things to do in dorset

Last Updated on: 31st January 2024, 06:25 am

In this article, I will share with you some of the best things to do in Dorset, England UK. This charming county, located in the southwest of England, is known for its vibrant culture, stunning coastlines, historic landmarks, and much more. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or a foodie, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Dorset. From the picturesque town of Dorchester to the breathtaking views of the Jurassic Coast, Dorset has an endless list of activities to add to your itinerary.

If you’re planning a trip to England, make sure to add Dorset to your list of destinations. From wandering through quaint villages to hiking along scenic trails, exploring the best things to do in Dorset is an adventure that you won’t want to miss. So, let’s get started!

Explore the Historic Landmarks

Dorset is home to numerous historic landmarks in Dorset, from Dorset castles to historic sites in Dorset. One of the most iconic landmarks is the Corfe Castle, which has stood tall since the 11th century. The castle’s mix of architectural styles, combining Norman and medieval elements, is a testament to its rich history.

historic landmarks in Dorset

The ancient ruins of Maiden Castle, the UK’s largest iron age hillfort, are another must-see landmark. Its sensational size and fantastical engineering showcase the vast engineering feats of the people during that time.

“Visitors can discover the fascinating stories and secrets behind these historic sites. Learn about the battles that took place, the people who lived and worked there, and how they shaped the county’s past.”

Other landmarks, such as Lulworth Castle and Sherborne Abbey, offer their own unique insights. Any of these sites can be appreciated through exploration of the area’s interesting historic past. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the rich cultural heritage of Dorset by visiting these historical sites in Dorset – it’s a perfect way to start your trip of the area.

Take in the Breathtaking Coastal Walks

Dorset is known for its incredible coastal walks, and there’s no better way to take in the stunning scenery than by foot. The coastal walks in Dorset along the Jurassic Coast offer some of the most breathtaking views of the Dorset coastline.

Jurassic Coast

Embark on an adventure and explore the natural beauty of Dorset’s coastline. Choose to stroll along the famous Dorset coastal path or venture off the beaten track to discover hidden coves and beaches. You won’t be disappointed by the incredible views of the cliffs, shoreline, and beyond.

“It was a truly awe-inspiring experience walking along the Jurassic Coast. The views were simply unforgettable!” – Jane, London

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual walker, there’s a coastal walk in Dorset suitable for all levels. Be sure to pack a picnic and take your time to fully appreciate the beauty of this coastal landscape.

Indulge in Culinary Delights

Dorset is a haven for food lovers, offering a diverse range of culinary delights. The county’s rich agricultural heritage and coastal location provide a unique setting for a gastronomical adventure. Dorset cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, local produce, and traditional English pub fare. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a cozy countryside pub, Dorset has something to suit every taste and budget.

For seafood lovers, a visit to the seaside town of West Bay is a must. Enjoy freshly caught fish and chips while taking in the picturesque views of the Jurassic Coast. The Crab House Café is another popular seafood spot, known for its delicious crab dishes and waterfront location.

Those looking for traditional English pub fare can head to The Greyhound Inn in Sydling St. Nicholas. This award-winning pub is renowned for its hearty Sunday roasts and comforting pub classics. If you’re in the mood for something a bit fancier, you won’t want to miss the Michelin-starred restaurant, The Sienna in Dorchester. This elegant eatery offers modern British cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients.

No matter where you go, make sure to sample some of the local specialties, such as Dorset Blue Vinny cheese, Dorset Knob biscuits, and Dorset apple cake.

Explore the vibrant food and drink scene in Dorset and discover why it’s considered one of the UK’s culinary hotspots.

Discover the Natural Beauty

Dorset’s countryside is a sight to behold with its rolling hills, lush green meadows, and impressive landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll through the picture-perfect villages, admire the quaint cottages, and admire the stunning views of the Dorset countryside. If you’re in the mood for adventure, wander through enchanting forests and hidden nature reserves that offer a glimpse of the county’s wildlife and breathtaking surroundings.

One of the most notable and beautiful natural wonders in Dorset is the Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). It spans through the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset, covering nearly 1,000 square kilometres and providing stunning scenery and habitats to explore with your family. You can hike through the lush green landscapes or simply sit and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.

Did you know? The Chalk hills make up a significant portion of the Dorset countryside, giving the area its distinct, white cliffs that are so familiar to locals and visitors alike.

Natural beauty in Dorset

“The Dorset countryside is one of the most serene and beautiful places I have ever visited. It’s amazing to see such a diverse range of wildlife and habitats in one area.” – Jane, a nature enthusiast

Engage in Outdoor Activities

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Dorset has a diverse range of thrilling outdoor activities to offer. Indulge in the breathtaking natural surroundings and try your hand at the exciting outdoor activities available to you.

For adventurous water sports in Dorset, there’s a broad range to choose from, including surfing or paddleboarding along the coast. Experience the thrill of the waves and soak up the invigorating coastal atmosphere.

If you prefer hiking, Dorset is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the UK. With several routes through the countryside, hikers can appreciate the county’s natural beauty from picturesque hilltops and dense forests to stunning clifftop views along the Dorset Coastal Path.

Take a ride on two wheels, and explore the county’s countryside by bike. Mountain bike trails and cycle paths are numerous; challenging courses like Hambledon Hill or the gentler routes of Moors Valley Country Park make it an exceptional adventure for all.

If you are in search of “hiking in Dorset for all ages,” The National Trust’s Brownsea Island is a perfect spot. Visitors can explore the secretive heathland or the island’s woodland and meadows, or revel in a leisurely, post-lunch walks, taking in the excellent views of Purbeck hills.

outdoor activities in Dorset

The natural beauty in and around Dorset forms the ideal background for fun outdoor family activities.

Immerse Yourself in Arts and Culture

As an arts and culture enthusiast, I highly recommend exploring the vibrant scene in Dorset. The county has a rich history and boasts of fascinating museums showcasing local history and art. Immerse yourself in the cultural community and gain an insight into the local lifestyle.

If you are someone who enjoys attending festivals and events, don’t miss out on those Dorset has to offer. Throughout the year, various festivals featuring music, literature and more, take place. One notable festival is the ‘Inside Out Dorset’, providing a creative and inspiring experience in Dorset’s breathtaking landscapes.

One museum to visit is the Dorset County Museum, known for its fantastic collections of fossils, archaeology, and art. The museum highlights the county’s history, from the Bronze Age to the present day. Another one is the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, renowned for its role in the 2019 national TV series ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler.’ Its exhibitions showcase stories of justice, injustice, crime, and punishment over the past 200 years.

Dorset Festivals:

Festival Name Date Description
Bridport Hat Festival Early September Celebrate hats and the world of millinery with hat-themed events around Bridport.
Swanage Folk Festival Early September A lively weekend of concerts, storytelling, dance, and workshops in the picturesque town of Swanage.
Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival Mid-October Features artwork of various genres, live performances, dance acts, and insightful talks by creators.

Dorset’s arts and culture scene is brimming with unique and exciting events and exhibitions. I encourage you to immerse yourself in the local community and discover the captivating history and creativity that the region has to offer.

Experience the Charm of Dorset Villages

There’s nothing quite like the traditional English charm of Dorset’s picturesque villages. Take a leisurely stroll through the pretty streets, admire the quaint cottages, and soak up the peaceful ambiance. Dorset is dotted with these idyllic villages, each one with its own unique character and charm.

“The beauty and charm of Dorset’s villages are a true delight, and provide a glimpse into a world that seems frozen in time.”

Visit local shops and cafes, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals. From the iconic village of Cerne Abbas to the hidden gem of Abbotsbury, each village has its own story to tell. Why not explore the history of the Jurassic Coast from the seaside village of Charmouth, or immerse yourself in the literary legacy of Thomas Hardy in the quaint village of Sturminster Newton?

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family break, the charm of Dorset’s villages is sure to captivate you.

Example of a Table: Top 5 Dorset Villages to Visit

Village Name Attractions Local Specialties
Corfe Castle Corfe Castle, Steam Railway Dorset Cream Teas
Abbotsbury Swannery, Subtropical Gardens Abbotsbury Oysters
Cerne Abbas Giant’s Hill, St. Mary’s Church Cerne Abbas Brewery Ales
Charmouth Beach, Jurassic Coast Fudge
Sturminster Newton Mill, Hardy’s Cottage Apple Cake

Enjoy Family-Friendly Attractions

If you’re traveling to Dorset with your family, there are plenty of activities and attractions that will keep everyone entertained. From theme parks and adventure playgrounds to animal parks and museums, Dorset is an ideal family-friendly destination.

If your children love roller coasters and thrilling rides, be sure to visit one of Dorset’s many theme parks. Adventure Wonderland offers a wide range of rides and attractions, including the popular Wild Thing roller coaster. At the Lemur Landings indoor soft play area, younger children can enjoy climbing, sliding, and bouncing. For the more adventurous family members, Go Ape! Moors Valley offers treetop adventures and zip lines.

Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to one of Dorset’s many animal parks. At the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, you can meet the primates that have been rescued from around the world and learn about conservation efforts. The Dorset Heavy Horse Centre is home to a variety of horses and offers horse-drawn wagon rides around the grounds. At the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, you can discover a range of marine life and get up close to some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures.

If you’re looking for educational experiences, be sure to check out one of the many museums in Dorset. The Tank Museum in Bovington offers a unique opportunity to explore armored vehicles and learn about their history. The Dorset County Museum is home to a wide range of exhibits showcasing the county’s natural and cultural history. Kids will enjoy the interactive exhibits at the Bournemouth Aviation Museum, which features a range of aircraft and aviation-related artifacts.

Make the most of your family time in Dorset by visiting one of the many family-friendly attractions. There’s something for everyone in this charming county, ensuring a fun-filled adventure for all.


Dorset is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, food, or adventure, this charming county has it all. I hope this article has given you some insight into the best things to do in Dorset and has inspired you to plan your perfect visit.

From exploring the historic landmarks to taking in the breathtaking coastal walks and indulging in culinary delights, Dorset offers a wide range of activities for all types of travelers. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and natural beauty of the county and discover all the hidden gems it has to offer.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the charming villages, engage in outdoor activities, and enjoy the family-friendly attractions that Dorset has to offer. Create lasting memories and make the most of your time in this beautiful county. Start planning your trip to Dorset today and experience all that this stunning destination has to offer!


What are some of the best things to do in Dorset, England?

Some of the best things to do in Dorset, England include exploring the historic landmarks, taking in the breathtaking coastal walks, indulging in culinary delights, discovering the natural beauty, engaging in outdoor activities, immersing yourself in arts and culture, experiencing the charm of Dorset villages, and enjoying family-friendly attractions.

What historic landmarks can I visit in Dorset?

Dorset is home to a wealth of historic landmarks, including the iconic Corfe Castle and the ancient ruins of Maiden Castle. There are many other sites to explore that offer a glimpse into the county’s rich history.

What are the best coastal walks in Dorset?

Dorset is famous for its stunning coastal walks along the Jurassic Coast. You can enjoy breathtaking views of cliffs, coves, and beaches by exploring the Dorset coastal path or discovering hidden gems along the Jurassic Coast.

What culinary delights can I try in Dorset?

Dorset offers a diverse range of culinary delights, including fresh seafood caught along the coast and traditional English pub fare. Sample local specialties, visit traditional country pubs, and explore the vibrant food and drink scene in Dorset.

What natural beauty can I discover in Dorset?

Dorset is known for its picturesque countryside, enchanting forests, and hidden nature reserves. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Dorset’s landscapes and soak up the serene atmosphere that the county is renowned for.

What outdoor activities can I engage in while in Dorset?

Dorset offers a range of thrilling outdoor activities, including water sports along the coast and hiking in the diverse terrain. Whether you’re into surfing, paddleboarding, hiking, or biking, Dorset is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

What arts and culture experiences can I have in Dorset?

Dorset has a rich arts and culture scene, with museums showcasing local history and art. You can also immerse yourself in the vibrant creative community and attend festivals and events throughout the year that celebrate music, literature, and more.

Which charming villages can I visit in Dorset?

Dorset is dotted with picturesque villages that exude traditional English charm. Take a leisurely stroll through the pretty streets, admire the quaint cottages, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals in these idyllic Dorset villages.

What family-friendly attractions are there in Dorset?

Dorset offers a range of family-friendly attractions, including theme parks, adventure playgrounds, animal parks, and museums. There are plenty of options for a fun-filled day out with the family, creating lasting memories and enjoying quality time together in Dorset.

What can I expect from a visit to Dorset, England?

A visit to Dorset, England promises a treasure trove of experiences. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, food, or adventure, this charming county has it all. Plan your perfect visit to Dorset and make the most of your time exploring the diverse attractions and creating unforgettable memories.