Top 90 attractions to explore in Dorset
Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. Here you can the beautiful beaches to famous landmarks like Durdle Door and Portland Bill, and activities including kayaking, wine tasting, and more
Magnificent Victorian walled garden set in 20 acres of the woodland valley. It was probably one of the best gardens of its type in the world. Winner of the silver medal at Chelsea and silver-gilt at Hampton Court Show. The gardens are in a wooded and sheltered valley, leading down towards the sea at Chesil Beach; this combination produces a microclimate in which more delicate plants than are usually grown in southern England can flourish, and plants that would otherwise need greenhouses can be
Abbotsbury Swannery is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans. Visitors to the Swannery can help hand feed over 600 swans at 12.00 noon and 4.00pm daily, which is an experience not to be missed. The accompanying talk from the swanherd provides an enaging and informative insight into these graceful birds.
Adventure Wonderland is a family theme park situated in the village of Hurn, near Bournemouth, United Kingdom. The park offers rides and attractions aimed at families with children up to the age of 12. A wide range of outside rides and attractions are open daily including family favorites such as Jungle Falls, Battle Boats, Wild Bill's Runaway Train, and the Turbo Teacups.
Alum Chine Beach is probably one of Bournemouth's favourite Blue Flag award winning beaches, particularly loved by the locals for its wide, exceptionally clean, sandy and shingle beaches situated further to the West of Bournemouth, away from the hustle and bustle of Bournemouth Pier and the town centre.
Badbury Rings is an area of great historical interest, with evidence of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman occupation. Now forming part of the Kingston Lacy estate, and under the guardianship of The National Trust, the Badbury Rings site has been restored to light grazing land as this has always played an important role in establishing centuries of wild herbs and flowers.
Bennetts Water Gardens is a visitor attraction in Dorset. Set over 8 acres the gardens hold the National Plant Collection® of Water Lilies with a Claude Monet style Japanese Bridge, Tropical House, Woodland Walks, and Museum. The gardens hold the National Plant Collection© of Water Lilies with a Monet-style Bridge as the centerpiece. If you have never seen over 140 different varieties of water lilies producing thousands of flowers spread across acres of water.
The Bournemouth Aviation Museum is an aviation museum located next to Bournemouth International Airport, near the village of Hurn in Christchurch. It houses a number of aircraft, aero engines, cockpits and a limited number of ground vehicles. The museum contains a number of aircraft, aero engines and cockpits. It has also recently restored a Boeing 737-200 named 'The Spirit of Peter Bath' and it is believed to be the only museum in Europe to include a 737-200 in its collection.
The beaches at Bournemouth stretch for 7 miles between the coastal towns of Poole and Christchurch. All of the beaches are soft sand and very family friendly. They are some of the safest beaches in the UK with RNLI Lifeguards based there between 30 April and 30 September. Nestled beneath a magnificent cliff line, the bay enjoys its own micro-climate, some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK and stunning views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks.
The Lower Gardens in Bournemouth is a Grade II Listed Garden. The beautiful floral displays that combine a range of colours, textures and scents. The Gardens also have plenty of activities to keep visitors busy including music at the Pine Walk bandstand, an aviary, mini golf course and an art exhibition during the summer.
Bowleaze Cove is a sand and pebble beach just over two miles northeast from Weymouth. In summer the beach is popular with families as well as jet-ski enthusiasts and the water is zoned for the safety of bathers. Children might enjoy paddling in the shallow waters of the cove or in the River Jordan which enters the sea at the beach. A short pier leading out from the beach makes a good spot for fishing and the views towards Portland on a clear evening are quite spectacular.
This former brewery site has been converted to a complex including a museum, shops and a public house. The main building dates from 1903 / 1904. Brewing took place on this site from 1252 until the 1980s. There were 3 separate breweries. The building is located at Hope Square, which holds a range of cafes, bars, bistros, while close by is the Tudor House Museum, and facing out to sea is Nothe Fort and its gardens.
Brownsea Island is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour in the county of Dorset, England. The island is owned by the National Trust. The island sits in the middle of Poole Harbour, with dramatic views of the Purbeck Hills. Thriving natural habitats, including woodland, heathland and a lagoon, have created havens for wildlife, such as the red squirrel and a huge variety of birds, including the sandwich tern.
Cerne Abbas Giant, a 180-foot-tall chalk drawing of a nude man wielding a club, dates to 1694. the giant geoglyph is carved in solid lines into the chalk bedrock and stands an impressive 180 feet, making it especially visible from up high. In fact, during WWII, the figure was disguised to prevent Germans from using it as an aerial landmark.
Charmouth is a delightful unspoiled seaside village set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a fantastic beach world-renowned for its fossils. The large shingle beach and the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre on the seafront are a must-visit for those interested in fossils and local natural history. It is great for the family – lots of sand especially at low tide, safe swimming, picnic areas, cafes, and beach shops.
Set up to encourage safe and sustainable collecting of Jurassic fossils from local beaches, the centre offers hands-on displays, interactive computers and information about fossils and fossil hunting. Throughout the year the centre runs guided fossil hunting walks as well as countryside and marine discovery activities along the coastline. Beyond the centre, there is a lovely beach – perfect for swimming, and several beautiful walks. A great day out for all the family.
The Grade I listed Christchurch Castle is of Norman origin and was originally of a motte and bailey construction. The castle once dominated the town but now lies in ruins and only a couple of the keep walls remain. A castle has stood in Christchurch since approximately 1074 AD when William I fortified the town with a wooden fort on a motte. Today the bailey is home to a bowling green and gardens, and the ditch has been filled but parts of the keep and much of the constable's house still st
Christchurch Harbour has formed about 7,000 years ago. Christchurch Quay and Quomps lie in the upper reaches of the harbour. The entrance to the harbour, known as 'The Run', is flanked by Mudeford Quay to the north and Mudeford Sandbank to the south. The harbour is generally shallow and due to the tidal harmonics in the English Channel has double high water on each tide. It comprises the estuary of the Stour and Avon and the Hengistbury Head peninsula.
Church Ope Cove is located on the Isle of Portland near Weymouth. The beach consists of soft limestone pebbles and is surrounded by cliffs on three sides which provide shelter from the often strong breeze in the area. Being surrounded three-ways by cliffs, often shelters the strong winds that tend to blow over Portland. You’ll also notice an array of vintage-style beach huts on the hill.
Clavell Tower, which was erected in 1830-31 for the Reverend Clavell in a prominent position on the cliff above Kimmeridge Bay. This four-story, circular tower stands high on the cliff above Kimmeridge Bay overlooking one of the most striking bays on the Dorset coast. It is owned by building conservation charity the Landmark Trust and is its most popular venue with holidaymakers wanting to stay there having to plan almost two years in advance.
This tiny isolated cottage situated on the slopes of Clouds Hill above Bovington Camp was the peaceful retreat of T.E. Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’) when he re-joined the RAF in 1925. It was, in fact, a 'pied a terre' used by Lawrence as a quiet retreat to write and entertain guests while he was stationed at the nearby army base at Bovington.
Map of attractions in Dorset