Are you ready to explore the stunning coastline and picturesque countryside of Dorset? Look no further than our list of the top 11 best places to visit in this charming county. From historical landmarks to breathtaking natural wonders, there’s something for everyone on this must-see itinerary. So pack your bags, grab a map, and get ready for an adventure through some of England’s most beautiful landscapes.
Top 11 Best Places to Visit in Dorset – A Bucket List of Must-See Attractions
1. Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle is a historic ruin of a castle that dates back to the 11th century, located in the picturesque village of Corfe. The castle was once the seat of power for the Earls of Cornwall and played an important role in the civil war between King Stephen and Matilda. Today, Corfe Castle is managed by English Heritage and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dorset. Visitors can explore the ruins of the castle, as well as the surrounding village.
2. West Dorset Heritage Coast
The West Dorset Heritage Coast is a stunning stretch of coastline in Dorset, known for its rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and scenic views. The coastline stretches from Weymouth to Lyme Regis and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK.
The West Dorset Heritage Coast is a great place to enjoy a variety of activities, including walking, swimming, fishing, and birdwatching. There are also several historical sites along the coast that are worth visiting.
If you are looking for a breathtaking place to spend a day or two, then the West Dorset Heritage Coast is definitely worth considering.
3. Abbotsbury Castle
Abbotsbury Castle is an Iron Age hillfort located in Abbotsbury, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The hillfort is thought to have been constructed in the late Iron Age, around the 1st century BC. It is one of a number of hillforts in the area, including Maiden Castle and Hod Hill. The castle was occupied until the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century AD. After the Romans left Britain, the castle was abandoned and fell into ruin.
The site of the castle is now owned by English Heritage and is open to the public. Visitors can explore the remains of the hillfort and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from its summit.
4. Sherborne Castle & Gardens
Sherborne Castle & Gardens is a magnificent country house with beautiful gardens and a rich history located in the town of Sherborne. The castle dated back to the 12th century and was once home to the Bishop of Salisbury. Today, it is open to the public as a museum and visitor attraction. The gardens are also open to the public and feature a variety of beautiful plants and flowers.
5. Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Dorset, and it’s easy to see why. The cover is absolutely stunning, with its horseshoe shape and crystal clear waters. It’s surrounded by cliffs and picturesque countryside, making it the perfect place to relax and take in the natural beauty of this part of England. There are plenty of things to do in and around Lulworth Cove, so you’ll never be bored. Whether you want to go for a swim, explore the nearby coastline, or just sit back and enjoy the view, Lulworth Cove is the perfect place for a day out.
6. Fossil Forest
If you’re looking to get a taste of what life was like, during the Jurassic period, a visit to the Fossil Forest in Dorset is a must. This ancient forest has been perfectly preserved in the rocks of the Jurassic Coast, offering visitors a unique glimpse into prehistoric times.
The Fossil Forest is home to a variety of plants and animals that lived during the Jurassic period, including trees, ferns, and even dinosaurs. Visitors can explore the forest through a series of walking trails or take part in one of the many guided tours offered by the park.
Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique experience, the Fossil Forest is sure to impress.
7. Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens are one of the top places to visit in Dorset. The gardens are located in Abbotsbury and are home to exotic plants from all over the world. Visitors can explore the different gardens, which include a Mediterranean Garden, an Oriental Garden, and a South African Garden. There is also a café on-site, where visitors can relax and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.
8. Kimmeridge Bay
Kimmeridge Bay is a stunning stretch of coastline in Dorset, known for its fossil-rich rocks, clear waters, and picturesque scenery. The bay is situated on the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site that spans 95 miles of coastline from Devon to Dorset. Kimmeridge Bay is a popular spot for both tourists and locals alike, as it offers something for everyone. The clear waters are perfect for swimming, kayaking, and Stand Up Paddleboarding, while the rocks offer a unique opportunity to see fossils up close. The bay is also home to the Kimmeridge Oil Field, which has been producing oil since 1959.
9. Stair Hole
The Stair Hole is a natural rock formation on the Jurassic Coast, located near Lulworth Cove. It has been shaped by the power of the sea over many years and is now a popular spot for tourists to visit. The best time to see the Stair Hole is at high tide when the waves are crashing against the rocks.
10. Durdle Door
Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch that is an iconic landmark of Dorset’s Jurassic Coastline. The arch is situated on the cliffs between Weymouth and Swanage, with stunning views of the sea. The word “durable” comes from the Old English word for “doorway”. The door itself is thought to have been formed over millions of years by the erosion of the cliff face by wind and waves.
The arch is a popular spot for walkers, climbers and picnickers, and there are several easy walking trails leading to it from the nearby car park. There are also a number of boat tours available from Weymouth and Swanage that offer great views of the doorway from the sea.
11. Sherborne Abbey
Sherborne Abbey is a stunning medieval abbey located in the historic town of Sherborne. The abbey has beautiful architecture and a rich history. It was founded in 705 AD by St Aldhelm, the first Bishop of Sherborne. The abbey was rebuilt in the 11th century and again in the 15th century. It is home to the tomb of Sir Walter Raleigh, who was buried here in 1618. The abbey is also home to a number of important historical artefacts, including the 12th-century Magna Carta and the 14th-century Sherborne Missal.
With its stunning landscapes, fascinating history, and numerous attractions, it’s no wonder why Dorset is one of the most popular places to visit in England. With so many breathtaking sites and activities to choose from, planning a trip here can be overwhelming. However, by taking our top 11 best places to visit in Dorset into consideration, you can make sure that your time here will be both enjoyable and unforgettable! From beautiful beaches at Studland Bay to thrilling adventures at Lulworth Cove – wherever you venture during your stay in Dorset, you are sure to experience something truly special!
FAQS on best places to visit in Dorset
1. What are the best parts of Bristol?
Bristol has many great neighbourhoods and areas to explore, but some of the best parts of the city include Clifton Village, Stokes Croft, the Harbourside, and the historic Old City.
2. What is the most famous thing in Bristol?
Bristol is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of the iconic engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and for its connection to the slave trade through the nearby port of Bristol. Another famous landmark in Bristol is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Brunel.
3. Is Bristol UK worth visiting?
Yes, Bristol is definitely worth visiting! It has a rich history, a vibrant cultural scene, and many great attractions, including museums, galleries, parks, and historical landmarks. It is also a great destination for foodies, with a diverse range of restaurants and cafes to explore.
4. What is popular in Bristol?
Some of the most popular attractions in Bristol include the SS Great Britain, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol Zoo Gardens, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the Banksy street art tour. The city is also known for its live music scene, street festivals, and outdoor markets.