West Dorset Blog
Why you should consider a holiday park for your West Dorset holiday
Guest blog by Robbie from Holiday Park Guru
If holiday parks make you think of Heidi Hi and knobbly knee competitions then I’d encourage you to take another look. Nowadays, they provide a cheap accommodation option for families or groups holidaying together.
Dorset has a choice of more than 25 holiday parks or more if you include those which offer things like posh lodges rather than caravans. Make sure you do a bit of research first as they vary massively in terms of quality and what they offer.
”Broadly speaking, you can split Dorset’s holiday parks into two groups”
The first group of holiday parks are big, busy and full of entertainment. If you felt inclined you could probably go for a full week without leaving the site, although personally I’d rather explore the county’s coastline a little. They are usually part of big chains and nearly always have indoor swimming pools as well as a restaurant, a variety of sports pitches and kids’ clubs. In the evening, there is usually entertainment for the grown-ups. The posher ones have saunas, gyms and more unusual activities like bushcraft or watersports.
You’ll generally find these busy parks around the bigger towns in Dorset, so you can also get to the most popular family attractions without a long drive.
The second group of holiday parks are those which offer only very basic facilities, with a focus on location, peace and relaxation. If evening entertainment, noisy swimming pools and hundreds of other families sounds like a nightmare then I’d take a look at these.
Although quieter parks usually don’t offer much more entertainment than a launderette and a playing field, they are a decent base for exploring Dorset. They are often in prime locations near to the Jurassic coastline and have a friendly, family-run feel.
Prices vary, but if you’re travelling in a group of 4, 6 or 8 you’ll struggle to find a cheaper alternative (unless you’re willing to camp or have a generous aunt with a second home in Lyme Regis).
Of course, it’s worth reading a few reviews to get an idea of whether it is a nice modern park or one which is due for an upgrade. Most big holiday parks have an overall review score, which will include the usual range of people who thought it was amazing through to those who had their week ruined because they lost their pound in the swimming pool locker.
The second is reviews of different class of caravan. If a big holiday park has recently upgraded or replaced its ‘bronze’ caravans you might find they get better reviews than the more expensive options.
It’s time for the summer holidays
It’s nearly time to put the school books and uniform away until September and start thinking about long dreamy summer days and nights with what to do for the summer and especially a family holiday or short break visit. Yes, it’s schools out for summer!
If you’ve already got the annual summer holiday planned and booked, then great! But there’s always the children to keep entertained throughout the long summer holidays to consider. Perhaps a shortbreak or weekend visit on a camping site or caravan park would go down well with everyone?
Camping is fun
To keep everyone happy why not escape and enjoy some weekends of fun and exploring another area. Here’s an idea – kids just love camping! Campsites are great places to have fun and for the children to make friends in a good and happy environment – and the grown-ups can pull up some chairs and chill out and relax.
West Dorset holiday parks
It just so happens that West Dorset, with its many wonderful caravan, touring and camping parks is an ideal place to go, whether it’s a last minute caravan deal, going camping or taking a camper van or touring caravan.
Perhaps a great location to explore the coast would be midway along the West Dorset coastline, right in the heart of Broadchurch country – the TV series! There’s a great selection of parks to choose from around the Bridport area, such as a holiday park just near the harbour at West Bay, and at Burton Bradstock which is practically on the beach, or if you prefer a countryside setting there’s a holiday park slightly inland near the village.
The family will enjoy fun on the beach, idyllic countryside to explore, discover beautiful villages and market towns and the amazing Jurassic Coast – an outstanding area in the south west of England.
What to do in West Dorset
There are many and wonderful places to explore in West Dorset and along the Jurassic coastline. Sun, sea and sand and there are some fine beaches in Dorset where they’ll enjoy a sandy beach and splashing about in the sea.
Along the Jurassic Coast is a world renowned area for fossil hunters. The kids will love having a go at fossil hunting on Charmouth beach – you never know what they could find – but remember to follow the fossil hunting rules for your safety.
West Dorset harbours
Take a trip to one of the idyllic harbours at West Bay, Lyme Regis or Weymouth where you can stroll around, enjoy a nice ice cream or a traditional fish and chip lunch or dinner. You’ll see some wonderful boats and perhaps see some fish being brought into the harbour. They’ll certainly enjoy a boat trip and it’s even possible to hire a river boat.
Family attractions to enjoy
With so many exhibitions and museums in the market towns to try out, the kids will love places like the Terracotta Warriors Museum, the Dinosaur Museum, Teddy Bear Museum, Tutankamun Exhibition or the Mummies Exihibition. Then there’s the seaside resort of Weymouth with its many visitor attractions including the Sea Life Adventure Park and the Jurassic Skyline.
Take the family on a visit to Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park, and if they don’t mind a bit of history have a look at the various artefacts and discover Dorset history in Dorset County Museum or the Keep Military Museum and then there are the Fossil museums where you’ll be amazed at all the fossils being displayed. There are also various gardens to have a kick about or just plain old running around.
Swans & children’s farm
In Abbotsbury they’ll certainly enjoy going to see the swans in the 600 year old Swannery and also to the Children’s Farm and Smugglers Barn, as well as seeing the swans on the river and by the reeds at West Bay harbour.
Taking family photos of your short break is a great idea too, especially with some of the best and amazing backdrops to finish of a beautiful photo.
So there you are, with some suggestions to keep the kids entertained during the long summer holidays, and having some fun yourself too, and great tales to tell the other kids when they go back to school in September.
Come and visit West Dorset – it has it all!
Yippee! Schools Out for Summer!
Find out more about West Dorset and the Jurassic Coast at vistwestdorset.co.uk
Visit West Dorset is featured in the FlightNetwork article on 15 of the UK’s most charming towns. FlightNetwork is one of the world’s largest online travel agencies based in Canada (click on the link and check out the article).
Want to visit or holiday in West Dorset?
Read the FlightNetwork article from the link above and discover what West Dorset can offer its visitors for their holidays, weekend or day visits in this beautiful area of Dorset in the south west of England.
Find out what there is to see and do and you’ll discover why so many visitors return time and time again to this picturesque, ancient and amazing area!
Plus, there’s loads more to find out about West Dorset at visitwestdorset.com
Visit West Dorset
- Come and visit West Dorset and discover this beautiful, ancient and historic area
- Enjoy the stunning Jurassic Coast World Heritage site
- Explore the picturesque rolling Countryside and the glorious Coastal Views
- Discover beautiful Gardens, wonderful Castles, ancient Monuments and great Churches
- West Dorset has great Visitor Attractions and Activities with something for everyone
- Visit the various organised Events, Exhibitions and Festivals throughout the year
- Amazing and outstanding Clifftop, Countryside and Village Walks
- Explore picturesque harbours, ancient Market Towns and picture post card Villages
- Enjoy some of the best sandy beaches you can find along the Jurassic Coast
- Take a drive along the exceptionally scenic B3157 coastal road
- It’s a great destination for your Holidays, Weekends and Day Visits
- There’s all types of places to stay from Caravan & Camping Parks to luxury Hotels
Discover more about West Dorset today at www.visitwestdorset.com
Chedington Gardens and Arts & Crafts Open Day
Come and visit us on our…
Gardens and Arts & Crafts Open Day
Chedington Village, West Dorset
Saturday, 3 June (11am – 6pm) Admission £5
Explore 13 gardens in this pretty conservation village of Chedington in West Dorset, ranging in sizes, styles and personalities from small cottage gardens to the extensive grounds of Chedington Court.
As well as the delightful gardens meet 10 of the local and home-grown Artists and Craft Makers who will be displaying a wide variety of Arts & Crafts browse and for sale from their studios/workshops.
Refreshments available in the Village Hall and Chedington Court Great Hall
Make a note in your diary and come along to our Chedington Open Day – there will be something for everyone to enjoy!
Find out more at:
or call Susan on 01935 891925
Chedington Gardens and Arts & Crafts Open Day
- Pretty conservation village of Chedington in West Dorset
- 13 different styles of gardens to explore
- Plus grounds of Chedington Court
- Meet Artists and Craft Makers
- Visit their workshops
- Browse and Arts & Crafts for sale
- Refreshments available
- There’s something for everyone
Spotlight on West Dorset…
Explore Portesham village
Portesham in West Dorset is one of those villages you can drive past without stopping as you think there’s probably not a lot there. Next time you’re passing Portesham village pull in and stop and you’ll be pleasantly surprised what this small village can offer.
It’s in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and just 2 miles from Abbotsbury and approximately 11 miles from Bridport and under 8 miles from Dorchester or Weymouth.
Along a scenic coast road…
The drive along the B3157 coast road is an exceptionally scenic route taking in the villages and towns of West Dorset with its amazing views of the Jurassic Coast and the beautiful countryside.
Stop here in Portesham and you’ll discover a delightful small village below Blackdown Hill which rises to approximately 236 metres.
It’s very refreshing to take an energetic walk up Blackdown Hill and beyond. The views are stunning looking back down over the village of Portesham and over to the coast. It’s definitely worth the effort!
Follow the footpaths to the Hardy Monument – his 18thC house where Hardy lived is on the main road. This monument is to Captain Thomas Hardy who fought under Lord Nelson on the HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. The monument stands at 22 metres high and you’ll enjoy the 360° views of the surrounding countryside of the county.
Also above on Blackdown Hill you can explore the South Dorset Ridgeway, a natural causeway track used during the Neolithic era and now still a great area for walking. Follow in the footsteps of Neolithic man and discover this ancient track.
Monuments and earthworks…
Walk along the footpaths of the South Dorset Ridgeway an explore ancient monuments and earthworks including the Hellstone long barrow on the hill above Portesham. Hellstone is at least 5,000 years old and one of the oldest monuments in Dorset.
Also on the hill above Portesham you can connect with the long distance South West Coast Path, which is great whether it’s just for a short walk or amble, or for more energetic and medium walks. For walkers who like a challenge and experienced long distance walkers the coastal path covers 630 miles around the south west coast of England from Minehead in Somerset to the shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset.
Glorious walks everywhere…
There are some excellent walks along footpaths and bridleways all over the surrounding area, and one excellent and enjoyable such walk is along the disused railway line from Portesham to Abbotsbury. It’s approximately 5 miles and easy going through beautiful West Dorset countryside.
Stop by, stay and eat…
There’s the excellent Kings Arm Portesham Pub & Restaurant by the main road serving local ales and cider as well as great food. Close by is a busy and the lovely Ducks Farm Shop selling locally produced products and also has an excellent cafe serving food including delicious breakfasts.
If touring and camping is your thing there’s an excellent, and friendly, campsite close to the Farm Shop. Portesham Dairy Farm Campsite is a great camping & touring park with pitches available for caravans, motorhomes and tents.
Visit Portesham and enjoy outstanding walks up in the hills and along footpaths and bridleways.
So there you go! Portesham is a great little village to stop, explore and enjoy outstanding walks up in the hills and along footpaths and bridleways.
Just to recap look at these great points – you won’t be disappointed!
- Great area for walking with paths and bridleways
- Just 2 miles from Abbotsbury and Swannery
- Close to the South Dorset Ridgeway and South West Coast Path
- Access to Hellstone long barrow, ancient monument and earthworks
- Captain Thomas Hardy monument with 360° views
- On the exceptionally scenic B3157 coastal road
- Ducks Farm Shop
- Kings Arms Pub & Restaurant
- Portesham Dairy Farm caravan, touring & camping park
To discover more about West Dorset go to:
Spotlight On… Lyme Regis
Come and explore Lyme Regis in West Dorset, and you’ll discover a picturesque and historic seaside town in a great location with an excellent sandy beach – and it’s right on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast!
Lyme Regis is a great seaside town to visit whether it’s for a day, weekend or longer holiday breaks. Explore this delightful Jurassic Coast town and you’ll soon discover it’s a great place just to relax in the sun on a glorious beach. If you prefer why not go fossil hunting – or you could always try some fishing.
Or why not just spend a pleasant morning or afternoon wandering and exploring the narrow streets and footpaths throughout this delightful town and coastal area – you never know what you might come across!
Along the way you’ll discover some delightful art galleries in the town and in the surrounding area. Oh, and don’t forget to have a relaxing stroll along the excellent sandy beach.
The ancient harbour is known as The Cobb – remember that scene from ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ starring Meryl Streep, well this was filmed here in the early 1980s.
The Cobb is very long, curved and great for walking along with spectacular views looking back on to Lyme Regis and the amazing Jurassic coast.
Famous for its fossils
Lyme Regis and this Jurassic Coast area is famous for its fossils. Fossil hunters come from all over the world to see what can be found here, and there are several museums and shops displaying fossils – so it’s a great place for exploring! Also, don’t forget to check for organised history and fossil walks that are available.
…and things to do!
Lyme Regis is great for visitors and with many events and festivals being held here throughout the year, as well as various visitor attractions to enjoy such as the Aquarium, Dinorsaur Land and Lyme Regis Museum – and for great family fun why not enjoy a game of crazy golf!
If literature is your thing then Lyme Regis is also a great area to visit for anyone who adores the life and novels of Jane Austen. She visited Lyme Regis many times and was well known in the area. Her novels often include references and descriptions of this delightful picturesque and historic coastal town.
…as well as places stay and eat!
Staying in Lyme Regis is a great choice on your visit with a wide variety of accommodation available. There’s various types of shops in the town to explore, and some great cafes, pubs and restaurants around whether it’s to enjoy a breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Come and explore Lyme Regis and discover this picturesque and historic seaside town!
More Spotlight On! coming soon
Explore the Jurassic coastline in West Dorset!
A Visit West Dorset blog…
Here at Visit West Dorset we want to grab your attention to explore West Dorset’s coastline – the Jurassic Coast! The idea is not to overload the reader with loads of text and 100s of photos but just give a taster in bitesize blog extracts. More information can be found on the visitwestdorset website and we hope we’ve held your interest to discover more about this glorious area of Dorset.
So let’s get going with the second Jurassic bitesize blog from Visit West Dorset and discover a little more about the Jurassic Coast, after all it’s a World Heritage Site.
OK, read on and you’ll see why so many people, from all over the world, visit this stunning coastline – its’s a 185 million years in the making!
Visit West Dorset and its Jurassic coastline and you’ll find it’s an amazing place to explore at all times of the year.
The second Jurassic Coast extract from Visit West Dorset…
The Jurassic Coast – a World Heritage Site
Wow, where to begin… about this stunning, rugged, beautiful and pre-historic UNESCO World Heritage site Jurassic Coast – 185 million years in the making! It has everything along this geological historic coastline from amazing rock formations, dramatic cliffs and bays, fossil sites and outstanding coastal and clifftop views. The Jurassic area of south west England covers approximately 95 miles along the stunning Dorset coastline.
It’s stunning… to see this geological history in close up through various periods of this area’s Jurassic history over the last 185 million years. And it’s right here and in front of your eyes! The Jurassic Coast World Heritage site – a must visit area when you’re in Dorset!
More about the Jurassic Coast coming soon!