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10 places to visit in Dorset this summer

1

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Weymouth

Rope bridge and surrounded by foliage at Abbotsbury

Set in its own microclimate in a woodland valley, the dreamy Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens flourish with rare and exotic plants from all over the world, including eucalyptus and banana plants. Bring your dog along on a lead and admire blissful views of the Jurassic Coast from the top of Magnolia Avenue and ramble along palm tree-lined pathways.

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2

Food Rocks

Lyme Regis

People gathering around food stalls at Food Rocks festival in Dorset

Get ready for a food-fuelled weekend in September in the charming seaside town of Lyme Regis. Cooked up by celebrity chef and Lyme Regis native, the two-day festival celebrates food producers from the South West and also features seafood supper clubs hosted by Hix and demos and masterclasses by foodie experts.

Please note that Food Rocks has been postponed until 2022.

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3

Gold Hill

Shaftesbury

 Woman walking down Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset, England.

For true Instagram perfection, head for Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill (AKA Hovis Hill) which is picture-perfect in any season but takes on a golden hue in the summer sun. Head along the Park Walk for views over the 12th-century market town and across Dorset’s Blackmore Vale.

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4

Brownsea Island

Poole

With a mix of habitats including woodland, heathland, lagoon and seaside, Brownsea Island, in the middle of Poole Harbour, is an ideal setting for wildlife like the red squirrel, sika deer, peacocks along with common lizards, dragonflies and butterflies in the summer months.

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5

Beachside Bungalows at Bournemouth

Bournemouth

Stay in one of 15 stylish beach lodges lining the waterfront on Bournemouth beach. Sleeping up to five adults (or two adults and two children), the pretty cottages have direct access to one of Britain’s best beaches, and they’re pet-friendly too.

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6

Corfe Castle

Wareham

The ruins of Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck are thought to have been inspiration for Enid Blyton's Five on a Treasure Island. Visit the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle – renamed Kirin Castle for Blyton’s series – and, from there, hop on the steam train to the super cute coastal town of Swanage.

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7

The Seaside Boarding House

Bridport

Drop your bags off at this chic hotel in Burton Bradstock overlooking the glorious Lyme Bay. Here, you can dine on an abundant of local fare, including Bridport smoked kippers and organic bacon for breakfast, or a crab sandwich wrapped in greaseproof paper if you’d rather make a beeline for the beach.

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8

Rick Stein, Sandbanks

Poole

Table overlooking harbour at Rick Stein's Sandbanks

For a meal with a lovely view of the deep blue, head to Rick Stein’s restaurant in Sandbanks, near Poole. Feast on local seafood while looking out over the marina and towards Brownsea Island in the distance.

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9

Durdle Door

Jurassic Coast

 Sunset over Durdle Door, Dorset, England.

One of the most impressive sights along the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, the huge natural stone arch called Durdle Door is definitely bucket list material. A walk or swim there can take in other lovely spots such as Lulworth Cove and Man of War Beach.

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10

Lyme Regis Museum

Lyme Regis

Family in the fossil gallery at Lyme Regis Museum

Indulge your inner palaeontologist with a visit to the Lyme Regis Museum. Discover its extension devoted to the famed female fossil hunter Mary Anning, and join one of its well-known fossil walks.

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19 May 2021(last updated)

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  • 1

    Weymouth

  • 2

    Lyme Regis

  • 3

    Shaftesbury

  • 4

    Poole

  • 5

    Bournemouth

  • 6

    Wareham

  • 7

    Bridport

  • 8

    Poole

  • 9

    Jurassic Coast

  • 10

    Lyme Regis

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