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Dorset is frequently described as 'The Best of Both Worlds', for behind the varied coastline lies a county rich in archaeology, unspoilt rural villages and countryside, and a history to be proud of.

Rolling hillsides, dramatic cliffs, sweeping beaches, sleepy villages, bustling towns, quiet countryside - Dorset's charms are there for all to see... there are also great pubs to discover, good food and 25 miles of paths to ramble.

The region owes much of its charm to its villages. Drive through Abbotsbury's long and winding main street and you will see sandstone cottages, tempting tea rooms and glimpse an old coaching inn. Other villages have quaint names like Toller Porcorum, Plush & Piddlehinton, each has its history and charm. Many - like Evershot, Nettlecombe or Cerne Abbas - lie hidden in quiet inland valleys. In Cerne Abbas you'll find houses dating from the 15th century, the ruins of an Abbey and the famous Giant - a striking 180-foot high figure cut into the chalk downs overlooking the village.

Abbotsbury: The visitor can always find somewhere to eat and drink in Abbotsbury, there are several tearooms and public houses, serving food. There is a convenient car park in the centre of the village. Click here for more.

Abbotsbury

Beaminster: The harbour of the pretty village of West Bay is the starting point for the eleven mile walk along the valley of the River Brit. This scenic route ends to the north of Beaminster at Winyards Gap. For more information click here.

Beaminster

Blandford Forum: Blandford Forum was a major market town during the later medieval period. This was principally due to the fact that both the main road from Salisbury to Dorchester. For more information click here

Blandford Forum

Bournemouth: This beautiful and busy resort is an ideal centre for visiting well-known attractions such as the New Forest, Stonehenge and the Jurassic Coast. Click here for more details....

Bournemouth

Bridport: Bridport is a good centre from which to explore both the shore and country side of Dorset. It has many individual shops, cafés, restaurants and other tourist attractions. Click here for more..

Bridport

Cerne Abbas: The Cerne Abbas Giant is also known as the “Rude Man”, for obvious reasons. It is the largest hill drawing in Britain and one of only two human representations. For more information click here

Cerne Abbas

Christchurch: One great view of the town is from the Quomps, an area of lush grassland, ringed by a path, part of which runs along the banks of the River Stour. For more information click here...

Christchurch

Corfe Castle: Corfe Castle is a village, civil parish and ruined castle with views stretching across the width of the Isle of Purbeck. The castle, which overlooks the village, commands a gap in the Purbeck hills... click here for more

Corfe Castle

Dorchester: Dorchester today has many modern attractions, among which are the Borough Gardens which offer tennis, bowling and a children’s playground. There is a market each Wednesday and lots of shops to attract the visitor. Click for more

Dorchester

Ferndown: The name, Ferndown, is believed to have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “fiergen”, which means wooded hill, and this area, on the edge of the beautiful New Forest. For more click here

Ferndown

Gillingham: Gillingham, the Leddenton of Thomas Hardy's novels, is situated in the Blackmore Vale, and is the most northerly town in Dorset. The town is in a convenient position for anyone wishing to explore.. Click here for more

Gillingham

Lyme Regis: Situated at the mouth of the river Lym, Lyme Regis is the most westerly town in Dorset. It lies halfway between Exeter, to the west, and Dorchester, to the east, and is known as “The Pearl of Dorset”. Click here

Lyme Regis

Poole: Dorset's largest town and industrial centre is the old port of Poole, which boasts one of the largest natural harbours in the world. The River Frome flows into the western end of the harbour. For more information click here..

Poole

Portland: Portland is not really an island but is reached over a narrow causeway from Chesil Beach. It is a huge block of limestone, measuring 4.5 miles by 1.75 miles and rising to a height of 400 feet above sea level in the north. More

Portland

Purbeck: Purbeck is a district of Dorset that takes its name from the peninsula known locally as the 'Isle of Purbeck'. This sixty square mile chunk of land jutting into the English Channel is bordered on three sides by water. Click here for more

Purbeck

Shaftesbury: There are plenty of restaurants, cafés and bars in Shaftesbury, in addition to various sports and leisure activities. The town makes an ideal centre for anyone wishing to explore Dorset and the neighbouring area. Click for more..

Shaftesbury

Sherborne: Situated on the Dorset and Somerset border it has excellent transport links making it a great centre from which to explore the Wessex area of Dorset and the neighbouring counties of Somerset and Wiltshire. Click for more...

Sherborne

Sturminster Newton:

Swanage: The town of Swanage is on the Isle Of Purbeck, a spur of land jutting out into the English Channel. The wide Swanage Bay gives good views to the Isle of Wight in good weather. To find out more, click here

Swanage

Wareham: There was a Roman settlement at Wareham and the modern town has grown up over this. It is believed that the transport of that time took advantage of the various rivers in the area. For more information click here

Wareham

Weymouth: Weymouth Bay has often been described as England’s Bay of Naples. It has something to offer everyone with golden sands, safe bathing and beautiful coastline scenery. For more click here...

Weymouth

Wimborne: There are a number of cafés and pubs in Wimborne, some of the latter serving food. There are antique, curio and other individual shops in the town, as well as a modern shopping centre. For more information click here...

Wimborne

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Click on Tourism for information on the area, Attractions for what to do and where to go, Food and Drink on what to eat when you get there, Leisure... well relax and think about that one and the Town Centre to shop till you drop!

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