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Your guide to Dorset

Dorset at a glance:

  • 100 miles of beautiful coastline
  • Breath-taking views at every turn
  • Snug towns and cosy villages
  • An area of outstanding natural beauty
  • Diverse farmers’ markets with abundant fresh produce
  • Ancient castles and sites with incredible history 

Your guide to Dorset

With a mild climate, endless stretches of sand and miles of rolling countryside, Dorset is a beautiful destination for a hotel break.

This picturesque county has something for every age and taste, with a host of stunning walks, fascinating attractions, quaint towns and tempting eateries to explore.

Dorset is a county which brings together rolling countryside, breath-taking coastline, historic landmarks and exciting events. A friendly welcome awaits at your Bay Hotel, the ideal base to explore the very best of this eclectic destination, which attracts millions of loyal visitors each year.


Dorset’s stunning scenery has featured in many well-known films and television productions, including the much-loved crime drama ‘Broadchurch’. This beautiful landscape has inspired and captivated many creative over the years and the outstanding beauty now attracts holidaymakers looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Dorset is a haven for relaxation and there are plenty of ways to explore its natural beauty, with an abundance of walking and cycling paths to choose from. For a less exhausting way to explore on two wheels, hire an electric bike and take a gentle ride through the area’s many parks and nature reserves, soaking up the breath-taking natural beauty and magnificent views as you go.

With more than 100 miles of breath-taking coastline, Dorset’s beaches are popular with visitors of all ages. Each beach location has its own character and charm, from sweeping sands and crystal clear waters to secluded coves and iconic cliffs. Stroll along the sands at Poole or Bournemouth and take in the traditional seaside vibe with donkey rides, Punch & Judy shows and delicious ice cream that provide a large helping of quintessentially British nostalgia.

The county’s stunning coastline looks even more beautiful from the water, whether you take a tranquil cruise along the shore via a passenger boat or an adrenaline-packed blast on a specially adapted RIB that gives you a whistle-stop six-mile tour in just 15 minutes.

Dorset’s huge number and sheer variety of attractions will satiate even the most ravenous appetite when it comes to entertainment. From country houses, castles, ancient forts and museums to local markets, antiques shops, arts and a vibrant nightlife, there’s something for everyone. Take a trip back to 1086 at dramatic Corfe Castle or explore Portland Castle, one of Henry VIII's finest coastal forts. Discover Thomas Hardy’s small thatched cottage at Higher Bockhampton and wander through his Victorian house in Dorchester, where he wrote his much-loved novel ‘Tess of the D'Urbervilles’. Dorset is brimming with culture, history and charm, and with a Bay hotel as your base, you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful holiday in this delightful location.

 
 

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Local Attractions

Highcliffe Castle

A grade 1 listed fairy tale castle, Highcliffe is worth a visit for its marvellously crafted exterior alone, which is simply stunning. Guides will take you on a one-hour behind the scenes tour that brings the castle to life by taking you back through the history of the building and its various residents. Highcliffe’s pretty grounds are perfect for a stroll and a picnic in the sunshine, while the tearooms offer a selection of delicious homemade cakes and tasty drinks to round off the perfect day out.

Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve

This wonderful nature reserve spans 280 acres and incorporates a mosaic of woodland, hedgerows, hay meadows and coastline. Riddled with walking trails that offer dramatic views, the Reserve provides a delightful day out at any time of the year. The Victorian Castle has benefited from a sterling renovation and hosts a range of fascinating exhibitions and art. Choose a souvenir from the gift shop or enjoy a tasty snack at the Seventh Wave Café and Restaurant where fresh local produce is always on the menu.

Cycling

Enjoy a peaceful bike ride through tranquil countryside and take in the beauty of the rolling hills and picturesque woodland. The bike hire centre at Norden offers modern bikes with a free helmet to hire (for part of a day or full day), from April through to October. Parking is available on the site.

Monkey World

This fascinating 65-acre park has won numerous awards and offers guests a fascinating day of fun at a unique location. The park is a home for rescued and endangered primates from across the globe and the passionate keepers offer an insight into the daily life of its inhabitants. Pre-book a special tour for a more in-depth look into these beautiful creatures’ lives, from their difficult past to their arrival at Monkey World.

Dorset County Museum

The museum takes its guests on a fascinating trip through time, from the age when dinosaurs roamed the land, long before Dorset existed, to the ancient Romans and their intricate mosaic floors. The museum’s Victorian Hall has excellent acoustics and hosts musical events and lectures throughout the year.

Location & Map

Hotels in this region


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