DorsetDorset is a county on the south coast of England, in the West Country.
Towns and villages
- Dorchester – county town
- Lyme Regis
- Weymouth – the beach town which hosted the Olympic sailing in 2012 is on the doorstep of the Jurassic Coast
- – famed for its 'chained library'
Dorset has notable lesbian and gay activity in Bournemouth and Weymouth. Other towns have small but developing gay communities. Bournemouth has an annual Pride event.
- River Cottage — Beginning in 1999, television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall became a "Dorset downsizer", leaving the big city and aiming to become self-sufficient by growing his own vegetables and raising his own animals. Through watching him buy, sell, barter, and scavenge in suburban and rural locations all across Dorset, the series give insight into Dorset's easy-going alternative culture and economy.
By planeThe only major airport in Dorset is (BOH), which provides flights to many cities in Europe.
As does Southampton Airport (SOU), to the east and Exeter Airport (EXT), to the west. Bristol Airport (BRS), to the north, has a wider selection, including New York.
London's Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) airports are both approximately 100 miles to the north-east of Bournemouth.
By trainDorchester, Poole, Bournemouth, Weymouth and on a separate line Sherborne and Gillingham are connected directly to London, approximately 2 hours. Dorchester, Weymouth and Sherborne are connected to Bristol and Bath, about 1½ hours away.
By carThe A303 is the main route from London into the north of the county (and has Stonehenge half-way). The south of the county is connected to London by the M3 and M27, and to the Channel Tunnel by the M27 and A27. Both routes carry on into Devon and Cornwall. The A36 and A37 connect to Bath and Bristol.
The A35 between Dorchester and Bridport has spectacular views over the local countryside, as too does the coastal road (B3157) between Weymouth and Bridport. Both are probably most dramatic at sunset (driving towards Bridport) but are amazing at any time.
By boatThere are ferries from Jersey, Guernsey, Cherbourg, France, to Poole and Weymouth run by Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries.
By busMuch of Dorset is very rural, and though there are many bus routes, many do not have regular and often services, or may only run on market and pension days. The biggest bus company is called Wilts & Dorset which runs services to most of the major towns. Their main office is at Poole Bus Station, with satellite offices in some of the larger towns.
- Shaftesbury - charming town in north Dorset
- Corfe Castle ruined Norman castle in village of the same name.
- Jurassic Coast The of Dorset and East Devon, a World Heritage site
- Poole Harbour - the second largest natural harbour in the world (second only to Sydney), and the largest in Europe
- Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Poole - A National Trust site, famous for its large population of red squirrels, and as the birthplace of the Scout Movement
- Cerne Abbas Giant, a giant figure carved into the side of a hill by removing turf to expose white chalk.
- The Isle of Portland and Portland Bill
- Wimborne Minster - a big church in a small town
- Studland Beach, near Swanage
- Bovington Tank Museum a very interesting tank museum.
- Swanage Steam Railway Swanage
- Abbotsbury Swannery - see the cygnets hatching from mid May to late June.
- Maiden Castle - the largest and most complex Iron Age hillfort in Britain
- The Great Dorset Steam Fair near Blandford Forum - 600 acres of steam engines attended by over 200,000 visitors for a week in August/September each year. During the fair, the camping site becomes the largest community in the county!
- From Page to Screen - the UK's only festival celebrating the adaptation of books to film. Annual in April.
- Melplash Agricultural Show - originated as a ploughing competition in Melplash, the show has since grown into a much wider celebration of rural industry and culture. Held in West Bay, Bridport.
- Bridport Food Festival - incorporating the Bridport Beer Festival. Annual in June.
Some of the best local food comes from tea shops, cafes, fish and chip shops and pubs, Not all pubs serve food all of the time and the quality varies considerably.
If you prefer international or exotic flavours the towns of Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth will provide you with a good choice.
Other local beers often found in Dorset pubs come from Ringwood Brewery, Fullers, Marstons and Morland along with the well known international lagers.
It is possible to find locally made cider and scrumpy in some of the rural areas.
There is a vineyard at Horton north of Wimborne, but wine production in the county is low volume at best.
Helpful HolidaysA family business with over 600 high quality, inspected holiday cottages in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.
Classic CottagesEstablished in 1977, with over 750 handpicked and personally inspected holiday cottages throughout Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.
phone: +44 1929 553443address: 8 East St, Corfe Castle, Dorset. BH20 5EDHoliday cottage letting and management agency covering all of Dorset