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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, 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 at this little-known pocket of paradise.

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2

Finger licking Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

For a food-fuelled weekend, set your hungry eyes on the seaside town of Lyme Regis. The Oyster & Fish House, headed up by celebrity chef and Lyme Regis native Mark Hix, serves locally sourced fish and seafood accompanied by cocktails with a Dorset twist and panoramic coastal views. Just up the road, you'll find the intimate, eight-tabled Robin Wylde famed for its natural wines, wild ingredients and impeccable presentation. Both restaurants also offer foraging experiences if you feel like getting your hands dirty.

 

 

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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 (also known as 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

Brownsea Island is a paradise for wildlife with varied habitats, including woodland, heathland, lagoon and shore. Keep an eye out for red squirrels, sika deer and peacocks, common lizards, dragonflies and butterflies at this secluded sanctuary accessible by ferry from Poole Harbour. 

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5

Beachside Bungalows

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

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

Jurassic Coast

Dorset

 Sunset over Durdle Door, Dorset, England.

While Durdle Door is the Jurassic Coast's most iconic sight, the imposing natural stone arch is just one of many geographical landmarks that make up this UNESCO World Heritage site. Nearby, Man of War Beach feels more like The Med in summer, and the almost perfect circle of Lulworth Cove is a serene suntrap for lazy picnics and wild swimming.

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10

Lyme Regis Museum

West Dorset

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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15 Nov 2023(last updated)

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Easter events in 2024

  • 1

    Weymouth

  • 2

    Lyme Regis

  • 3

    Shaftesbury

  • 4

    Poole

  • 5

    Bournemouth

  • 6

    Wareham

  • 7

    Bridport

  • 8

    Sandbanks, Poole

  • 9

    Dorset

  • 10

    West Dorset

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