Dorset is one of Britain's best holiday hotspots for many in the United Kingdom. Known as UK's World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast can be found in Dorset on the southern coast. Labeled also as one of Britain's areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), it is covered with picture-worthy cliffs, sandy and pebble beaches, fairytale castles, and rolling country hills along the scenic countryside. There are plenty of beautiful places to stay as the coast has many mansions, stately homes, and resorts. And of course, there are many activities to keep you on your toes including swimming, kayaking, hiking, and sailing to name a few.
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If you're visiting the UK for the first time or wanting to get away from the city life, look no further than Dorset. Located only 2 hours and 30 minutes away from London's city centre, there is so much to do, see, and eat that you may want to extend your vacation beyond just the weekend.
When To Go
With its ideal location along the southern coastline of England, the best time to enjoy the sandy beaches and outdoor water excursions are during the warmer months of the year, or the summer season. England's summer season begins around early June and ends in mid to late August. You'll notice the difference as the summer season begins because there will be sunny, warm weather with a lack of England's iconic rain.
If you're aiming to go during the off-peak season for less water sports and beaches but more hiking and exploring, the ideal times of the year to visit Dorset are in the spring (March to May) or autumn months (September to November). Hiking is more enjoyable during the cooler months since the hikes along the Jurassic Coast are not too short and can be challenging.
If you can afford adjusting your "weekend" from Saturday and Sunday to maybe Thursday and Friday or even Sunday and Monday, you may be able to beat the crowds. The crowds are very dense in the hotspots of Dorset during the peak season since it's a popular and beautiful place to vacation. If you don't mind that, then go for a proper weekend.
Where to stay?
There are several great resorts to stay in Dorset depending on what you're looking for. If you want to stay along the coast, the Weymouth Harbour is a picturesque place to stay with plenty of pubs, restaurants, shops, supermarkets, and even the town's fishmonger.
If you're looking for a place with a view, look no further than the Weymouth Harbour, where your rental house can look directly out into the gorgeous Marina filled with cute sailboats.
Find great rental places through Airbnb and Homeaway. Some of the most adorable and colourful places to stay are letted out right along the Weymouth Harbour.
7 Things To Do in Dorset
Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch located along the Jurassic Coast. It's the iconic piece of nature that comes to mind for most when they think of the Jurassic Coast. As a place to sunbathe, swim, and complete a long hike, there's so much to do at Durdle Door.
If you choose to hike, there are two options: easy and moderate. The easier hike can be a loop from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove or Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. With easily accessible walking paths and flatter trails, if you can handle the 1 hour and 30 minute hike, you can cover the 3 miles (5 kilometres).
When choosing the moderately difficult hike, start off at the west side of Lulworth Cove then walk through Durdle Door then to Bat's Head and back to the Lulworth Cove. There are signages that direct you where to go along with distinct pathways. Expect this hike to stretch about 10 miles (16 kilometres) which can take approximately 5 hours. Find excellent hiking maps around Lulworth Cove here.
As one of the few beaches in England with sand instead of pebbles, Weymouth Beach is a beautiful place to sunbathe and swim.
If you're looking for more adventure, try any of the many water sports available at the Jurassic Coast including paddle boarding, windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing.
The Corfe Castle ruins stand now for 1,000 years as a fairytale and iconic place with so much history. Originally built in the early 12th century, it was made for King Henry I's son, William the Conqueror.
Having survived the English Civil War and partial demolishing in 1646, the Corfe Castle is still a family favourite for all visitors.
Before making your visit to Corfe Castle, be sure to book a ticket in advance.
Located on the very southern-most point of Weymouth, on a miniature peninsula, the Portland Bill Lighthouse remains standing for the last one hundred eleven years. First showing its flashes of light in 1906.
The Portland Bill Lighthouse is a picturesque place to bring your family, where you can take a walk around the coast, have a picnic on the greenery, throw a frisbee around, or grab a bite at the Lobster Pot.
Located in a colourful, bustling, and family-friendly town, the Weymouth Harbour is a great place to check out. It's an amazing sight to watch the sailboats leave the harbour as the tower bridge lifts up for them to pass every two hours in the mornings and every two hours in the evenings for the boats to dock.
Go into town and check out the pubs, restaurants, and even the local fish monger for the freshest catches of the day.
The Poole Harbour is claimed to be the second largest natural harbour in the world next to Port Jackson in Sydney, Australia. It is an estuary of several rivers and thus has been used as far back as several centuries ago as a point of Roman invasion and later for exporting goods.
There are plenty of adventures you can find by the Poole Harbour including water sports, fine dining, fishing, and countryside walks.
Where To Eat
Fish & Chips
Bennett's Fish & Chips is the town's staple found right along the Weymouth Harbour. Anytime you go, there's a long line winding around the shop. A shop's popularity that draws people to stand outside for however long is how you know you have to give their food a try.
With a very extensive menu which include the choice of fish you want in your fish and chips, meat pies and pasties, fish cakes, black pudding fritters and so much more, it's bound to be a delicious experience.
If you're staying somewhere with a place to cook, it may be worth checking out the local fish monger at Weyfish for the freshest seafood and at a much more reasonable price than in the city.
Grab a few dozen oysters, a couple of lobsters or crabs, and any local fish they have that day along with a side of samphire. They will undoubtedly make for a delicious dinner at home.
There are plenty of casual dining restaurants and pubs to grab a pint at the Weymouth Harbour. If that is more your speed, there are several options to grab a snack, meal, or pint and hang by the edge of the harbour looking on to the sailboats passing by. It makes for a stunning view.
Here are a few pubs to give you some ideas:
The George Inn
The Ship Inn
The Kings Arm
Old Rooms Inn
The Red Lion
Save It For Later:
Dorset is one of Britain's best holiday hotspots for many. A true area of outstanding natural beauty and with centuries worth of history, the label of a World Heritage Site is appropriate for the Jurassic Coast along the southern coast of Dorset. Whether you're looking for water sports, hiking, great food, or just a place to relax, you will find it all in Dorset.