Dorset

 

Dorset is home to the World Famous Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural World Heritage Site.

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This stunning coastline stretches 95 miles from East Devon to Dorset, with rocks recording 185 million years of the Earth’s history.    This beautiful varied county is also home to many other wonderful ingredients that make Dorset so mighty. On your holiday you’ll come across amazing Dorset Cream Teas, fabulous food and drink, quaint picture postcard villages, famous authors and ghostly tales about smugglers. The county is diverse, golden sandy beaches and seaside towns like Weymouth is very popular for families, the rugged Isle of Purbeck is known for adventure, miles of walking and wildlife and West Dorset has a fast growing reputation for being a top ‘foodie destination’  What makes Dorset so popular as a tourist destination is that it caters for everyone. Millions of people of all ages visit this fantastic county every year and Dream Cottages is delighted to welcome more and more guests back each year.

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The coastal town of Weymouth is on the southern tip of the Dorset coast. This traditional seaside town is one of most visited areas on the South Coast. Weymouth is most famous for its Georgian esplanade, long golden beach, shallow waters and more recently hosting the 2012 Olympic Sailing events.

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Dorset has a fantastic reputation for food, from fish and chips to gourmet and cream teas to pasties Weymouth can cater for every tastebud.

There is plenty to do in Weymouth to suit everyone. Being on the coast there is an array of watersports including kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfer and paddle boarding just to name a few. More the more relaxed, take one of the donkeys for a stroll up the beach and admire the view.

Whatever your looking for out of your holiday Weymouth defiantly offers  you a choice and all the ingredients for your perfect seaside holiday.

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Places to visit in Weymouth

Nothe Fort

Nothe Fort is located at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour and is a popular family destination with stunning views of the Jurassic coast. The fort is a series of underground passageways set on three levels which are easily accessed by means of a lift. Built in Victorian times, Nothe Fort is now one of Weymouth’s most popular tourist attractions and you don’t need to be a military enthusiast to enjoy it either. But beware – the fort is haunted. More information.

Weymouth Pavillion

Weymouth Pavillion is a theatre complex owned and operated by Weymouth & Portland borough council and built on Weymouth Pier. Weymouth Pavillion complex hosts a variety of shows throughout the year. A new cafe opened in the Pavilion Foyer in 2010, named “The Ritz” after the earlier theatre on this site. More information.

Brewer’s Quay Emporium

A fascinating treasure trove of antiques and collectibles the Emporium is pack with the wares of independant traders offering an ever changing range of curios.
There is also a pleasant cafe serving drinks snacks and delicious cakes which can be enjoyed on tables in the undercover shopping street.

Bennetts Water Gardens

Bennetts Water Gardens is located in the Chickerell area of Weymouth. There are eight acres of gardens to visit with National & International Plant Collections of Water Lilies, flowering from late spring through to autumn. The gardens hold one of the most outstanding displays of water lilies in Britain and has a Monet style Japanese Bridge as the centrepiece. Click here for more information.

The Tudor House

The Tudor House museum is based near Brewer’s Quay in the Old Harbour area of Weymouth. The house itself was built around 1600 and originally stood on the edge of an inlet from the harbour. It is believed to have been a merchant’s house and is furnished as the home of an early seventeenth century middle class family.

Group visits can be arranged throughout the year. School parties are especially welcome. The tour is adapted to topics in Key Stage 2 of the National curriculum for the study of Tudor and Stuart times. Click here for more information.

Burton Bradstock is an attractive village in the south west of Dorset. It is located on Chesil Beach, 3 miles east of Bridport. At the centre of the village is a series of 17th century thatched cottages that nestle in amongst a post office, primary school, two pubs and a beach cafe.

The village is famous for its location along the Jurassic coast. There are footpaths that link the village to the seaside resort of West Bay and the cliffs around the village are popular with fossil hunters where rockfalls often reveal new finds.

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Hive Beach and Cafe

Hive Beach is a hugely popular family beach just a short step from the village. It is a shingle beach surrounded by spectacular sandstone cliffs and forms part of Chesil Beach. Located on the shingle beach of Chesil Bank is the Hive Beach Cafe which has local seafood on offer and wonderful views of the Dorset coastline, including Lyme Bay.

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Chesil Beach Centre

Chesil Beach stretches from Portland to West Bay and is a glorious 18 miles of shingle beach which has been described as a tombolo – which is a bar of sand or shingle joining an island to the mainland. It is part of the Jurassic coast – a UNESCO designated World Heritage site.
There is plenty to see and do on Chesil Beach no matter which part of the beach you find yourself on. You can fish at Chesil Cove and along the beach itself. Access is easy and mackerel, cod and rockling are regularly caught here. If you are into diving then there are two available shore dives as well.
For more information: http://www.chesilbeach.org/Chesil/

Coastal Walks

Burton Bradstock has easy access to the jurassic coast and south west coast path which are extremely popular with walkers due to the spectacular cliff-top views. There are a variety of coastal walks available taking you through stunning picturesque routes.

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Dorchester is the administrative centre of Dorset. It is situated on the River Frome, 8 miles north of Weymouth. The towns roots date back to prehistoric times and early settlements were based around the Iron Age hill fort of Maiden Castle – the ruins of which can be visited today.

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Dorchester is a bustling town with an abundance of character buildings some of which still retain features dating back to the Roman occupation of the town.

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It is a gateway to the Jurassic coast and has two railway stations with links to Weymouth, Poole, Bournemouth and London at Dorchester South and Yeovil, Bath and Bristol via Dorchester West station.

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Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle is the largest and most complex example of an Iron Age hill fort in Britain. The castle was first laid out around 600 BC over the remains of a neolithic settlement. The site was home to several hundred people in the Iron Age (800 BC – 43 AD) and the proliferation of ramparts enclose an area equivalent to 50 football pitches in size. In AD43 the Roman army captured the forth and its inhabitants moved to the new town of Durnovaria, modern Dorchester.
For more information: http://www.maidencastle.com/

The Dinosaur Museum

The award winning Dinosaur museum is a real treat for all members of the family. It has life-size dinosaur constructions, actual fossils, skeletons and multimedia displays to excite and entrall you. The museum prides itself on its innovative, friendly approach and has featured extensively on television making it a nationally renowned visitor attraction.
It is open all year daily, including Sundays. January to March 10am to 4pm. April to September 10am to 5pm. October to December 10am to 4pm. Closed 13th to 26th December inclusive.
For more information: http://www.thedinosaurmuseum.com

Hardy’s Cottage

Thomas Hardy’s cottage lies close to Thorncombe Woods in the village of Higher Bockhampton near Dorchester. It is a small cob and thatch cottage where Hardy wrote Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd. The cottage is now owned by the national trust and has a traditional cottage garden that is bursting with colour in the summer months.

Thomas Hardy Cottage

 

 

The Tutankhamun Exhibition

Part of the World Heritage Exhibition, the Tutankhamun Exhibition is the follow on from the successful treasures exhibition at the British museum in London. The major treasures of Tutankhamun have been successfully recreated in precise detail using original materials whereever possible. In addition, the burial chamber and ante-chamber have been replicated together with all the contents and treasure, so you can recreate the experience of Howard Carter when he first discovered the tomb in 1922.
The exhibition is a real treat and extremely popular. For more details: http://www.tutankhamun-exhibition.co.uk

Swanage is situated at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck, approximately 10 km south of Poole and 40 km east of Dorchester. It offers great views from Durlston Head south of the town, and to the North is an attractive beach at Studland Bay.

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Swanage is the perfect choice for a traditional seaside holiday and an ideal base for exploring the eastern side of Dorset’s World Heritage coastline.

Swanage has an award winning beach, safe bathing and lots of leisure activities suitable for all members of the family.

Swanage and Corfe Castle

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Swanage Railway

The Swanage Railway is a restored standard gauge steam railway that runs along six miles from Swanage on the coast through the Purbeck countryside to Corfe Castle. The railway provides a useful link through Purbeck taking you through some of Dorset’s most beautiful scenery and to tourist attractions like Corfe Castle, helping you avoid the summer traffic. You can park your car at the large car park next to the Railway Station in Swanage then take the trip through to Corfe Castle for a good day out.
For timetable information visit: www.swanagerailway.co.uk

Swanage Town Trails

A good way to see the town is to go on one of three town trails. There’s the Stone Trail which takes in the Bankers where the quarried stone was once stacked for shipping to London, the Victorian Trail which takes you up the coast path to Durlston Country Park and the Town Trail that takes you past the town’s sights, many of which seem to have pilfered from places in London!
The Town Trail leaflets are available from Swanage’s Tourist Information Office for a small fee.

Swanage Pier

Swanage Pier was built in 1896, partly to assist with exporting locally quarried Purbeck stone by sea to Poole and London but also to support the thriving paddle steamer industry.
The entire pier has recently been refurbished after receiving a lottery grant. The pier and surrounding area is said to be some of the best diving areas in the south of England.
You can find everything from free exhibitions to scuba diving, along with an assortment of gift and refreshment shops.

http://www.swanagepiertrust.com

Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve

Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve is situated 1 mile from Swanage. It is a stunning 280 acre countryside paradise consisting of sea-cliffs, coastal limestone downland, haymeadows, hedgerows and woodland. With stunning views, walking trails, the historic Great Globe, superb geology and fascinating wildlife there is always something different to see.

http://www.durlston.co.uk

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West Bay is known as the Golden Gateway to the Jurassic Coast. It is situated one and a half miles south of the lively market town of Bridport . West Bay is renowned for its stunning sandstone cliffs, working harbour and coast and countryside walks. It is an ideal location for a family holiday with plenty of local activities available such as fossil hunting, fishing, scuba diving, paragliding, boating and much more.

Harbour at West Bay

West Bay is famous for being the location of the TV series `Broadchurch’. The TV series ‘River Cottage’ has frequently filmed in the nearby town of Bridport.

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West Bay Harbour

Take a leisurely walk down to West Bay Harbour and enjoy the wide selection of restaurants, pubs, cafes and refreshment kiosks selling snacks from ice creams to fish and chips. There are boat trips available – for fishing and pleasure – along the coast.

West Bay Harbour

 

Boat trips in West Bay include:

Duchess II – Charter Or Hire; Fishing. Lyme Bay RIB Charter – Public Trips;Ferry;Lessons; Charter Or Hire;Wildlife Watching. Bay Blast rides, Coastal Cruise, Water Taxi service, Water ski & Wakeboard lessons and tows, several corporate options including ‘BIKE & BOAT’ Day, RIB Handling Experience Day, Lunch and Dinner Charters. Seating for 20 aboard our new matched fleet. Gift Vouchers Available. Tia Maria – Fishing

West Bay Beaches

West Bay has two beaches – East and West beach. East beach is a mix of sand and shingle and extends along Chesil Beach to Portland Bill.

Beach at West Bay

West beach is suitable for younger children and has a protective cove between the harbour’s west pier and the esplanade’s rock armour.

Bridport Museum
Bridport Museum, South Street, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3NR
Tel: 01308 422116/45
Summary:
Open 10am – 5pm daily except Sunday from Easter until the end of October.
Bridport Museum tells the story of the town’s history from its origins to the present day. Artefacts on display include items from a nearby Roman hill-fort and the world famous rope and net making industries.

http://www.bridportmuseum.co.uk

Scuba Diving and Powerboating West Bay
West Bay Diving offer dive boat trips on their fast, 10.5 Vigilante 33 hard boat. They also offer dive training. Contact Keith on 07768 100903 to check availability.
Lyme Bay Sea School offer powerboat training that follows the RYA National Powerboat Scheme.

http://www.lymebayseaschool.co.uk

Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club
This golf club is located on the beautiful Jurassic coastline with views stretching across Lyme Bay and along the Chesil Beach to Portland. The course is 6123 yards long and is a test for golfers of all levels.
It is known as a friendly club and offers an excellent restaurant, a lounge and spikes bar, as well as a Driving Range and Putting Green.

http://www.bridportgolfclub.org.uk

National Trust Walks

The National Trust own much of the coastline between West Bay and Charmouth. There is a pleasant walk available for download from their website which takes in West Bexington and Chesil Beach. Enjoy wildlife friendly farming on this stretch of the Jurassic coastline.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/west_bexington-natures_harvest.pdf



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