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Top Places to Visit

Everything you need to get the most out of your stay

Sculpture by the Lakes

An oasis for art lovers and art collectors. Sculptures nestled into the natural landscape. Booking beforehand is essential as they do limit the amount of visitors each day and children under 12 are not permitted.
Pallington Lakes, Dorchester DT2 8QU
07720 637 808 | www.sculpturebythelakes.co.uk

Hardy’s Cottage

The birthplace of Thomas Hardy. The garden reflects most people’s idea of a typical cottage garden, with roses around the door, and the sound of birdsong, even in winter. Once inside you will discover that 19th-century rural life, with its open hearths, small windows and stone floors, was not always idyllic.
Higher Bockhampton, Dorchester DT2 8QJ
01305 262 366 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardys-cottage

Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

The Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site is England’s first natural World Heritage Site – it is known as The Jurassic Coast. It covers 95 miles of truly stunning coastline from East Devon to Dorset, with rocks recording 185 million years of the Earth’s history.

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, West Lulworth

A shingle beach which shelves steeply although some parts are reasonably safe for swimming. Dogs are allowed on the beach.

The Cove offers a variety of places to eat and there is a large car park (fee payable). Make sure you visit the Heritage Centre next to the car park for all kinds of information about the area and the Jurassic Coast. Durdle Door is about half a mile from the road and paths to it are picturesque but rather hilly. Most people, young and old, can walk there and back, albeit with some effort and some sweat on their brow … that is half the fun after all! If you do have difficulty walking then you may find that you are not able to reach Durdle Door by foot.

The Fossil Forest Walk

The Fossil Forest is a good walk for children, who will be fascinated by the rock formations, as well as the shingle beach with its limestone and chalk spurs and boulders. It is also good for dogs as it passes a beach and pub where dogs are welcome.


Explore marine ecosystems at a waterside aquarium, plus feeding sessions and an underwater tunnel.
01202 311 993 | Pier Approach, Bournemouth BH2 5AA

Studland Bay

Studland is described in the north as Shell Bay and in the south as Ballard Down. It is effectively a continuation of Sandbanks further to the north and as it suggests, banks of sand or dunes, wind blown or tide transported from further round the coast. Sand can be removed from Sandbanks by the tide, be circulated outside Poole Harbour and deposited at Studland.

Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay is part of the Jurassic Coast and its geology is world-renowned. Rocky shale and comentstone reefs make the area a key habitat and the bay is a designated Marine Nature Reserve. Although there are no sandy beaches the sheltered bay is good for swimming, diving, surfing and windsurfing. Large ledges act as natural jetties for wandering along to explore marine wildlife. It is one of the best places in the country to go rock pooling. Important fossils have been found in the Kimmeridge Clay, but they need an expert eye and time-consuming preparation. Hammering is strictly forbidden here and you may only collect loose fossils from the beach.

Corfe Castle

The dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle stand on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills. As you can see it guards the gap between the south of Purbeck, where Purbeck marble was once quarried, and the rest of England. Nothing could pass in or out without going past the Castle.
National Trust, BH20 5EZ | www.corfe-castle.co.uk