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Visit Dorset, Discover and Explore

There’s so much to experience and enjoy on a visit or holiday in West Dorset, so if you’re planning a short break or a longer holiday then dive in and discover more about this  beautiful part of Dorset and places to explore in the south west of England.

Find out about the seaside towns and their beaches on the Jurassic coastline, its ancient market towns and the delightful villages with their quaint thatch roof cottages. Follow in the footsteps of David Tennant to the locations of the Broadchurch ITV series and make your West Dorset holidays even more enjoyable.

West Dorset is a walkers’ paradise with so many footpaths to enjoy out in the glorious countryside and along the coastline, including the South West Coast Path and The Ridgeway.

Enjoy your Dorset holidays in one of the area’s many caravan parks or touring & camping parks. There’s also wide and excellent choice of bed & breakfast accommodation, hotels or cottages to choose from.

view of west bay harbour and cliff top walk

West Bay Harbour and cliff top walk

⇒ West Dorset offers all this

  • The 185 million years old Jurassic Coast World Heritage site
  • Beautiful sandy beaches | Fossil hunting beaches
  • Glorious countryside | Coastal views (AONB)
  • Gardens | Churches | Castles | Monuments
  • Great Visitor Attractions | Markets | Museums
  • Events | Exhibitions | Festivals | Activities
  • Clifftop, countryside and village footpath walks
  • Market towns | Picture post card villages
  • Picturesque harbours | Headlands | Coves
  • Explore its Roman, neolithic and ancient history
  • Wide variety of accommodation available
  • The scenic B3157 Jurassic coastal road
  • Visit West Dorset is featured in the article on 15 of the UK’s most charming towns on FlightNetwork – one of the world’s largest online travel agencies

Wonderful West Dorset

Discover the wonderful market towns of BridportDorchester and Sherborne that are steeped in a rich history with their wonderful markets to browse. Explore the bustling seaside towns of Weymouth and Lyme Regis, with their excellent sandy beaches and delightful harbours.

There are so many picturesque villages to be explored in the area too – Abbotsbury and Burton Bradstock are just two of the numerous and wonderful quaint villages with oldy-world thatch roof cottages, and there are many more such as Portesham, Shipton Gorge, Chedington, Puncknowle and the quaint and popular fishing village of West Bay and harbour to name a few more.

three horseshoes inn, burton bradstock

Three Horseshoes Inn, Burton Bradstock

⇒ Did You Know?

  • Dorset is also renowned for its links to many well-known or famous people including the novelist and poet Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), the poet William Barnes, the writers Jane Austen, Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter.
  • Not to get confused with the novelist is also Captain Thomas Hardy who was born at Kingston Russell House, Long Bredy in 1769 and was captain of HMS ⇒ ⇒ Victory and Trafalgar fame and close friend of Lord Nelson.
  • Others include Sir Walter Raleigh, the ‘hanging judge’ Judge Jeffreys plus the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were sentenced to transportation in 1834.

West Dorset villages are set in such picturesque and exceptional countryside in and around the surrounding area, with many delightful walks, bridleways and the Dorset sunken paths called holloways.

novelist and poet thomas hardy cottage and birthplace

Novelist and poet Thomas Hardy cottage and birthplace

Along the dramatic and rugged Jurassic coastline you’ll discover delightful coves, amazing rock formations and commanding sea and country views along its many footpaths, and with the South West Coast Path and The Ridgeway, it’s also one of the UK’s best places to walk in this beautiful area of south west England!

The well-known Jurassic coastline is renowned for its fossils, especially along from Lyme Regis to Charmouth. Come and enjoy your holiday in West Dorset and explore the 185 milion year old Jurassic Coast with so many wonderful places to see – you’ll be walking through history!

“Visit West Dorset recommends seeking out the local Tourist Information Centres (TIC) for advice and further info about where to go and where to stay”
enjoy a walk and the view to golden cap

Enjoying a walk and the view to Golden Cap

Dorset events, markets, exhibitions

When you’re planning your visit please take a moment to search what’s going on in the area. There are many Dorset events held throughout the year, some big, some small, such as the Weymouth Seafood Festival or the Dorset County Show. It’s definitely worth finding out more about these at a West Dorset Tourist Information Centre – it will make your visit even more memorable.

As well as events there are various excellent exhibitions, festivals and markets throughout Dorset and in Bridport, Dorchester and Lyme Regis to explore, plus many local and traditional village festivals, events and open days to enjoy, so please take a moment to see What’s On during your holiday.

chesil beach and st catherine's chapel, west dorset

Chesil Beach and St Catherine’s Chapel, West Dorset

West Dorset is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and that’s why so many visitors return time and time again to this picturesque and historic area where you can literally walk through history!

Discover great places to eat

On your holiday in West Dorset discover places to eat in the delightful eateries, traditional old inns with log fires, pubs, bars and fine restaurants. Enjoy the area’s delicious food and seafood, such as the award winning Hive Beach Cafe at Burton Bradstock Beach.

You’ll also discover delightful village tearooms where you can enjoy Dorset cream teas and local treats such as Dorset apple cake.

locally caught west dorset seafood

Freshly caught local seafood

West Dorset holiday accommodation

There’s certainly a great choice of holiday accommodation to choose for holidays in Dorset and along its Jurassic Coast, from caravan parks and touring & camping parks, such as West Dorset Leisure Holidays, or Freshwater Beach holiday park near Burton Bradstock, to bed & breakfast accommodation, guest houses, hotels and cottages – or just come in your camper van!

a west dorset touring and camping park

A West Dorset touring and camping park

West Dorset welcomes you

The easiest way to search for accommodation is to go online. There are numerous sites on search engines to choose from, or perhaps start with the official Dorset Tourism website at Visit-Dorset. Further information can also be found at VisitEngland or VisitBritain.

Just choose where you want to stay and what type of accommodation suits you,  from static caravan parks to hotels to bed & breakfast accommodation! If you prefer to phone, write or visit a West Dorset Tourist Information Centre, these details can be found on the Info Point at the bottom of each relevant page.

“Your West Dorset holiday or short break has something for everyone to enjoy”

now find out moreVisit West Dorset is featured in the article on 15 of the UK’s most charming towns on FlightNetwork – one of the world’s largest online travel agencies

Visit West Dorset wants to grab your attention to this amazing area of Dorset with realistic images in a clean and informative format!