Dorset, England

Bournemouth pier and beaches, Dorset, England

Bournemouth, pier, Dorset, part of 7 magnificent miles of beaches

Dorset Attractions

Poole Harbour

Poole harbour overview, Dorset, England

Poole’s huge harbour is the largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia. Poole is  Dorset’s port and  the harbour is nursery to a legion of board sailors. On one peninsula squats the most expensive land in Britain and fourth most expensive in the world –  Sandbanks. Across  the ferry that completes Poole Harbour’s ring of green are the pastoral delights of Studland’s National Park land (photo below), Corfe Castle, the Southwest Coast Path and Britain’s ‘Jurassic Coast.’

Dorset:  Purbeck Hills panorama

Agglestone rock, Poole, Harbour, dorset, england

Looking in the opposite direction, south to north, towards Poole Harbour.

The south coast of England, especially Dorset is much favoured by beach goers and walkersenjoying a (relatively) fine micro-climate (arguably the best in the UK), some ancient sights/sites such as Maiden Castle, the Cerne Giant and Corfe Castle, sea views from chalk cliff-tops, some excellent beaches and rolling, undeveloped rural countryside.

Cerne Giant

Cerne Giant, Dorset. Photo by Nilfanion

Cerne Giant, near Dorchester,  Dorset. Photo by Nilfanion

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle village, Dorset, England, UK

Corfe Castle, near Studland, Dorset

Corfe Castle‘s 1, 000 year-old ruins lie in Dorset’s rolling, rural Purbeck Hills, just beside the charming little village of Corfe and not far from the start of the 630 mile (1014 kms) South West Coast Path, Studland Nature Reserve, superb beaches at Bournemouth and Studland and pretty good in Weymouth.

South West Coast Path

Shell Bay and the start of the southwest coast path in Dorset, England

The start of the South West Coast Path, South Haven Point, Shell Bay, Dorset

The stunning South West Coast Path (630 miles, 1014 kms), the United Kingdom’s longest footpath, stretches from South Haven Point, Poole Harbour, Dorset (just across the ferry) through the fossil-loaded ‘Jurassic Coast‘, along cliffs and valleys, past fishing villages and resorts to Quay Street Green, Minehead, Somerset. It is only partially useable by mountain bikers or horse riders. Most hikers don’t walk the whole stretch in one go, needless to say.

Towns, ranging from charming to glum, on the Coast Path include: Swanage, Weymouth, Exmouth, Torquay, Plymouth (the port from which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America aboard the Mayflower), Penzance, Newquay (known for surfing and crazed teen nightlife), Barnstaple and Ilfracombe.

Durdle Door, Dorset  coast

Durdle Door beach in Dorset in July, England Travel.

Durdle Door late in the afternoon in July,  Dorset.

West Dorset

Some of the more scenically interesting areas en route are Lyme Regis, Chesil Beach, Portland Bill, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge Bay, Dancing Ledge and the Old Harry Rocks near the start of the walk at Studland beach, Poole.

Lyme Regis beach, Dorset beaches, England

Lyme Regis

The Jurassic Coast spanning Devon and Dorset is a World Natural Heritage Site described as ‘an outstanding example, representing a major stage of earth’s history and the record of life’.

One of the oldest coastlines in the world, the coast is stuffed with 185 million years of fossils and extends 95 miles from Orcombe Point in Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset. Lyme Regis town is the core of the fossil hunting and buying business.

A popular walk along this coast with superb views is called Golden Cap, about 4 miles (6kms) long and will take 2-3 hours, including one steep climb. Start from Seatown beach car park.