Guide to Dorset
We are very lucky to live and work in such a lovely county! Our office is in the Victorian town of Swanage which is a popular family destination with award winning soft sandy beaches, beautiful surrounding countryside and well-known for being the gateway to the Jurassic Coast, England’s first world heritage site. The Area also has many miles of footpaths and bridleways making it popular with walkers and cyclists.
Originally a fishing village, the town prospered during the Victorian era with Purbeck Stone being quarried and supplied to towns and cities throughout the UK. When transporting the stone to London by boat, a local business man George Burt used unwanted stone columns and building frontages of Old London as ballast on the return voyages. Many of these can be seen in the town today, like the Wellington Clock Tower situated near the Lifeboat Station.
The population of Swanage is over 11.500 people, but this doubles in the summer months. Swanage is said to have its own weather and usually enjoys mild temperatures all year round.
About Harmans Cross
A village between Swanage and Corfe Castle, Harmans Cross is located on the A351 and has a railway station on the Swanage railway line that connects Swanage and Norden. Harmans Cross is a good place to base yourself to enjoy the surrounding countryside whether that be by foot, pedal bike, horse or a combination of all three, you will love the adventure. Not far from Harmans Cross is Corfe Castle, which can be reached via the railway. Here you can explore the ruins of the castle that date back to the 10th century, have a look at the model village or enjoy the local cafes and restaurants.
About Worth Matravers
Worth Matravers is a beautiful village situated west of Swanage with fantastic sea views out towards the cliffs. There is a lovely selection of limestone cottages and farmhouses dotted around the village.
During World War Two, the cliffs were the site of a Chain Home radar station and was instrumental in radar development. Worth Matravers is perfect for relaxation and escaping from the hustle and bustle of the modern lifestyle. In the centre of the village there is a duck pond, a Norman Chapel also resides in the village which is dedicated to St Aldhelm who was the bishop of Sherborne. There is a lovely country pub in Worth Matravers called the Square and Compass, which is very popular among visitors and offers a selection of food and drink. For something lighter there is also Worth Matravers Tea and Supper rooms, which offer a selection of teas, coffees and cakes, in the evening they offer delicious meals but booking is a must!
About Langton Matravers
Langton Matravers is a village situated west of Swanage, and was the home of Durnford preparatory school where Ian Fleming was educated. The village is home to a museum on quarrying, an integral part to the development of the village. There is also a parish church in the village dedicated to Saint George. Additionally, there is a local shop and field research centre that is housed in a grade two listed building in the village. In the Village why not visit the quaint local pub and enjoy the atmosphere and food after a day wandering along the south-west coastal path.
Studland is a beautiful Domesday village nestled between 4km of golden sands managed by the National Trust on one side and spectacular heathland on the other. Great connections across the chain ferry take you to Bournemouth and Poole and in the other direction, it's a short road trip to Corfe Castle and Swanage. Studland is at the start and end of the 630 mile South West Coast Path and the Jurassic Coast.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Beaminster is truly one of Dorset’s hidden gems. Nestled in the valley between Bridport and Crewkerne, Beaminster is a great place for that “get away from it all” holiday. With great walks along the river and surrounding countryside, over 200 hundred listed buildings and some fascinating visitor attractions; you’ll always have something to do or somewhere to go to unwind.
Arne is ideal if you enjoy beautiful scenery, the great outdoors, and love wildlife spotting. Located on the Arne Peninsula the village of Arne is a beautiful place to base your holiday, or visit if you are staying nearby. It has views over Poole Harbour, and boasts four nature reserves close by to the village. It’s also part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The town is ideally situated for you to explore Purbeck, and is known by the locals as the Gateway to Purbeck. The town has gained this name, due to several walking and cycling routes starting in the town, which then begin their journey south towards Swanage. Wareham Town Museum is a popular attraction in the town. The museum details the journey of Wareham from its prehistoric times, right up until today. Nearby you will also be able to enjoy Monkey World, which is always a favourite with the kids. It is an ape rescue centre set up to help raise money to stop the smuggling of primates.
About Weymouth and Portland
The whole world watched as the British Sailing team won more medals than any other at the 2012 Olympics. That it did so on home water made it all the more memorable – and for Dorset, it was even more special as the sailing regattas were held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Weymouth is every inch the modern tourist resort, with a wide and shallow sandy beach that in the summer is home to donkey rides, Punch and Judy, sand sculpture and world class local ice cream, not to mention beach sports from motocross to international handball and volleyball, as well as an annual kite festival.
About Lyme Regis and West Dorset
Famously dubbed the ‘Broadchurch Riviera’ in the wake of the hit TV whodunnit that starred David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, Bridport has welcomed the influx of metropolitan visitors with the same easy-going bonhomie that has long characterised the area. A bustling market town with a plethora of independent shops, several proactive arts venues, a wealth of highly regarded local food producers, well-established agricultural shows and the internationally noted annual hat festival, it’s easy to see why so many urbanites fall in love with Bridport’s near-perfect amalgam of all that’s great about Dorset’s towns, countryside and coastline.
Although the land around Dorset’s county town has been settled since prehistory, modern Dorchester traces its roots back to the garrison established there after Roman invaders defeated the Durotriges tribe that lived at Maiden Castle, the large Iron Age hill fort to the southwest. Durnovaria, as the Roman town was known, had an amphitheatre and aqueduct and some remnants of the town walls can still be seen, as can the impressive foundations of a town house in Colliton Park, behind County Hall.
About Lulworth Cove and South Dorset
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 96-mile Jurassic Coast is the equal of the Taj Mahal, Serengeti National Park, Machu Pichu and the Great Barrier Reef. It spans 185 million years of the Earth’s history and encompasses geological wonders, stunning scenery, lost villages, beautiful bathing waters and rich marine and wildlife. Many of the Jurassic Coast’s defining features can be found in its central Dorset section east and west of Lulworth Cove, itself considered one of the best examples of the landform in the world.
About Wimborne Minster
Dedicated to St Cuthburga, sister of the Saxon King Ine, who established an abbey on the site in 705, Wimborne Minster houses the grave of Alfred the Great’s elder brother King Ethelred and was an important religious site long before the conquering Normans remodelled it in the 12th century. As the town grew up around the Minster and the adjacent market it now boasts a nationally significant collection of 15th, 16th and 17th century buildings, including the Priest’s House Museum and town hall.
About North Dorset
Famous as Thomas Hardy’s ‘Vale of the Little Dairies’, the Blackmore Vale is at the heart of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty bounded by the Dorset Downs chalk ridge, the chalk scarp of Cranborne Chase and the watershed of the Stour and Yeo valleys. It is also home to some of Dorset’s most beautiful scenery – more than adequate reward for a clamber to the top of Hambledon Hill, Okeford Hill or Bulbarrow Hill, all of which afford magnificent views.
Check out the local shops, where you can buy wonderfully unique gifts, clothes, souvenirs and more!Check It Out
Entertain the Kids
Wondering how you will manage to entertain the kids on holiday? Here's some of the best places in Dorset for a great day out.Find Out More
Dorset is bursting with activities, places to see and memories to make. Here are our favourite attractions in the area.More Information
Places to Eat
These are the top places in Dorset to grab a bite to eat... delicious!Give It A Try
Culture & Heritage
Find out about the wonderful history of the jurassic county of Dorset.Discover More
There are so many beaches for you to choose from to enjoy a relaxing sunbathe, yummy ice cream or a dip in the sea!Show Me More