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

Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7ND

Knoll Gardens, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 7ND

Gardens and Nursery Opening Times:
Opening for 2015 on February 3rd
Tuesday – Saturday – 10.00am – 5.00pm (4.00pm November – March)
Last entry to garden 30 mins before closing.
Closed Sun and Mon, except Bank Holiday Mondays.
Closed from December 18th 2015, re-opening February 2nd 2016
(In periods of adverse weather the garden may be closed for safety reasons)

Admission to Gardens (free entry to Nursery):
Child (age 5- 15)…£4.50
Disabled Person + Helper…£1.00 off for each appropriate category
Group Rate (minimum 12 people)…£5.00pp. £9.00 to include guided tour.
Personal tours by Garden owner, Neil Lucas also available.
Season ticket…£20.00
Pre-booked coach parties welcome.


  • Self service drinks
  • Toilets
  • Free car parking
  • Guide/hearing dogs
  • Picnics in car park
  • Garden accessible to those in a wheelchair with an able bodied helper.

Knoll Gardens in Dorset is just under four miles east of Wimborne off the A31, and less than nine miles north of Bournemouth and Poole via the A348. Follow the brown direction signs from all major routes.

36 St Thomas Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8EH

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

The Ark, Poole Park, Poole, Dorset BH15 2SF

The Ark Poole Park in Dorset, UK is an all-weather family fun day out!

There are three levels of soft play with slides, tunnels and interactive zones (up to 11 years old) plus a dedicated soft play area for toddlers.

There is also an indoor ice rink for all ages and abilities.

The Ark in Poole Park has a spacious cafe with an outdoor terrace overlooking Swan Lake. It also has an ice cream parlour for cones, sundaes and more.

There is plenty of free car parking in Poole Park and at The Ark.

Disabled parking is available directly outside The Ark.

Featured EventsView All

06 Dec

Westbourne, Dorset BH4

06/12/2014 To 06/12/2014

9:00 am To 5:00 pm

Saturday 6th December is the date set for the ever popular Westbourne Christmas Festival and lights switch on. There is a buzz in the air as shops and businesses prepare for the big day and of course the arrival of Santa who will be in the Westbourne Arcade.

Visitors will discover a festive atmosphere in Westbourne on the day with a packed programme of entertainment arranged. Acts will be performing at different locations around Westbourne including in the historic Victorian arcade and outside the So Furniture store. At the main stage outside Marks & Spencer’s there will be a wide mix of acts performing to entertain shoppers from 10am until 4.30pm with fun and goodies from Jack FM.

Performers will include The Jimmy Hill Billies, Bournemouth University Big Band, The Ageas Retail Choir, SBLAS Performing Arts School, Swing Unlimited Community Band, Buckholme Towers School Choir and more. There will also be dancing by Westbourne based dance school, Salsa Explosion.

The Christmas lights switch on will be around 4.15 pm by local celebrity Mungo Jerry who will of course be performing to the crowd too.

03 Mar

Rex Cinema, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4JX

03/03/2015 To 07/03/2015

7:30 pm To

The Rex Players present their variety show “Pack Up Your Troubles” at the Rex Cinema, Wareham, Dorset from 3rd – 7th March 2015 at 7.30pm.

Full of fun, laughter, drama, musicality and frivolity all in aid of local charities.

Tickets on sale at the Discover Purbeck Information Centre 01929 552740 from 7th January 2015.

29 Nov

The Old Workshops, Brewers Quay, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8TR

29/11/2014 To 29/11/2014

11:00 am To 4:00 pm

Mrs Darlings Christmas Market: A selection of seasonal stalls selling delicious treats from local suppliers & unique creative items & gifts, all made by Dorset designers and craftsmen. Entertainment, fresh cakes, hot drinks, mulled wine, mince pies and so much more.

Plus the fabulous creative businesses that are permanently found in The Old Work Shops all tucked behind Brewers Quay, Weymouth, Dorset.

Open from 11am until 4pm on Saturday 29th November.

There’s a pay & display car park opposite and blue badge holders can park on near by roads.