Dorset is a beautiful place for a staycation. So beautiful that over half of the county is categorised as an AONB. Located in the south west of England, this county has a lot to offer. It’s famous for the Jurassic Coast, a 95 mile stretch of the English Channel where the cliffs show millions of years of geological history. If you’ve ever seen photos of Dorset, it’s likely that you’ll recognise Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, two of the most iconic landmarks on the Jurassic Coast.
For a classic seaside holiday, the towns of Poole, Weymouth and Swanage are known for their sandy beaches. But as well as an exciting coastline, Dorset also has plenty of attractions inland. There are vineyards, water parks, animal centres, museums, art galleries, historic houses – you name it. If you’re keen to spend some time doing outdoor activities, there are countless walks and cycling trails all over the county. Let’s take a further look at why Dorset is such a great place for a staycation.
Types of accommodation
You won’t have a hard time finding accommodation in Dorset. There is a wide range of accommodation to suit all kinds of staycations, whether it’s a romantic break for two or a big family break.
Dorset is popular for camping and glamping due to the mild climate and unrivalled views. There are countless campsites dotted around the county, some with countryside views and some with ocean views. There are also many glamping options, so whether you want to stay in a wooden cabin, safari tent, yurt or a shepherd’s hut, the choice is yours.
There is also plenty of choice when it comes to B&Bs and hotels, and range from budget all the way to luxury options. B&Bs and hotels are perfect if you’re looking for a more comfortable stay and indulging staycation.
Holiday cottages are perfect if you’re looking for somewhere a little more roomy. The self-catering aspect makes it an attractive choice for families or those wanting to stay longer. There are tons of charming options in Dorset, such as this thatched Tudor cottage or a seaside cottage right on the Jurassic Coast.
Dorset has a whole range of exciting attractions. A heritage railway is one of the best ways to admire the extensive views that Dorset has to offer. Swanage Railway is one of Britain’s most popular heritage railways, which takes you through 12 miles of beautiful Purbeck countryside. The route includes a stop at the charming village of Corfe Castle (don’t forget to take a snap of the platform with the castle in the background!). The railway also has special events such as Afternoon Tea and Curry Nights where you can enjoy your meal with a view.
Another way you can admire the views is from the sea. There are countless boat tours in Dorset that take you all around the Jurassic coastline, and past some of the most iconic landmarks. You’ll find all sorts of cruises, whether it’s a birdwatching cruise, fireworks cruise or a sea-train cruise.
Something unique that the whole family will love is a trip to the Abbotsbury Swannery. This is the only place in the world where you can rub shoulders with nesting Mute swans. This wildlife habitat stretches over 25 acres, and you get the chance to feed over 600 swans. There are also pedal go karts, mazes and play areas for younger kids.
What goes better with seasides than castles? One of the prettiest castles in Dorset is Highcliffe Castle, built in 1835. Perched on a clifftop, the castle is full of lavishly decorated rooms, like the Great Hall, the Octagon Room and the Libraries which you can explore.
As well as castles, you’ll also find country houses like the magnificent Kingston Lacy House. It was once home to one of the most powerful families in Dorset, and its luxurious interior reflects this. The mansion also houses the largest private collection of Egyptian relics in the country. Outside, meander through the peaceful Japanese garden, the Fernery, Nursery Wood and the Kitchen Garden.
Places of interest
One of the must-see spots in Dorset is Durdle Door. Situated on Lulworth Estate, this natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is accessible via a footpath over the hill from Lulworth Cove. It’s possible to bathe in the waters, but keep in mind that it shelves steeply in some areas.
Another iconic natural feature are the Old Harry Rocks, three chalk formations on the Isle of Purbeck. It’s also the very eastern point of the Jurassic Coast. Take the Old Harry Rocks circular walk to admire the views. You can also sit and enjoy the views, and there are open grassy areas where you can have a picnic.
Lyme Regis is a seaside town fondly nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Dorset’. With breathtaking scenery, fabulous coastal walks, family-friendly beaches and delicious food, it’s a great place for a staycation. Kids will love rock pooling and hunting for fossils along the beach.