Stay in Dorset

Dorset, on the South West coast, has its world renowned heritage coastline, many historic market towns and rural hideaway villages, with over half of Dorset being designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Dorset coastal regions offer an unrivalled variation, from the great shingle curve of Chesil Beach to the lively seaside town and stunning beaches of Bournemouth and the natural harbour at Poole.

Chesil Beach, image: South West Tourism

The cliffs around Charmouth are world famous for collecting fossils, many dating back more than 190 million years, but nobody really knows the age of the mysterious 180 foot chalk giant carved into the hillside at Cerne Abbas. From historic market towns such as the County town of Dorchester, to seaside fun, dramatic cliffs and sweeping beaches, Dorset has a lot to offer.

Three quarters of the Dorset coast is a World Heritage site – just walking the coast path you can find astonishing coastal features like Chesil Beach, the Isle of Portland, Lulworth Cove and the Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch. If you are after beaches, then the south Dorset coast offers warm waters for bathing and plenty of sandy beaches – Weymouth, Studland and Bournemouth are all notable for having miles of superb sandy beaches.

Inland from the coast, Dorset has some of the most beautiful rolling countryside and pretty villages with “chocolate box” thatched cottages. Dorset is well known as being the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, with many of his novels being set in Dorset and based on Dorset towns and villages.


Bournemouth has 7 miles of golden sandy beaches to enjoy, plenty of entertainment, the pier, attractions and events. Bournemouth is well served by rail links from London, which when they were first introduced in Victorian times led to the popularisation of Bournemouth as a holiday resort. Not too far from Bournemouth is Poole to west, with one of the largest natural harbours in the world, and the beautiful town of Christchurch, leading east to the New Forest.

Poole Harbour, image: South West Tourism


Durdle Door, image: VisitBritain

Dorchester is the County Town of Dorset. This historic market town is situated in the heart of some of the most beautiful English countryside, with the Dorset Downs just to the north and the coastal areas of Weymouth and Portland to the south. Thomas Hardy is probably Dorchester’s most famous historical resident, with his novel The Major of Casterbridge being based on Dorchester. Just on the edge of Dorchester is Maiden Castle, an enormous Iron Age hill fort, and the surrounding area has much evidence from Roman times including the Dorchester Town walls.


Weymouth offers miles of beach, a fishing harbour and attractions and entertainments that you would expect from a classic English holiday resort. Situated on the Jurassic coast, Weymouth became very popular in Victorian times as a holiday resort, with many seafront hotels and guesthouses being of classic Victorian architecture. The working harbour still has an active fishing fleet, with many of the local restaurants serving up the daily catches. From Weymouth, Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland are only a short distance away.

Weymouth, image: South West Tourism

For your stay in Dorset, you may want a hotel, guest house, bed and breakfast, hostel, camp site, spa resort, self catering cottage or a holiday park – simply select your chosen accommodation to view more details.

There are many exciting events happening in Dorset through the year and Dorset offers several world class visitor attractions not to be missed.