5 Top Places to Visit In Dorset

Dorset has some of the nation's best landmarks and coastline. We've picked five of our favorite spots to visit in the county.

1. West Bay – Bridport

What better place to start than with something that is right on our doorstep? With our bakery just up the road on the edge of Bridport, the little seaside village of West Bay is an obvious go-to for our coastal fix.

West Bay offers has some stunning beaches that run right along the Jurassic coast and sits below some striking bright orange cliffs. For those that want to explore a little further, there are some breath-taking cliff-top walks both to the east and west. East takes you out on the cliffs towards Burton Bradstock and the long stretching Chesil beach. West takes you out towards the famous Golden Cap hill (the highest point on the south coast). 

Located around the harbour are some fantastic restaurants, shops as well as rows and rows of stalls and stands selling fresh fish, fish and chips and delectable ice creams. More recently this seaside beauty was the setting for the popular TV drama Broadchurch. Many local hot spots and businesses were featured in the filming, so visitors can walk around a real-life film set.

2. Hengistbury Head - Christchurch

On the east side of the county sits Hengistbury Head, a stretch of headland that forms part of Christchurch Harbour. This head of land curves out from the mainland and boasts wonderful beachline. It is also a special area of conservation and was declared a local nature reserve in 1990. Hengistbury Head however, is probably most recognisable for its iconic line of colourful beach huts that stretch along the length of the headland. 

As you walk down the sandy beach with the beach huts and harbour to your left and the English Channel stretching out to your right, you might be forgiven for feeling like you're on a remote island. Who says you need to travel abroad to escape? If you are not lucky enough to own one of the expensive beach huts, then Hengistbury Head is still great for a day out on the beach. There are plenty of facilities and a couple of lovely beach cafes.

There are two main ways to access the picturesque stretch of headland, either by a delightful land train linking from the west or the Mudeford ferry from the east. All these elements add to the adventure of visiting this lovely spot.

3. Lyme Regis

From east to west, Lyme Regis sits on the most westerly border of Dorset and is nestled next to the equally idyllic county of Devon. Often referred to as the “The Pearl of Dorset”, this wonderfully quaint seaside town will not disappoint.

Perhaps the most famous landmark of Lyme Regis is the Cobb which is a snaking harbour wall. It was built during the early years of the town to protect Lyme from breakwaters and storms. You can walk along the ridge of the Cobb wall as it meanders into the sea. This experience gives you a real feeling of being out at sea and on a clear day provides some great views of the Jurassic Coast. For those who haven’t tried, it's well worth a walk.  

The town itself is extremely attractive and has a great selection of boutique and artisan independent retailers and restaurants. You will never be short of a delicious treat, a nice spot to eat, or a beautiful gift to take away.

4. Shaftesbury

Dorset is renowned for its stunning coastal beauty, but come inland a little and there are some equally stunning spots. Given that a large proportion of the county is at sea level, it is a suprise to find that Shaftesbury is 215 meters (705 feet) above sea level. This market town is near to the border of Wiltshire and is the location of the former Shaftesbury Abbey which was founded by King Alfred in 888. 

When talking about Shaftesbury It goes without saying you must talk about Gold Hill. This is undoubtedly one of Dorset's best views with its cobbled street, quaint terraced cottages, and fiercely steep incline (a physically challenging ascent) that provides a stunning viewpoint over some of the county’s best landscapes. It was also famously the setting for the Hovis bread television advertisement in the 1970s. 

The town has two museums that are great to visit, the Gold Hill Museum at the top of Gold Hill, and Shaftesbury Abbey Museum within the Abbey grounds. 

5. Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door

Some say you leave the best until last. With Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door this is no different as they are quite possibly some of the most stunning points to visit on the Jurassic Coast. 

Iconic Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch that has been created through erosion of the less resilient rock by the sea. Once you come across Durdle Door you are taken aback by its natural wonder. This iconic arch is nestled between two shingle beaches, Durdle Door beach to the west and Man o’ War Cove to the east. You can take a dip in the crystal-clear sea with this natural structure towering over you. 

A short cliff walk east and you’ll find the idyllic village of West Lulworth and the beautiful natural bay that is Lulworth Cove. This World Heritage Site is again the result of erosion that has formed an almost perfectly circular cove which provides a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

Although it these sites are privately owned by the Lulworth Estate, they are both free and open to the public all year round. However, be warned both these famous sites can get very busy during peak season, but its obvious why.

Of course, there are just so many amazing places and treasures to be found around every corner of Dorset that it does not do it justice to select only five spots. But we count ourselves very lucky to be able to call this county home to our biscuit bakery.  

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