Towns and villages
- Corfe Castle
- Lyme Regis
- Wimborne Minster - famed for its 'chained library'
Dorset is mostly rural, with a few large towns and many small villages. The county has a variety of landscapes, from steep chalk hills and wide clay valleys full of small dairy farms to the 50 mile Jurassic Coast world heritage site, popular with tourists and important to science.
The only major airport in Dorset is Bournemouth International Airport, which does flights to many cities in Europe. Bristol airport, 50 miles to the north, has a wider selection, including New York. Southampton airport, 20 miles to the east, has a good selection of European destinations also. London is just over 100 miles east.
Dorchester, Poole, Bournemouth, Weymouth and on a separate line Sherborne and Gillingham are connected directly to London, approximately 2 hours. Dorchester, Weymouth and Sherborne are connected to Bristol and Bath, about 1 1/2 hours away.
The A303 is the main route from London into the north of the county (and has Stonehenge half-way). The south of the county is connected to London by the M3 and M27, and to the Channel Tunnel by the M27 and A27. Both routes carry on into Devon and Cornwall. The A36 and A37 connect to Bath and Bristol.
The A35 between Dorchester and Bridport has spectacular views over the local countryside, as too does the coastal road (B3157) between Weymouth and Bridport. Both are probably most dramatic at sunset (driving towards Bridport) but are amazing at any time.
Much of Dorset is very rural, and though there are many bus routes, many do not have regular and often services, or may only run on market and pension days. The biggest bus company is called Wilts & Dorset which runs services to most of the major towns. Their main office is at Poole Bus Station, with satellite offices in some of the larger towns.
- Shaftesbury - charming town in north Dorset
- Corfe Castle - a National Trust site, an impressive ruined Norman castle
- The Jurassic Coast of Dorset and East Devon, a World Heritage site
- Poole Harbour - the second largest natural harbour in the world (second only to Sydney), and the largest in Europe
- Brownsea Island near Poole - a National Trust site, famous for its large population of red squirrels, and as the birthplace of the Scout Movement
- The Great Dorset Steam Fair near Blandford Forum - 600 acres of steam engines attended by over 200,000 visitors for a week in August/September each year. During the fair, the camping site becomes the largest community in the county!
- The Cerne Abbas Giant - a giant figure carved into the side of a hill by removing turf to expose white chalk
- The Isle of Portland and Portland Bill
- Wimborne Minster - a big church in a small town
- Studland Beach - a popular beach and beauty spot
- Bovington Tank Museum a very interesting tank museum.
- Swanage Steam Railway, Swanage, Dorset, England (Park at Norden Park and Ride station), . daily April to October. Ride in authentic heritage carriages for 6 miles from Corfe Castle to the seaside resort of Swanage behind an original steam locomotive £9. edit
- Gaggle of Geese Charity Poultry Auction, Gaggle of Geese, ☎ 01300 345249, . A charity poultry auction, farmers market and car boot sale is held twice a year in the grounds of the Gaggle of Geese. Flock to the pub at the end of May or the second Sunday in September to buy all sorts of poultry, all profits go to local charities. edit
Dorset has a number of local specialities including Apple Cake, Cream Teas and Blue Vinney Cheese.
Some of the best local food comes from tea shops, cafes, fish and chip shops and pubs, Not all pubs serve food all of the time and the quality varies considerably.
If you prefer international or exotic flavours the towns of Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth will provide you with a good choice.
There are many breweries in Dorset. Hall & Woodhouse of Blandford is the largest brewing Badger Best Bitter, Tanglefoot and a variety of flavoured beers. Palmers of Bridport is the biggest brewers in the West of the County. Each of these breweries has a large number of tied pubs within the county. Other local beers often found in Dorset pubs come from Ringwood Brewery, Fullers, Marstons and Morland along with the well known international lagers.
It is possible to find locally made cider and scrumpy in some of the rural areas.
There is a vineyard at Horton north of Wimborne, but wine production in the county is low volume at best.