguins, turtles and otters – why not see them all – tickets are valid all day!

And don’t forget to book in advance online where you can make great savings of up to 25% (Discount valid throughout half term and can be purchased from 15th October) Activities are subject to availability and may change without prior notice.

* Feed the Turtles – £2 donation in aid of Oceanarium’s chosen charity. Offered on first come, first serve basis due to turtle’s dietary requirements and subject to availability.

10 Oct

The Mission Hall, Mission Hall Lane, Sutton Poyntz, Dorset DT3 6LY

10/10/2015 To 10/10/2015

8:00 pm To 10:30 pm

We are so privileged to be able to welcome back to Weymouth, STEPHEN FEARING, who is one of Canada’s finest guitar players and a unique vocalist who has shared the stage with everyone from Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, to Richard Thompson and Martin Carthy.
Praised by music writers worldwide, Stephen Fearing is a much sought after musician who rarely slows down. He has performed extensively throughout North America, the UK and Ireland both as a solo artist, and with the award-winning roots trio Blackie & the Rodeo Kings.
“Rooted in folk and blues, but with enough wit, skill and emotion to bridge the roots-pop divide… how the man isn’t packing out arenas will for now remain a mystery.” AmericanaUK
“Glorious songs, stacks of charisma, and a confident, engaging stage presence, and it’s little wonder that he comprehensively wowed an audience most of whom had probably never heard of him.”
Lloyd Walters – Live Review

Tickets £12.50 only in advance from 01305 837299

14 Nov

Dorset SP5 5QX

14/11/2015 To 14/11/2015

10:00 am To 12:00 pm

Pentridge Village Hall

14th November 10-12 noon

Free Entry

Tea and Cake

How does it work?

  • Go through your wardrobes and bring all your good quality clean unwanted clothes (no holes or marks please) to village hall on 12th or 13th November or ring Penny on 07753 747169 if you would like them picked up.  Children and adults clothes please!
  • Come along on 14th November at 10am with your empty bags and have fun filling them with as many clothes as you would like.
  • Make a donation as you leave (suggested donation of £10-£20 per bag).


Charity clothes swaps are based on goodwill and trust –

In aid of Childrens Chance & Pentridge Village Hall

Newly Added Listings

Emporium Christchurch, Avon Works, Bridge Street, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 1DY

Over 150 individual sellers of Antiques, Artwork, Arts and Crafts, Aromatherapy, Gifts, Vintage, Shabby Chic Furniture and Products, Toys, New, Used, Recycled or up-cycled items, Ladies Clothes, Dresses and Handbags, Baby Clothes, Vintage, Handmade, Organics, Musical Instruments, Bunting and Cushions, Beauty & Bathroom Products, Candles, Clocks, Frames and Florists to name but a few

Pier Approach, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5AA

Oceanarium Bournemouth is home to hundreds of awesome creatures!

Waddle amongst playful penguins this Summer at the Oceanarium-

• New for 2015… Penguin Beach Encounter. Fall head over flippers in love with the newest residents and watch these playful personalities from above and below the water as they dip and dive in their new beach retreat! Plus other exciting new features include a jellyfish exhibit, sea view cafe terrace and kids’ play zone.

• Not forgetting the hundreds of other awesome creatures at the Oceanarium. Visitors can take an underwater journey through the waters of the world and come face to face with stunning sharks, rare green sea turtles, graceful stingrays, dwarf crocodiles, colourful clownfish and the adorable yet very mischievous Oriental small clawed otter family. Whatever the weather there’s so much to see and explore.

• Watch the water come alive with daily feeding presentations, and during the school holidays get up close in meet the creature sessions. Tickets are valid all day so you can enjoy them all!

The Oceanarium is open everyday (except Christmas Day)

Visit our website for ticket prices

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.