Dorset is one of the highlights of England’s south coast, boasting varying attractions that make this county an attractive holiday destination for families and couples.
Dorset holidays encompass the quintessential British seaside trips that are such a significant aspect of U.K. summer tradition, yet the region still captures its own unique characteristics and cultures. Charming and historic coastal towns and villages, a bustling water sports scene and a coastline of immense geological and paleontological significance – holidays to Dorset are among the most diverse in the country.
You’ll find action and adventure in resort towns like Bournemouth, Weymouth and Poole, charismatic local atmosphere in destinations like Corfe, Wimborne Minster and Swanage and awe-inspiring landscapes along the Jurassic Coast. Dorset has something to offer every visitor.
Jurassic Wonders and Charming Towns
If there is one highlight that will complete all holidays in Dorset, it is paying a visit to the expansive and remarkable Jurassic Coast. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a natural wonder, holding the answers to many secrets of our prehistoric world. The coast has some fantastic walking trails as well as various information centres that can shed further light on the geological structure of the coast. Lyme Regis is a great base to explore the coast, with the Lyme Regis Museum offering fossil hunts along the beaches and bays.
For a little flavour of that British seaside holiday, there are numerous resort towns that can provide you with a view of the sea and a taste of summer. Bournemouth boasts a vibrant nightlife, a beautiful sandy beach and various fun activities for families like crazy golf and water sports. The town is home to some top 5-star hotels to keep you comfortable during your stay. Weymouth is another great destination for Dorset holidays, decorated with colourful houses, a pretty beach and close access to the J Coast, as well as proudly hosting the water-based events at the 2012 Olympic Games, so expect a fantastic water sports scene.
Quintessential Seaside Holiday
Dorset does seem to retain a pleasant family appeal, and many choose to descend on the county during the summer months enjoyed between June and September.
While the likes of Bournemouth and Poole are often frequented for their great beaches and seaside vibe, families will find just as much charm, and fewer crowds, in some lesser known beach areas. Burton Bradstock is a great National Trust location that boasts an attractive beach, picturesque walking trails and Dorset’s best seafood restaurant. Nearby West Bay is another attractive town which is home to a historic harbour and some accomplished fish and chip stands.
Holidays to Dorset don’t always have to be about the coast – there are many more family-friendly attractions that don’t require you to get your swimming gear on. Wareham is home to the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre which promotes the assisting of worldwide governments in preventing the illegal smuggling of primates. The centre is home to various monkeys which you can learn about first-hand in an educational environment. Another worthwhile visit, albeit sea-orientated, is the Sea Life Adventure Park in Weymouth. Get up close and personal with crazy creatures of the sea, hop on the rides or have a round or two of mini-golf.
Out and About in Dorset
If you’d like your holidays in Dorset to possess a historical vibe, Christchurch presents just that with its range of beautiful ancient buildings sat along the river and borders along the New Forest National Park. The county’s capital, Dorchester, was developed by the Romans in the year 43 and its winding side streets are teemed with charming little boutiques, cafes and small galleries, as well as some interesting museums, including the Dinosaur Museum.
The market town of Bridport is another lovely destination to spend an afternoon exploring. Bridport was recently voted in the top three market towns in the UK, and has some great seafood stalls serving delicious fare to tuck into as well as some quaint cafes and restaurants.
If you find yourself in Poole during your trip to Dorset, you have to pay a visit to the National Trust site, Brownsea Island. The island is famed for its population of red squirrels and as the birthplace of the Scouts. You can reach the island by boat from Poole’s quay.