This visitor information section is a new section on Dorset's Finest. In time we will endeavour to offer the visitor as much information as possible to insure a Dorset Holiday to remember. If you are planning a holiday in Dorset visit this page often as we will be updating information regularly.
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Dorset Tourist Information Centres
Bournemouth Tourist Information Centre
Westover Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH1 2BU
Tel: 01202 451700
Open Mon to Sat 9.30am to 5.30pm
Blandford Tourist Information Centre
1 Greyhound Yard, Market Place, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 7BB
Tel: 01258 454770
Bridport Tourist Information Centre
47 South Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3NY
Tel: 01308 424901
Christchurch Tourist Information Centre
23 High Street, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 1AZ
Tel: 01202 471780
Dorchester Tourist Information Centre
Unit 11, Antelope Walk, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1BE
Tel: 01305 267992
Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre
Guildhall Cottage, Church Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3BS
Tel: 01297 442138
Poole Tourist Information Centre
4 The High Street, Poole, Dorset BH15 1BW
Tel: 01202 253253
Portland Tourist Information Centre
The Lighthouse, Portland Bill, Portland, Dorset DT5 2JT
Tel: 01305 861233
Open from Easter to end of September, times and days vary
Shaftesbury Tourist Information Centre
8 Bell Street, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 8AE
Tel: 01747 853514
Sherborne Tourist Information Centre
3 Tilton Court, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3NL
Tel: 01935 815341
Swanage Tourist Information Centre
The White House, Shore Road, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1LB
Tel: 01929 422885
Wareham Tourist Information Centre
Trinity Church, South Street, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4LU
Tel: 01929 552740
Weymouth Tourist Information Centre
The King's Statue, The Esplanade, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7AN
Tel: 01305 785747
Open 7 days a week all year round
Wimborne Tourist Information Centre
29 High Street, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 1HR
Tel: 01202 886116
Abbotsbury is a picturesque village in West Dorset boasting the remains of a Benedictine Abbey, including a famous Tithe Barn, a mill pond and medieval ruins. It is also the home of the Abbotsbury Swannery, the only swannery of its kind in the world.
A small market town in the heart of West Dorset's Brit Valley, Beaminster was once a thriving wool, cloth and rope centre. It now contains some fine Georgian buildings and a late Medieval parish church.
An outstanding example of a Georgian town, Blandford Forum was rebuilt following a fire in the 1730s and its buildings today remain little changed, its church and Town Hall being particularly impressive. It is also the home of Hall and Woodhouse Inns and Badger Beer, breweries providing local ale that is sold throughout Dorset.
The tiny hamlets of Lower and Higher Bockhampton are situated 3 km from Dorchester and are synonymous with the 19th century novelist and poet Thomas Hardy. His birthplace at Higher Bockhampton remains unchanged and boasts a traditional cottage garden.
Recently voted Britain's Resort of the Year, Bournemouth offers the best of a traditional seaside resort alongside a vibrant city centre. Beautiful sandy beaches, award-winning gardens, shopping and top entertainment all contribute to make Bournemouth well worth a visit. The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum has recently reopened after major refurbishment and provides an insight into the lifestyle of a prominent Victorian man and wife and their extraordinary cornucopia of possessions.
Famed for its rope and networking industry in the 13th century, which still provides Wimbledon's tennis nets, Bridport is today a small busy West Dorset market town close to the coast and the picturesque harbour of West Bay.
Cerne Abbas is home to the ancient Augustin's Well and ruined abbey, but most famous for its 180 ft high Giant, an imposing Romano-British chalk figure cut into the hillside and well-known for its supposed fertility powers.
Situated on the Jurassic Coast and at the heart of fossil-hunting country, Charmouth is a small, attractive seaside resort.
A fine Saxon town on the New Forest border, Christchurch is dominated by its magnificent 11th century Priory Church and overlooks a picturesque harbour.
Dorset's county town and the heart of Thomas Hardy country, was originally settled by the Romans, two thousand years ago. Remains of the original Roman wall and a Roman house can still be seen today. Overlooking the town is Maiden Castle, the largest of the many iron age hill forts scattered across the Dorset landscape. In Hardy's novels, Dorchester was renamed 'Casterbridge' and Hardy's actual home, Max Gate, where he later lived and died is situated in the town.
The name Ferndown is believed to come from the Anglo-Saxon "fiergen" meaning wooded hill. The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside with easy road access and modern leisure and shopping facilities.
The most northerly of the Stourside towns, Gillingham is a fast growing town, offering many rural and riverside walks. There is a museum chronicling the town's history, including connections with the artist John Constable who visited the town in the early 1820's. His painting of the old Town Bridge can be seen in the Tate Gallery in London.
The tiny villages of East and West Lulworth are adjacent to the idyllic Lulworth Cove, a key site on the World Heritage coast and bordered by magnificent cliffs of great geological importance.
A traditional and atmospheric seaside town at the far western edge of Dorset, on the county border with Devon, Lyme Regis is famed for its strategic importance in the landing of the Duke of Monmouth in his bid to win the Crown from James II. The Cobb harbour has very famous literary association with the John Fowles novel 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' and Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'.
A picturesque village of uniform cobb and thatch cottages, Milton Abbas is a unique example of a purpose built 18th century estate village. The original village, which was seen as an eyesore, was uprooted by the landowner to distance it from his house. The 14th century abbey, a stunning example of Gothic architecture, is open to the public. It stands beside Milton Abbey House which has now become a famous boys' school.
A pretty village on the River Frome featuring a Georgian neo-Gothic church with windows engraved by Lawrence Whistler. T.E. Lawrence, more famously known as Lawrence of Arabia, is buried in the nearby churchyard.
Poole is Dorset's second largest town. Situated on the shores of Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Poole has become a major focus for water sports and recreation as well as the home of internationally important wildlife habitats. The Old Town boasts a famous Customs House, many pubs and shops and the famous Poole Pottery. There is also miles of sandy beaches, as well as good ferry connections to France.
Connected to the mainland by a thin causeway at the eastern end of Chesil Beach, The 'Isle' of Portland has a character all of its own, and affords magnificent views of the Dorset coastline. A fascinating area for geological explorers, and the origin of the stone used in many of London's important buildings, Portland is also a renowned centre for divers and rock-climbers.
The newest village in the UK, Poundbury is the architectural brainchild of Prince Charles. It is proving to be a great success, so much so, houses are pre-sold before they are built and the village, built around a traditional market square, is quickly expanding.
An ancient Saxon hill town, Shaftesbury was founded about AD 800 by Alfred the Great. Its abbey ruins and herb gardens are open to the public. Shaftesbury is the home to Gold Hill, a steep cobbled street with tiny cottages and one of the most photographed locations in Dorset.
Founded by the Saxons, and set in the north of Dorset, Sherborne is an historic market town with a medieval high street a superb 15th century abbey and two castles, one of which was the home to Sir Walter Raleigh.
On the banks of the River Stour and in the heart of the Blackmore Vale, Sturminster Newton is a small market town with one of the most famous historic bridges in the county. It is also home to a 17th century working mill museum. Nearby, is Fiddleford Manor, a medieval manor house boasting a unique beamed ceiling, owned by English Heritage.
A popular Victorian seaside town in the Purbecks, Swanage is home to the famous local Purbeck stone used widely as 'marble' in building and an award winning beach. It is also the final station for the famous 'Swanage Steam Railway', offering an entertaining and nostalgic trip back in time.
An ancient Saxon market town of great character and located on the River Frome a short distance inland from the Purbeck coast, Wareham is still encircled by its original Saxon walls and contains the oldest church in Dorset.
Made a seaside resort by George III in the 18th century, Weymouth has grown to become one of Britain's most popular holiday destinations. There is an elegant Georgian seafront, a magnificent golden beach, set in a safe and scenic bay, and a small picturesque harbour with sailing and fishing boats.
A charming ancient market town, nestling between the rivers Allen and Stour , Wimborne Minster owes its Saxon foundation in 705 AD, to Cuthburger, Princess of Wessex. The twin-towered Minster church has several fascinating historical features, including a rare chained library and an astronomical clock. There is a monk's museum, owned by the National Trust, and a model village museum.
Places to Visit in Dorset
below are are variety of popular, interesting or unusual places to visit when in Dorset
The award-winning museum tells the story of this important Abbey from its early beginning through to its abrupt end. Experience the interactive virtual tour, see the casket thought to hold Edward's remains, touch relics and be guided by a fascinating audio tour. Outside, wander through the foundations of the Abbey Church and sample the unique aromas of the Anglo-Saxon herb collection in the peaceful walled garden. Finish your visit at the Museum shop where you will find an interesting selection of books, cards, gifts and plants.
For more information, visit www.shaftesburyabbey.co.uk
Durdle Door is a world famous geological wonder, with its massive rock arch, set right on the Jurassic Coast between Swanage and Weymouth, just along the coast path from Lulworth Cove, it is absolutely beautiful.
Durdle Door has a sloping beach for bathing or snorkeling from, caves and exciting rock strata. Only a short walk from Lulworth Cove and makes a nice place to have picnic, sunbathe and go swimming, there was once a dolphin in the bay!
Thousand-year-old castle, an iconic survivor of the English Civil War, rising above the Isle of Purbeck
One of the most evocative ruined castles in England
Over 1,000 years of turbulent history
Castle View visitor centre explores the lives (and deaths) of past residents
Extensive country estate to discover and explore
The Swanage Railway operates a steam train service to Corfe
Extensive conservation work in progress, access may be restricted to certain areas of the castle. Please tel. or check website for information
Location: 4 miles south of Wareham on A351 Wareham – Swanage road.
Access information: Tea room, visitor centre plus a gift shop in the village.
Opening hours: Open 10-6 during summer, slightly shorter opening times rest of year.
Contact: 01929 481294
Former Cistercian Abbey founded 800 years ago, now a family run estate. Magnificent building and gardens.
Location: 4 miles south of Chard, off the A30. Follow the brown tourist signs.
Access information: Entry charges but children under 15 free.
Facilities: Disabled access to most areas except upper floors of house. Tea room, restaurant, plant centre, toilets.
Abbotsbury Gardens, Swannery & Tithe Barn
Location: Abbotsbury is off the A35 halfway between Weymouth and Bridport, on the B3157 coastal road. Nearest railway station is Weymouth, buses link to Abbotsbury.
St Catherine’s Chapel
14th Century chapel on the hill south of Abbotsbury village. The chapel was used as a lighthouse and has a small turret.
Grid reference: SY573848
Location: ½ mile south of Abbotsbury via footpath from village off B3157.
Monument erected 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag-Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Lulworth Cove was formed approximately 10,000 years ago by the awesome powers of a river and the sea. It continues to evolve behind a narrow Portland stone entrance as the softer Purbeck, Wealdon, Greensand and Chalk exposures are eroded. Lulworth Cove is the prime Dorset attraction for the budding geographer or simply for a leisurely walk along the Natural World Heritage Coastline and the challenging hills. By the Lulworth Cove there is the West Lulworth Heritage Centre acting as a museum about Lulworth and its coast and the history of the village, with plenty of Lulworth Souvenirs.
Lulworth Castle was built as a hunting lodge in 1608 to attract James I to hunt in the Isle of Purbeck, the castle was bought by the Weld family in 1641 and became the family seat following the destruction of the main estate house during the Civil War. By the 18th century the Castle had been refurbished and improved several times to become a fine country house, but was sadly destroyed by fire in 1929. By the 1990’s it had been decided to rebuild the exterior of the building to its former glory, as it would have looked the day before the fire, stabilizing the interior to show some of the original 17th century work.
In 1994 the Castle was partially opened providing access to the southeast tower with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside, to Poole Harbour and beyond. In 1998, the Castle was fully opened to the public, the exterior and part of the ground & first floors restored. Lulworth Castle is open to the public for most of the year (please check admission times on the Lulworth Castle website) and is also available to hire for private functions and corporate entertaining.
Lulworth Cove Boat Trips
Every summer at Lulworth there are guided boat trips along the coast from Lulworth Cove to Gad Cliff and back.
Run numbers and weather permitting.
The village went under military occupation six days before Christmas 1943 for the training of American and British tank crews. The promise to return Tyneham to its inhabitants was never kept, and the area is still used for firing live shells. The village and range walks on this section of the Dorset Coastal Path are regularly open to the public and details of arrangements can be found below.
Tyneham is now a ghost village, the domestic buildings being in ruins.
Tyneham is a short drive from Lulworth Cove and makes a nice day away looking back into the past in an unconventional way.
Lulworth Range Walks
The Lulworth Range Walks & Tyneham Village is open to the public every weekend and the majority of weekdays.
At Lulworth Cove, there is the famous Fossil Forest. There are the remains of the growths that formed around tree stumps from about 135 million years ago. Further along the coast there are the ripple marks of an ancient beach.
Visiting the fossils requires a small hike. The hike is only a few hundred feet long with an elevation gain of about 50 feet. Make sure the Lulworth army range is open to the public during your visit. To access the fossils you need to pass through the gates.
Stair Hole, near Lulworth Cove, a classic "blow hole" where the sea has exploited a weak spot in the rocks and has led to erosion. Stair Hole is also famous for the folded and crumpled rocks at its eastern edge.
Stair hole is adjoining Lulworth Cove and is very easily reached with a short walk up the hill by Lulworth Cove.
Golf In Dorset
The Ashley Wood Golf Club
Wimborne Road, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 9HN
Tel: Club Manager and Professional: 01258 452253
Bridport & West
Burton Road, Bridport, Dorset DT6 4PS
Tel Sec : 01308 421095 Tel Pro: 01308 421491
Wentworth Drive, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8DQ
Tel: 01202 642524
Bulbury Lane, Lytchett Minster, Poole, Dorset BH16 6HR
Tel: 01929 459574
Came, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8NR
Tel: 01305 813494
Knighton Lane, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 3AS
Tel: 01202 592552
Holt Farm, South Perrott, Dorset DT8 3HU
Tel: 01935 891413
Verwood, Dorset BH31 7LE
Tel: 01202 814088
The Dorset Golf & Country Club
The Dorset Golf & Country Club, Bere Regis, Nr Poole, BH20 7NT
Tel: 01929 472244
119 Golf Links Road, Ferndown, Dorset BH22 8BU
Tel: 01202 874602
107 Lymington Rd, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 4LA
Tel: 01425 272210
Isle Of Purbeck
Studland, Swanage, Dorset BH19 3AB
Tel: 01929 450361
Links Road, Poole, Dorset BH14 9QS
Manager: 01202 707138
Tollard Royal, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 5QB
Tel: 01725 516326
West Drive, Bournemouth, Dorset BH8 9BY
Tel: 01202 396198
Higher Clatcombe, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4RN
Tel: 01935 814431
Moors Lane, Sturminster Marshall, Dorset BH21 4AH
Tel: 01258 858444
Links Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 0PF
Tel: 01305 773981
Sherborne Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA21 5BW
Tel: 01935 422965