25 Best Things To Do In Dorset

Things To Do in Dorset

Are you planning a caravan holiday in Dorset and looking for inspiration for days out?

Read on to discover our list of the 25 Best Things To Do In Dorset!

Dorset is a coastal paradise renowned for its stunning beaches and picturesque coastline. With its golden sands and breathtaking cliffs, the county boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing day by the seaside, water sports adventures, or exploring hidden coves, Dorset’s beaches offer many options.

From the iconic Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove to the bustling resort town of Bournemouth, there is a beach in Dorset to suit every preference and create lasting memories.

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1. Jurassic Coast

Durdle Door Jurassic Coast, Things to do in Dorset
Durdle Door Jurassic Coast

Step right into the pages of a prehistoric journey and set your adventurous spirit free at the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site spanning 95 miles from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset. Not only is it a geologist’s paradise, but it’s also a haven for anyone with an appreciation for stunning natural beauty.

Imagine walking on the same ground where dinosaurs once roamed and where ancient oceans teemed with life. This world-renowned coast gets its name from the age-old layers of sedimentary rock that can be found here, a testament to an astounding 185 million years of Earth’s history.

The Jurassic Coast is not just a geologist’s delight; it’s an absolute treasure trove for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Among the best photo ops are the natural limestone arch of Durdle Door, the towering white chalk cliffs at Old Harry Rocks, and the layered cliffs at West Bay — remember the dramatic scenery in the TV series “Broadchurch”? Those were filmed here! Each site offers a unique perspective on the ever-changing and evocative landscape shaped by time and the elements.

Jurassic Coast
Jurassic Coast

For a truly interactive experience, try fossil hunting at Charmouth Beach or Lyme Regis, where you could find anything from tiny ammonites to substantial dinosaur remnants.

But the Jurassic Coast is not just about history and fossils. It’s also a place of outstanding natural beauty that invites relaxation and peaceful walks.

So whether you’re a history buff, a passionate photographer, or someone seeking tranquillity, the Jurassic Coast awaits you with its timeless charm and beauty.

🦕 Book 10+ Stops on the Jurassic Coast! 🦕

2. Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth Beach
Bournemouth Beach

Get ready for a day full of fun and sun at Bournemouth Beach. This is one of the most loved beaches in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. It has golden sand perfect for building sandcastles, clean waters that are great for swimming, and a lively pier full of things to do.

The beach is wide, so there’s lots of room to find a nice spot to lay down your towel or set up a beach chair. The water is usually calm, which is perfect for a peaceful swim or paddle.

Don’t forget to check out Bournemouth Pier. It’s full of life, with shops, cafes, and even an arcade. A zip line from the end of the pier to the beach is a lot of fun.

The main beach in Bournemouth is an easy walk through the gardens to the town centre if you fancy a bit of retail therapy or need some snacks for a beach picnic.

3. Tank Museum

Tank Museum
Tank Museum

If you’re a history enthusiast or just love exploring unique attractions, then a visit to The Tank Museum in Bovington is a must. Known for housing one of the largest collections of tanks in the world, it’s a destination that promises an intriguing journey through military history.

With over 300 vehicles, the museum showcases tanks from all eras, including the first tank, ‘Little Willie,’ to the modern-day Challenger 2. It’s fascinating to see the evolution of these powerful machines up close and to learn about their impact on warfare over the years.

But the museum isn’t just about looking at tanks. It offers interactive exhibits, engaging displays, and live demonstrations that make the experience immersive. You can even step inside some of the tanks, which is a real thrill.

Additionally, the museum does an excellent job of putting a human face to the stories of those who served in and alongside tanks, offering visitors a greater understanding of what life was like for the soldiers.

Whether you’re a military history buff or simply looking for a unique day out, The Tank Museum offers an enriching and eye-opening experience.

Address: Bovington, Dorset, BH20 6JG
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £17.55 (Online) and £19.50 (On the door)

4. Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Things to do in Dorset
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Get ready for a truly unique nature experience at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens. Nestled in the Dorset countryside, these gardens span over 20 acres and house a stunning collection of rare and exotic plants from all corners of the globe.

As you stroll through the winding paths, you’ll be amazed by the diversity of plants. From towering palm trees to vibrant flower displays, every turn reveals a new surprise. The garden’s subtropical climate allows a wide range of species to thrive here that you wouldn’t typically find in the UK.

They’re also home to beautiful features like the charming Koi pond, the serene woodland walk, and the sculpture exhibits that add a unique touch to the landscape. And don’t forget to check out the viewpoint at the top of Magnolia Avenue – the views over the Jurassic Coast are simply breathtaking.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens offer a tranquil retreat for nature lovers. It’s a peaceful, beautiful place that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a different world.

Address: Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, Weymouth, Dorset, DT3 4LA
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £12.50

5. Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle, Things to do in Dorset
Corfe Castle

Step back in time with a visit to Corfe Castle, an iconic fortification that stands proudly above the charming village of Corfe. With its rich history and commanding presence, it’s no wonder that this castle is a favourite amongst history buffs and photographers alike.

Corfe Castle has seen over a thousand years of history. From the times of William the Conqueror to its partial demolition in the English Civil War, every stone tells a story. Wander through the ruins and feel the echoes of the past – from royal intrigue to bloody battles, Corfe Castle has seen it all.

Photographers, pack your gear because Corfe Castle offers plenty of fantastic photo opportunities. The view of the castle ruins from the village below, especially when lit by the rising or setting sun, is quite spectacular. Alternatively, climb up to the castle for panoramic views of the surrounding Purbeck Hills and village – these breathtaking landscapes offer a perfect backdrop for your castle shots.

In essence, a visit to Corfe Castle offers more than just a look at an old castle – it’s a journey into England’s vibrant history, an opportunity for stunning photography, and a chance to explore the picturesque Dorset countryside.

Address: Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5EZ
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £12.10 (Off Peak) or £13.20 (Peak)

🚴 Join Old Harry Rocks and Corfé Castle Guided E-bike Tour 🚴

6. Monkey World

Monkey World Dorset
Monkey World

Animal lovers, brace yourselves for an exciting day out at Monkey World, an amazing primate rescue centre located in Dorset. Home to a variety of monkeys and apes rescued from all over the world, it offers visitors an unforgettable experience while promoting animal welfare and conservation.

The sanctuary is home to over 250 primates of 20 different species. From the tiniest marmosets to the mighty orangutans, each inhabitant has its own unique story of rescue and rehabilitation. The expert keepers are always on hand to share these stories, making your visit both fun and educational.

But it’s not all about watching – there are interactive features too! Learn about primates at the Great Ape play area, or take the younger ones to the adventure playground. And don’t miss the daily keeper talks that give you a deeper understanding of these amazing animals and the work that goes into their care.

Visiting Monkey World is not just an enjoyable day out, but also a way to support a worthy cause. Every visit contributes to the rescue and rehabilitation of primates who have been neglected, making you a part of their journey to a happier life.

Address: Longthorns, near Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6HH
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £16.50 (Online) or £18.50 (On the door)

7. Dorset Boat Tours

Poole Harbour
Poole Harbour

If you’re ready to experience Dorset’s stunning coastline and picturesque harbours uniquely, consider hopping on boat tours. They offer a fresh vantage point to appreciate the area’s natural beauty while basking in the calming sea breeze.

Dorset Boat Tours sail across a diverse range of scenery. Witness the dramatic cliffs of the Jurassic Coast, the tranquil sandy beaches, the bustling harbours, and even secluded spots only accessible by water. Every sight is a treat for the eyes and a perfect opportunity for those unforgettable holiday photos.

Don’t forget to look out for the local wildlife. Depending on the tour you choose, you might spot playful seals basking on the rocks, a range of seabirds soaring in the sky, and if you’re lucky, even dolphins making a splash!

Many boat tours also come with knowledgeable guides, ready to enrich your trip with fascinating stories and historical insights about the sights you pass. And for those who fancy it, some tours offer a sunset cruise, letting you witness the mesmerizing spectacle of the sun setting over the Dorset coast.

So whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or someone just looking for a relaxing trip on the water, a Dorset Boat Tour is a unique way to soak in the area’s beauty and charm.

🛥 Check Out A Round-trip Jurassic Coastal Cruise to Swanage Boat Tour 🛥

8. Hardy’s Cottage

Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy

Step into the world of renowned novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, with a visit to his birthplace in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset. Nestled in the heart of the countryside, this charming thatched cottage gives visitors a genuine glimpse into 19th-century rural life.

Exploring Hardy’s Cottage is like stepping back in time. From the quaint furniture to the open hearth, everything in the cottage has been carefully preserved to retain its original character. As you wander through the rooms, you can almost imagine Hardy himself writing his famous works in the tranquillity of this idyllic setting.

The cottage, however, is only the beginning of your journey. Hardy’s love for nature is evident in his works, and the surrounding area reflects this passion. The cottage sits on the edge of Thorncombe Woods, making it a perfect gateway for scenic walks. Wander through the dense woodland and heathland, immerse yourself in the gentle beauty of the area, and you’ll soon see why this landscape was such an inspiration for Hardy.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of rural Dorset and walk in the footsteps of one of England’s most celebrated authors.

Address: Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QJ
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 4 PM, Closed on Mondays (except Bank Holiday Mondays)
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £9.00 (Standard) or £9.90 (Gift-Aid)

9. Sculpture by the Lakes

Sculptures by the Lakes
Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

For those seeking an artistic retreat immersed in nature, Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset is an enchanting destination. Spread across 26 acres of beautifully curated gardens and lakes, this outdoor sculpture park offers a tranquil escape amidst stunning artworks and breathtaking scenery.

As you meander through the park, you’ll encounter a variety of striking sculptures, each thoughtfully placed to complement its surroundings. Crafted by renowned sculptor Simon Gudgeon, these artworks strike a perfect balance with the lush landscape, creating a harmonious blend of art and nature that is both inspiring and relaxing.

The park’s tranquil setting makes it an ideal spot for relaxation. You can settle down with a book by the lakeside, meditate amidst the serene landscape, or simply soak in the beauty around you. For a more immersive experience, you can explore the park’s well-maintained trails.

A visit to Sculpture by the Lakes is an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature and art.

Address: Pallington Lakes, Dorchester, DT2 8QU
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM, Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £14.50

10. Christchurch Priory

Christchurch Priory
Christchurch Priory

Immerse yourself in history with a visit to Christchurch Priory, the longest parish church in the country. Nestled in the picturesque town of Christchurch, this remarkable building is an architectural marvel, brimming with stunning details and centuries of history.

From the moment you first catch sight of the impressive structure, you’ll be captivated by its grandeur. Its towering spire, intricate stone masonry, and vast proportions are a testament to the architectural prowess of the medieval period.

Step inside, and the awe-inspiring details continue. The Priory’s interior is adorned with stunning stained glass windows, ancient tombs, and beautifully carved choir stalls. Each corner of the church holds its historical significance, from the 12th-century Norman crypt to the spectacular Lady Chapel.

But the Christchurch Priory is more than just its architecture. It’s also a place of serenity and contemplation. Whether you’re exploring the hallowed nave, sitting in quiet reflection, or attending one of the regular services, the sense of peace within the Priory’s ancient walls is palpable.

Going to Christchurch Priory is like taking a trip through time, learning about England’s rich architectural and religious history.

Address: Quay Road, Christchurch, BH23 1BU
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 4 PM (Monday to Saturday) and 12 PM to 4 PM (Sunday)

11. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum Garden

Explore a world of art and history at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth. This museum is a great source of beautiful art, interesting artefacts, and opulent interiors. It is housed in a beautiful Victorian villa.

You’ll discover a fascinating collection of paintings and sculptures alongside a wealth of artefacts collected by the Russell-Cotes family on their global travels. Each room tells its unique story, reflecting the family’s eclectic tastes and love for art and culture.

The building itself is a masterpiece. From the intricately decorated rooms to the grand staircase, the villa is a testament to Victorian opulence. It’s easy to lose track of time as you wander through its lavish rooms, each filled with precious artworks and antiques.

But don’t forget to venture outside into the beautifully maintained gardens. Offering stunning views over the Bournemouth coast, the gardens are perfect for relaxing after exploring the museum.

Visit the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, where it’s not just about viewing art – it’s about immersing yourself in a rich cultural tapestry that spans continents and eras.

Address: East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth, BH1 3AA
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM, closed on Mondays (except Bank Holiday Mondays)
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £8.50

12. Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island
Brownsea Island

Immerse yourself in nature with a visit to Brownsea Island, a tranquil oasis in the heart of Poole Harbour. Known for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes, it’s a perfect retreat for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful getaway.

Brownsea Island showcases Dorset’s diverse landscapes, from dense woodland and heathland to peaceful lagoons and sandy beaches. Take a stroll, breathe in the fresh sea air, and enjoy the breathtaking views around every corner.

But what truly sets Brownsea Island apart is its wildlife. It’s home to various bird species, including the rare and endangered red squirrels. Keep an eye out for these charming creatures as you explore the island – catching a glimpse of them is a delight for any wildlife enthusiast.

In addition to the natural attractions, the island has a rich history with points of interest, such as the quaint church of St. Mary’s and Brownsea Castle. These add an extra layer of intrigue to your visit.

Whether you’re a passionate nature lover, an avid bird watcher, or someone searching for tranquillity, Brownsea Island offers a refreshing escape from busy city life.

🛥 Enjoy A Poole Harbor and Islands Cruise 🛥

13. Highcliffe Castle

Highcliffe Castle
Highcliffe Castle

Go on a journey of history and architecture at Highcliffe Castle, a beautifully restored 19th-century mansion nestled on Dorset’s picturesque coastline. This Gothic Revival masterpiece, surrounded by stunning gardens and offering panoramic sea views, is an unmissable destination for any visitor to the area.

Built in the early 1800s, Highcliffe Castle is a prime example of Romantic and Picturesque architectural design. From its grand turrets to its detailed stonework, every element of the castle reflects the elegance of its era. The interiors are equally captivating, with ornate details and faithfully restored rooms that transport you back to the 19th century.

Over the years, the castle hosted notable figures, including former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. As you tour the castle, you’ll uncover tales of its past that add depth and intrigue to your visit. The gardens also offer a tranquil retreat with mature trees, manicured lawns, and gorgeous sea views.

This architectural gem is a testament to Dorset’s rich history and heritage, making it a must-visit destination.

Address: Rothesay Drive, Highcliffe, Dorset BH23 4LE
Opening Hours: 10 to 4 PM, Closed on Friday and Saturday
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £8.00

14. Portland Bill Lighthouse

Portland Bill Lighthouse
Portland Bill Lighthouse

Visit Portland Bill Lighthouse for a delightful mix of history, engineering, and panoramic beauty. This iconic landmark, standing sentinel on the rugged Dorset coast, offers a unique experience for visitors.

Start your visit with a guided tour of the lighthouse. You’ll delve into its history, learn about its role in guiding mariners, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the machinery that powers the beacon. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the life and work of a lighthouse keeper, offering insights that few other experiences can match.

Of course, the highlight of your visit will likely be the climb to the top of the lighthouse. Ascend the spiral staircase to the lantern room, and you’re rewarded with breathtaking views. The vista stretches across the wild, rugged landscape of the Isle of Portland and out to the vast expanse of the sea beyond.

Portland Bill Lighthouse is not just a beacon for sailors but also a beacon of Dorset’s maritime heritage, offering an enriching and unforgettable experience.

Address: Southerly tip of the Isle of Portland
Opening Hours: 10 to 5 PM
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £8.50

🛥 Join A Half-Day Guided E-Bike Tour in Portland with Lunch 🛥

15. Cerne Abbas Giant

Cerne Abbas Giant
Cerne Abbas Giant

Get ready to meet one of Dorset’s most iconic and cheeky residents – the Cerne Abbas Giant. This ancient hill figure, etched into the chalk hillside near the village of Cerne Abbas, is a fascinating piece of folklore that continues to captivate visitors.

Visible from afar, the Cerne Abbas Giant is a massive figure wielding a club, etched into the hillside with lines dug into the chalky soil. Measuring 180 feet in height, this impressive figure is believed to date back centuries, although its exact origins remain a mystery.

The giant is often associated with fertility due to its… rather explicit depiction. Over the years, it has become a symbol of hope for couples trying to conceive, with many visiting the site as part of their fertility journey.

While the giant is the main attraction, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the surrounding countryside. The nearby Cerne Abbas village is a picturesque spot to visit, with its charming thatched cottages, an ancient abbey, and lovely tearooms.

The Cerne Abbas Giant is a testament to the region’s rich history and culture and one of the best things to do in the Dorset itinerary.

Address: Dorset, DT2 7AL
Opening Hours: Dusk till Dawn

16. Kingston Lacy Estate

Kingston Lacy Estate, Things to do in Dorset
Photo by Pete F on Unsplash

Step into the world of 17th-century grandeur with a visit to the Kingston Lacy Estate, a magnificent family home in Dorset’s heart. The estate, complete with an outstanding art collection and breathtakingly beautiful gardens, offers a perfect blend of culture and tranquillity.

As you enter Kingston Lacy, prepare to be awed by its opulent interiors. Each room is a treasure trove of richly decorated ceilings, ornate carvings, and fine furniture. But what truly sets Kingston Lacy apart is its exceptional collection of artwork. The estate is home to many historical and cultural treasures, from Dutch masterpieces to Egyptian artefacts.

Don’t miss the chance to explore the property’s stunning gardens. The grounds are a horticultural delight, from manicured lawns and exotic ferns to a stunning Japanese Garden. Whether you stroll or just sit and soak in the scenery, the peaceful surroundings offer a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle.

Kingston Lacy is more than just a historic home; it’s an immersive experience of the past. Its grand rooms, intriguing artefacts, and serene gardens provide a fascinating insight into a bygone era of opulence and elegance.

Address: Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 4EA
Opening Hours: 10:30 to 3 PM
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £18.00 (Standard) or £19.80 (Gift-Aid)

16. Swanage Railway

Swanage Train
Swanage Train

Relive the golden age of steam with a journey on the Swanage Railway. Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Purbeck countryside, this heritage railway offers a nostalgic trip back in time, coupled with some of the most stunning scenery in Dorset.

Climb aboard one of the beautifully restored steam trains and prepare to be whisked away on a journey that harks back to a simpler time. The charm of the vintage carriages, the comforting rhythm of the train on the tracks, and the evocative sounds and smells of the steam engine all combine to create an unforgettable experience.

As the train gently rolls along the line, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Purbeck countryside. The scenery is as captivating as the journey, from lush fields and rolling hills to the iconic Corfe Castle.

The beautifully preserved stations, complete with period features and traditional signal boxes, add another layer to the experience. And with various special events, including dining trains and themed weekends, there’s always something new to discover.

Whether you’re a train enthusiast, a history lover, or just searching for a unique and memorable experience, a journey on the Swanage Railway is not to be missed.

Address: Station House, Railway Station Approach, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 1HB
Timetable: Please check the official website
Standard Adult Ticket Price: starts at £9.00, depending on the route

17. Christchurch Harbour

Discover the tranquil beauty of Dorset’s coastline with a visit to Christchurch Harbour. This natural harbour, framed by picturesque surroundings, is an idyllic spot for a quiet walk, a boat ride, or simply soaking in the serene landscapes.

As you stroll around the harbour, enjoy the gentle lapping of the waves and the soothing call of seabirds. The path offers stunning views of the harbour’s calm waters, the sandy beaches, and the charming town of Christchurch in the distance.

But the harbour is more than just a place for a peaceful walk. It’s also a hub for water-based activities. Rent a boat or a kayak and explore the harbour from the water for a different perspective. Whether you’re gliding peacefully across the calm waters or just bobbing gently with the tide, it’s an experience that connects you intimately with nature.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, an opportunity for exploration, or a stunning landscape, this beautiful harbour ticks all the boxes. It’s a place where the beauty of Dorset’s coastline truly shines, creating an unforgettable experience for all visitors.

18. Dorset Museum

Delve into the heart of Dorset’s heritage with a visit to the Dorset Museum. This museum, situated in the county town of Dorchester, offers a comprehensive look into Dorset’s fascinating history, diverse culture, and remarkable natural environment.

Begin your journey into Dorset’s past with the museum’s impressive historical exhibits. From ancient Roman artefacts to displays chronicling the county’s agricultural and industrial past, there’s much to explore. Each exhibit is meticulously curated, offering a rich narrative that brings the past to life.

Equally captivating is the museum’s showcase of Dorset’s natural history. Explore the geological treasures unearthed from the Jurassic Coast, come face-to-face with fossils of prehistoric creatures, and learn about the county’s diverse ecosystems. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Dorset’s natural past and present.

But the museum isn’t just about history and nature. It also celebrates Dorset’s cultural heritage. Discover the works of Thomas Hardy, a literary icon hailing from Dorset, delve into the folk traditions of the county, and explore the stories of the people who have shaped the region.

It’s a must-visit destination for anyone who understands Dorset and its many facets better.

Address: High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1XA
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM (Monday to Saturday); 10 AM to 4 PM (Sunday and Bank Holidays)
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £14

19. Wimborne Minster Church

Wimborne Minster Church
Wimborne Minster Church

Immerse yourself in the pages of history with a visit to Wimborne Minster Church, a remarkable church situated in the quaint town of Wimborne.

As you explore the Minster, you’ll be captivated by its stunning features, from the majestic tower to the beautifully carved choir stalls. But it’s the Minster’s library that truly sets it apart. Here, you’ll find a collection of ancient books, all securely chained to their shelves, a practice dating back to the Middle Ages when books were so valuable they had to be protected from theft. From ancient manuscripts to early printed books, the collection provides a rare insight into the history of literature and knowledge.

The Minster, with its tranquil atmosphere, offers a place of calm and reflection. Whether you’re exploring its architectural features, delving into the treasures of the chained library, or simply enjoying the peaceful surroundings, visiting Wimborne Minster is a truly enriching experience.

With its unique blend of history, architecture, and literary treasures, Wimborne Minster is a must-visit destination in Dorset.

Address: High Street, Dorset, BH21 1EB
Opening Hours: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (Monday to Saturday); 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM (Sunday); only up to 4 PM on January and February

20. Gold Hill

Gold Hill
Gold Hill

Step into a picture-postcard setting with a visit to Gold Hill, an iconic cobbled street in Shaftesbury’s charming town. Steeped in history and boasting stunning views, this locale became a national treasure after featuring in the well-loved Hovis bread television advertisement.

The cobbles underfoot, the historic stone cottages lining the street, and the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside all combine to create an enchanting experience. At the top of the hill, take a moment to catch your breath and take in the view. The rolling Dorset countryside spreads before you, a patchwork of fields, forests, and far-off villages. It’s a sight that’s as rewarding as the climb itself.

The fame of Gold Hill was the backdrop for the classic Hovis bread ad, where a young boy pushes his bike up the steep cobbles, a scene forever etched in the collective memory of the nation. Today, the hill attracts visitors eager to recreate the iconic scene and capture their slice of television history.

A visit to Gold Hill is a delightful step back in time. The street’s quaint charm, historic ambience, and breathtaking views make it one of the most amazing things to do in Dorset.

21. Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle
Maiden Castle

Journey back in time and explore the fascinating world of the Iron Age with a visit to Maiden Castle, situated on the outskirts of Dorchester. Recognised as one of Europe’s largest and most complex hillforts, this ancient site offers a unique insight into Dorset’s distant past.

As you explore the vast expanse of Maiden Castle, you’ll be stepping in the footsteps of the ancient people who once called this place home. The earthwork defences, the maze-like entrance, and the evidence of ancient dwellings all paint a vivid picture of life in the Iron Age.

The site is also home to intriguing archaeological finds, including evidence of a large Roman temple. These remnants of another era add a layer of historical interest to Maiden Castle.

Standing atop the fort, you can appreciate the strategic advantage of its location. With sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, it’s easy to imagine the ancient inhabitants watching for approaching threats.

The size and complexity of the fort, the sense of history that resonates from its earthworks, and the stunning views all combine to make this a unique and captivating destination.

Address: Maiden Castle Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 9PP
Opening Hours: Daylight Hours
Standard Adult Ticket Price: Free

22. Windsurfing in Poole Harbour


Embrace the thrill of the sea and take to the waters with a windsurfing experience in Poole Harbour. This picturesque harbour, renowned for its shallow, calm waters, is ideal for beginners and experienced windsurfers.

If you’re new to windsurfing, Poole Harbour offers a safe and enjoyable learning environment. With its shallow depths and tranquil waters, you can get to grips with the basics without worrying about high waves or deep waters. Plus, several local windsurfing schools offer expert instruction to get you up on the board and catch the wind in no time.

For those with experience, the harbour’s wide expanse of water provides plenty of space to hone your skills. Enjoy the freedom of the open water as you glide across the surface, powered by the wind in your sail.

23. Nothe Fort

Nothe Fort
Nothe Fort

Immerse yourself in history and take in stunning coastal views by walking around Nothe Fort, a historic sea fort nestled in the seaside town of Weymouth. Offering a compelling blend of history and scenery, Nothe Fort makes for an enriching and memorable visit.

Step back in time as you explore the fort’s labyrinth of underground passageways and learn about its strategic importance in the defence of the British Isles. The well-preserved fortifications and informative displays offer an intriguing glimpse into the area’s military history.

Ascend to the fort’s ramparts, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Jurassic Coast. From this vantage point, you can admire the beauty of Weymouth Harbour, Portland and the Isle of Wight in the distance. It’s a sight that’s as breathtaking as it is memorable.

With its rich history and stunning views, Nothe Fort offers an experience that’s both educational and enjoyable.

Address: High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1XA
Opening Hours: 10:30 AM to 4 PM
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £9.95

24. Athelhampton House & Gardens

Immerse yourself in the charm and elegance of the English countryside with a visit to Athelhampton House & Gardens. With its spectacular gardens, this quintessential manor house offers a delightful escape to a world of timeless beauty.

The beautifully preserved house has a rich history, captivating artwork, and exquisite furnishings. Each room tells a different story, offering a glimpse into the lives of the people who once called this place home.

Highlights include the Great Court with its pyramid-shaped yew trees, the tranquil Water Gardens, and the Koi Pond. The gardens present an ever-changing tableau of blossoms, foliage and fruits throughout the seasons, making every visit a unique experience.

Visiting Athelhampton House & Gardens is a chance to revel in the timeless beauty of English architecture and garden design.

Address: Athelhampton, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7LG
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 4 PM (Low Season); to 5 PM (High Season)
Standard Adult Ticket Price: £18.00

25. Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest
Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Step into a world of outdoor adventure at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest in Dorset. With its vast expanse of woodland, thrilling play structures, scenic trails, and a charming narrow-gauge steam railway, it’s a haven for families and nature lovers.

Covering 1,000 acres, Moors Valley offers endless opportunities for exploring and adventure. You can stroll along its network of trails, winding through woodlands and past tranquil lakes. For the more active visitors, there’s a selection of cycle trails to explore, ranging from family-friendly routes to more challenging trails for experienced riders.

For younger visitors, the park is a paradise. They can climb, swing, and slide in the innovative play structures designed to blend seamlessly into the natural environment.

Adding to the park’s charm is the Moors Valley Railway. This narrow-gauge steam railway takes you on a delightful journey through the park, an experience sure to enchant visitors of all ages.

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest delivers if you’re looking for active fun, a peaceful retreat, or a family day out.

Address: Horton Road, Ashley Heath, Ringwood, Dorset BH24 2ET
Opening Hours: 8 AM to 5, 6, 7 PM (depends on season)
Standard Adult Ticket Price: Free, Parking charges may be applied

Final Thoughts On Things To Do In Dorset

Dorset is a captivating destination that offers an incredible range of activities and experiences for all visitors of all ages. Even in rainy weather.

And if the area leaves you longing to return, you can always think about buying a holiday home by checking out the range of static caravans and lodges for sale in Dorset.

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