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Enjoy Autumn in Dorset

Autumn

Autumn is a wonderful time to explore Dorset. There's a relaxed atmosphere across the county, as it sits back from another busy summer season. There's time and space to breathe, as visitor numbers thin and the pace of life slows down a little.

Here are just some of the delights that you can enjoy in Dorset this autumn. 

Golden Views 

The Dorset hills glow with gold at this time of year, as the leaves change colour to mark the approach of winter. There are miles of countryside walks to discover, each one offering unique views and vistas.

Popular places to walk near us include:

Badbury Rings, near Blandford. The name reflects the circles of this Iron Age hill fort, where ancient trees have been allowed to flourish. The site offers wonderful views across Dorset. It's now managed by the National Trust.

Kingston Lacy, near Wimborne. This historic house, set in acres of glorious countryside and woodland, is not far from Badbury Rings. Indeed, the Rings are part of the same estate, and both are managed by the National Trust. A highlight is the Japanese Garden, with its colourful acers, and the Cedar Avenue is impressive at any time of year.

Maiden Castle, near Dorchester. This is another hill fort, and one of the largest and most complex in Europe. It's famously associated with local Celtic tribes fighting off the invading Romans. The high, exposed site offers excellent views, but it's something of a climb to get up there.

These are just three of the many walking opportunities around Dorset. Don't forget, we're also very near to the South West Coast Path and the popular clifftop viewpoint of White Nothe.

Tasty Treats 

Dorset's food and drink industry, with its wealth of local produce, is a secret that foodies don't want to share.

You can visit some of our producers in their own premises, while others can be enjoyed in local restaurants, pubs and cafes. Once you've found something that you love, be sure to buy some of their products to take home with you!

Here are just a few of our local producers:

Hall & Woodhouse, brewers of Badger Beer. You'll find Badger Beers served across Dorset, and further afield. Their brews include the classic Tanglefoot, the fruity Cranborne Poacher and the sweet, spicy Blandford Fly.

You can visit their brewery shop in Blandford. Unfortunately, their brewery tours are suspended at the moment.

Pamphill Dairy, with its farm shop, butchery and cafe, specialises in local produce, including their own ice cream. They also have a number of artisan makers based at their site, giving you more to see when you visit.

Chococo handcrafted chocolates is somewhere not to miss when you visit the seaside in Swanage. Unlike many of our other local producers, Chococo has its own shop, where it sells not only single-origin chocolates, but also its own range of gelato. Stop by either for ice cream or, if the autumn weather is closing in, for a tasty hot chocolate.

You'll encounter plenty of farm shops as you travel around the county. Each one offers a unique mix of produce, much of which is locally sourced. 

Indoors for all weathers 

Autumn is a wonderful time of year, but the weather can be tricky. While Dorset is one of the UK's sunniest counties, even we get a splash of rain that persuades us to spend a day inside.

Fortunately, there's plenty for you to do in Dorset, whatever the weather.

Nothe Fort in Weymouth. The massive walls of Nothe Fort have overlooked Weymouth harbour for over 150 years. The walls are riddled with rooms and tunnels, and it's rumoured that others remain to be discovered, having been sealed up years ago.

Even if you can't find the old tunnels, you can definitely hunt for mice (they have loads for you to find), and perhaps even a ghost or two.

Dorset County Museum in Dorchester has recently reopened after a multi-million-pound rebuilding project. The museum is home to a wealth of artefacts from many different periods of history, along with a host of fossils, including dinosaur bones from hundreds of millions of years ago.

It also houses a collection of historic Dorset photographs, and items from writers including Thomas Hardy.

Farmer Palmer's family friendly farm is hugely popular with younger children. It offers a variety of experiences, from animal feeding to pedal tractors, a fun barn and a dinosaur trail. There's plenty to keep you busy all day, even if the weather isn't great.

Have a fantastic autumn in Dorset

Is it a Dorset holiday if you don't visit the seaside at least once? Our beaches, harbours and cliff top walks are open all year round, but they have a special magic on mild autumn days, particularly when they're bathed in the softer sunshine of this time in the year.

One thing you can be sure of when you're with us in the autumn - there's no shortage of places to visit and things to do!