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.




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

Bar 1 Weymouth is a 1990s, karaoke and disco bar in Weymouth, Dorset, UK.

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, email:j.c.howorth@dorsetcc.gov.uk).

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

25 Oct

Studland Beach, Swanage, Dorset

25/10/2014 To 02/11/2014

10:30 am To 3:30 pm

Follow the half term Halloween Trail at Studland Beach in Swanage, Dorset, UK.

Follow the clues left by the creatures of the night to claim a prize.

Drop in at the Discovery Centre at Studland Beach for some free seasonal crafts for children throughout the week.

28 Feb

Portland, Dorset

28/02/2015 To 28/02/2015

To

Tuff-Enuff Portland Breakout 2015 is an endurance obstacle course race on the Isle of Portland in Dorset in the heart of the Jurassic Coast.

This is not an event for the faint hearted!

You have two route options: “Rock Hard”, a gruelling endeavour over approximately 5km; and “Hard Core”, a punishing trial over approximately 12km. There will be more than 30 obstacles and a hostile terrain.

The race entry fee includes an exclusive “Breakout” T-Shirt, a timing chip and free camping plus a medal for those who complete the course.

There is free entry for spectators as well as music, food vendors, trade stands and more.

29 Oct

Upton Country Park, Poole, Dorset BH17 7BJ

29/10/2014 To 29/10/2014

To

This half term, make a wildlife trick or treat bag such as a spooky bat or a spider to celebrate Halloween.

Bring a large cereal box with you.

10.30am – 12 noon and 1pm – 2.30pm.