With its rugged Jurassic Coast, vibrant wildlife and exceptional culinary scene, Dorset proves that you don’t have to travel overseas to experience a world which is so different from your everyday. From the emerald shores of Cornwall to the city streets of London town, more and more people are looking to explore the secrets of their home country, and there is no more perfect destination than Dorset to discover Britain in all its glory. If you are looking for a staycation in this southwestern jewel, but you are not sure how you would spend your time, then look no further than this list of the top seven things to do in Dorset. From the nation-famous Monkey World to the rainbow-kissed Art and Vintage Quarter, Dorset certainly won’t disappoint:
1. Photograph Durdle Door
While the entirety of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is undeniably striking, there is no more recognised scene than the limestone formation known as Durdle Door, which arches into the English Channel from the sands of the Lulworth Estate. Durdle Door is perhaps the most photographed icon on the Jurassic Coast, and you may recognise this landmark from scenes from Hollywood films to music videos, with recent fans including Stephen Fry and Billy Eilish. This star-studded admiration is unsurprising, however, when you consider the outstanding natural beauty of this 140 million-year-old landmark. Whatever you do while in Dorset, be sure not to leave the county without catching at least a glimpse of this national treasure.
2. Explore Corfe Castle
The thousand-year-old Norman fortress known as Corfe Castle is an unmissable stop for any history-buff who is holidaying in the Purbeck peninsula of Dorset. This crumbling structure has towered above the beryl shores of the Jurassic Coast for over a thousand years and has captivated all who gaze upon its magnificent walls, including King Henry I, for whom the fortresses was initially built. Today, the National Trust has preserved the castle for all who want to visit, and have added a tea-room, where you can refuel on cream tea before continuing on your exploration.
3. Windsurf at Poole Harbour
With a whole host of activities to keep you entertained inland, it is easy to forget that Dorset is, above all, a seaside destination! Among the county’s most popular water-sport hotspots is Poole Harbour, which is Europe’s largest natural harbour, and is home to one of the country’s biggest windsurfing scenes. Among Poole Harbour’s most reputable windsurfing companies is The Watersports Academy, who loans equipment and offers lessons for travellers of all abilities, whether you are an experienced surfer or a complete water-sport novice.
4. Visit Monkey World
Nestled among the trees near the picturesque village of Wool, you find the famous Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre. Since gaining mass attention after appearing on 12 series’s of Monkey Life, Monkey World has earned a reputation as one of the most recognised wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and is, therefore, unmissable from this list of the top things to do while in Dorset. When you visit Monkey World, you not only have the chance to come face-to-face with rare species of chimpanzee’s, but you are also supporting the rescue of primates from countries across the world, so there really is no reason not to love this renowned attraction.
5. Shop at Bridport Vintage Market
If you are looking for a piece of Dorset which is separate from the crowds, then look no further than Dorset’s hidden jewel, Bridport Vintage Market. This vintage haven is a utopia for shoppers and antique lovers alike, who flock to the market to take home some of the rarest retro and vintage clothing, furniture and fine art pieces in the county. Whether you are a lover of vintage fashion, or you want to find a unique souvenir from your holiday, you will find what you are looking for, and more, in the treasure trove of Bridport.
6. Sample some local produce in one of Dorset’s Michelin Star Restaurants
There is no more refined way to enjoy the epitome of this southern English coastline than by indulging on dishes of the local produce from one of the county’s prestigious Michelin Star eateries. Among the most acclaimed of these restaurants is Fontmell, which serves up experimental twists on traditional British cuisine in the nostalgic village of Fontmell Magna. Additionally, the White Post on the Dorset and Somerset border serves up the very best of Dorset’s produce while offering views across this official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
7. Sail around Old Harry’s Rocks
Just over half an hour away from Durdle Door, the equally impressive splendour of Old Harry’s Rocks also captivate all who set eyes on this natural landmark. Visitors can bathe in views of the three chalk formations by walking along the paths of this eastern coastline, or you can choose to admire Old Harry’s Rocks on a boat trip by City Cruises Poole. City Cruises also offer an evening service, where, with a little bit of luck, you can catch the sunset over Old Harry. Whatever time you visit, however, this UNESCO World Heritage Site will make you fall in love with this beautiful county, over and over again.
Dorset is a recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a majority of its landmarks are based outside, but that doesn’t mean that you can only enjoy the best of this southern English paradise in the spring and summer months. You can, in fact, always discover something unique to see and do, whenever you decide to visit, so keep checking back for our current recommendations, which will change with the seasons and ensure you are kept up to date with the best of what Dorset has to offer.
Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park:
Be sure to leave an afternoon free for Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park if you are visiting Dorset with a young family. This Poole-based farm park is a hit with young visitors between the ages of 0-8, who come face to face with traditional farm and pet animals, including alpacas, goats and deer. There is also a farm barn play area, where the little one’s can let off some steam, while older visitors recharge with a coffee and homemade cake in the hen house cafe.
In the current climate, booking ahead is essential. Call Farmer Palmer’s on 01202 622022 or drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Watersports Academy:
We also recommend immersing yourself in Poole Harbour’s windsurfing scene, now that the summer crowds have left, but before the water gets too chilly in the mid-winter months. Among the most highly rated surfing schools is The Watersports Academy, where you can rent equipment or take lessons from the professionals.
Contact The Watersports Academy on:01202 708283 or email: email@example.com.