Discover Dorset

Food and Drink, Activity, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Ruth on 8th September 2023

Discover Dorset

Continuing our Great British Outdoors series, we’re dreaming of the coast and countryside of Dorset. Combining breathtaking scenery with vibrant towns, it is a brilliant destination whether you’re planning on lounging on white sands, roaming the rolling hills or visiting historic sites.

Dorset is blessed with some of the best beaches in the UK; from the turquoise seas of Lulworth Cove to the dune-fringed white sands of Studland, you don’t have to go far to immerse yourself in a laidback, beach holiday atmosphere. And with much of the county protected by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can spend endless days wandering the green hills enjoying incredible vistas all the way to the Isle of Wight!

History lovers will find this county fascinating too – from the Jurassic era with its fossils still embedded in Dorset’s cliffs, to World War Two and the eerie abandoned village of Tyneham, there is plenty here to stimulate your imagination. Wherever you choose to explore, our collection of Dorset cottages provide the perfect setting for your next break in the Great British outdoors.

10 best places to stay


Coastal Dorset

Golden shores adorned with fossils

With almost 100 miles of coast, Dorset is a beach lover's paradise. You’ll find some of the most breathtaking settings for coastal walks here, along the South West Coast Path, atop giant cliffs studded with fossils, and across golden sands lapped by turquoise seas. Uncover relics of another world by fossil-hunting along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site or take a dip in the sea during your break. 

Leave footprints in the sand as you explore dunes, tip-toe through lapping waves and play games on a beach holiday in Dorset. Wander the Jurassic Coast to discover the famed shores of Chesil Beach, Sandbanks and West Bay; some of Dorset’s beaches truly must be seen to be believed!

Best Dorset beaches

Dorset coast

Dog-friendly Dorset

Enjoy scenic scampers along the South Coast

Treat your four-legged family members to a dog-friendly holiday in Dorset. Home to one of Britain’s most spectacular coastlines and wide-open countryside radiant with natural beauty, tails won’t be able to stop wagging. Enjoy long walks together fuelled by fresh air and glorious views, through chocolate-box thatched villages and past ancient monuments, or head to the Jurassic Coast to spend your days getting salty paws and toes on one of the many dog-friendly beaches in Dorset, before retiring to a welcoming dog-friendly pub for dinner.

Dine by the sea in a beach cafe with your dog by your side or head out to visit pet-friendly attractions in Bournemouth and Poole during your getaway. Dog-friendly Dorset boasts a wealth of adventures for humans and their canine companions. 

Discover iconic filming locations from Broadchurch, dune-backed beaches and secret coves that look as though they belong on a Caribbean island in our pick of dog-friendly beaches along the Dorset coast. 

Dog-friendly beaches

Dog-friendly Dorset

Activities in Dorset

Roam the coast and countryside

With over 1,000 miles of coast and countryside to explore, Dorset has plenty to offer those looking for adventure, even if there's a slight chance of rain. If you’re dreaming of a beach holiday, spend your days exploring the 88 miles of coastline here. Stoke your adrenaline by scrambling the cliffs before plunging into the sea below on a coasteering excursion, or keep it more sedate by discovering the coastline by kayak or boat. Or comb the Jurassic Coast to find fossils from millions of years ago studding the cliffs - a great day out for families. 

You can also explore the coastline on foot. Roam the South West Coast Path from one end of the county to another to take in the sparkling waterside views. Climb to the top of Golden Cap, the highest point in southern England, or stop off at popular beauty spots such as Durdle Door and Old Harry Rocks along Dorset’s winding coast. You might even recognise famous filming locations from Far from the Madding Crowd!

If you’d rather stay inland, Dorset has miles of countryside to explore within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including some beautiful sub-tropical gardens. Set out on the gentle Two Rivers Walk, spy the famous Cerne Giant or explore the woodland of Brownsea Island, abundant with flora and fauna. Or, you can walk up the steep Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, famous for being the setting of the 1970s Hovis adverts! Not to mention all of the spectacular National Trust sites and an abundance of mighty castles in Dorset, too.

Fun things to do

Dorset activities

Food and drink in Dorset

Dine out on the freshest local food

With the very best produce from the coast and countryside, Dorset is a fantastic place to visit for those who like their food. Whether you want to dine out in fancy restaurants or grab some fresh food for a picnic on the beach, you’ll find something to whet your appetite.

Visit one of the many harbour towns in Dorset, like Lulworth, Swanage and Weymouth, where you can feast on freshly landed fish and seafood to your heart’s content. Or seek out a traditional tearoom where you can sample some Dorset apple cake, perfect with a little clotted cream, or try some Dorset Blue Vinney – a cheese with the same protected geographical status as gruyère!

Dorset also produces some excellent drinks which you can try at one of the many traditional pubs in the county – look out for Palmers beer, Langham wine and a wide range of ciders.

Top Dorset pubs

Dorset food and drink

Where to stay in Dorset

Choose country charm or coastal chic

Whether you’re dreaming of a holiday by the coast or a countryside break, we have a cottage to suit you. Our range of coastal cottages in Dorset are close to the sparkling sea, where you can wake up to look out over the glistening water, enjoy an early morning walk on the beach and savour a sundowner while the sun sets over the sea.

Our rural cottages in Dorset are surrounded by the green hills the county is famous for and offer a tranquil haven where you can relax and unwind. With features like roaring fires, thatched roofs and large gardens, you can enjoy the rolling views from your home from home as you listen to the sounds of nature around you with nothing to disturb your peace.

We also have a wide range of cottages to suit the needs of any party – choose from dog-friendly, family-friendly and group accommodation across Dorset and find the perfect setting for your outdoor adventure with your loved ones.

All Dorset cottages

Dorset cottages

The Great British Outdoors

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.