Five places you must visit in Dorset

View of Dorset chalk cliffs and blue sea

You’re spoilt for choice when thinking about places to visit in Dorset. The county is blessed with a glorious variety of attractions, beaches and viewpoints – too many to take in on one holiday down here.

Here’s a list of five places we think you should visit while you’re with us. We’re sure you’ll get to some of them and if you’re with us for longer than a weekend, you may make it to all five.

If these aren’t enough, we’ve now added Five More Places to Visit in Dorset.

1. The Beach

Okay, we’re going to cheat with this one. We have a string of over forty beaches, from Highcliffe in the east to Lyme Regis in the far west. Some, like Studland, are wide expanses of sand, while others, like Chesil, are made from billions of pebbles.

We have beaches with a distinctly traditional seaside feel, such as Weymouth, while others are hidden gems, like Church Ope on Portland. We even have a few that are impossible to reach from the land, or, as at Worbarrow Bay, have very restricted access.

Whether you want it busy or quiet, hard to find or easy to access, there’s plenty of beach for you to visit in Dorset.

2. Corfe Castle

It’s a historic battlefield, a monumental ruin and possibly the site of buried treasure. It’s also one of the most distinctive castles in England and a fabulous place for a picnic.

There’s been a castle at Corfe for at least a thousand years. Today’s majestic ruins are the combination of medieval craftsmanship and Civil War gunpowder. The Normans began building the stone castle we see today and for centuries it was continually improved upon. It was besieged in the English Civil War and once captured, large sections were blown up to prevent it being used again. As for the treasure – the lady of the castle is said to have thrown her jewels down the well before the castle was captured.

The National Trust often organises activities in the castle grounds, particularly for children. The castle makes for a thrilling day out.

Corfe Castle

3. Brownsea Island

Red squirrels are a rare sight in England these days. One place you’ll find them is on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour. If you’re a nature lover, the island is somewhere you really should visit.

The island is a wildlife treasure, protected from the outside world by the harbour waters. There are hundreds of different plant species, along with a herd of sika deer, many varieties of birds, and, of course, the famous red squirrels.

Owned by the National Trust, Brownsea Island can only be reached by the pedestrian ferry that operates from Poole Harbour. It is closed during the winter months.

The Cobb, Lyme Regis

4. The Cobb, Lyme Regis

No visit to Dorset is complete without a visit to the famous Cobb at Lyme Regis. This massive seawall has featured in popular films, television programmes and literature, and you’ll certainly enjoy a sense of drama as you walk along it.

The Cobb has been built up over centuries, to protect the town’s small but busy harbour. Views all along it are spectacular, particularly to the east, where Golden Cap rises.

A visit to the Cobb also means taking in the small town of Lyme Regis. This section of the Jurassic Coast is famous for its fossils, so on your visit, glance down at the pebbles and you may spot an ammonite or two.

5. Dorchester

There’s plenty to fill a day out in the county town of Dorchester. The historic market town still displays a small section of Roman defensive wall and you can also visit the site of a rare Roman town house.

Other sites associated with the Romans are the Maumbury Rings, an earth amphitheatre on the edge of town, and the hilltop Maiden Castle. More recently, Dorchester was home to author Thomas Hardy and you can visit his home at Max Gate. The town boasts several museums, the most impressive of which is the Dorset County Museum.

Yet another landmark in Dorchester is Poundbury, the community planned by the Prince of Wales. Built in classical style, and still under construction, many have described it as looking like a film set. Don’t be put off – you’re welcome to walk or drive in, stroll around and visit some of the interesting shops.

There are plenty more 'must visit' places in Dorset

These are just a taste of where you can enjoy a day out in Dorset. We’ll be publishing more suggestions in the months to come.

More places to visit in Dorset