London is great, we all know that, but every now and then it’s necessary to take a break from it and escape to the nature and the ocean. For this purpose, Dorset is one of the most incredible and beautiful destinations in the UK.
The Jurassic Coast and the rest of Dorset is a large area of England and a weekend there surely isn’t enough to see everything, but I am sure that once you’ve been there you’ll surely want to go back again and again.
WHAT TO SEE and DO IN DORSET
Old Harry’s Rocks
A trip to Dorset isn’t complete without seeing Old Harry’s Rock. Here, you can enjoy stunning views of the white cliffs and make sure to take the time to embrace the entire landscape. If you are not afraid of heights, walk up to the edge to see how high up you are standing.
This is the perfect example of the typical British countryside village. You can spend hours walking around this cute town, just taking pictures of the beautiful stone cottages and if you are visiting in spring or summer, you’ll be delighted by all the colourful flowers and blossoming trees. It’s gorgeous. While wandering around, make sure to visit the ancient church and maybe grab a cheese and onion pie (typical of the area) from the little shop in front of it. And why not? Fill a bag of candies from the sweet shop right on the square.
In Corfe, you can’t miss the ruins of its castle which once stood still up on top of the hill. It’s fascinating to walk there, but the view over the rest of the city and the property are incredible.
Corfe Old Train Station
While in Corfe, don’t forget to go to the train station where every day at set times, you will see an old-fashioned train passing by. Check the train timetable as they are not very frequent.
Lulworth Cove is surely one of the most iconic places and most photographed beauties of Dorset. And rightly so. It’s stunning!
Another very famous spot in Dorset is Durdle Door. Here you will enjoy some stunning views of this incredible coast and this rock which looks like a giant arched brontosaurus peeking out of the water. If you get there around sunset, you are assured an incredible light show. Get some beers and some fish and chips from one of the shops right on the beach.
In this city by the coast, it seems as though time stopped a long time ago and the clock won’t get ticking again any time soon. Take a walk on the beach and stop in at one of the many places for a bite. My suggestions are in the section below.
Portland Bill is an absolute delight. There is a stunning lighthouse, loads of colourful beach huts and a rocky coastline. There are some amazing views here both towards the sea and the countryside: in summer the green is greenest and the blue is bluest.
This probably is the most famous beach in Dorset and if you haven’t read Ian McEwan’s novel yet, you might want to do so before heading to this beach or bring it along with you while you sit on a spot of this 29 km long, 200m wide and 15m high beach.
Another small, beautiful and cosy village by the coast. On your way there, if you have time, remember to stop in to some of the small towns you will pass by; Attonsbury, one of them, is super-cute, and filled with colourful cottages. Once you get to Lyme Regis, park your car on top of the hill before entering the city centre so you can take a pleasant walk down the main street.
Once again, look at the fishermen and weekenders working on their boats and admire the landscape. Inhale the atmosphere and breath deeply. Take a wander through the little streets and the colourful houses or maybe chill in the park for a while.
The best way to close the day is to get some fish & chips and a couple of drinks from Cobb Gate Fish Bar right on the beach and sit there to enjoy your food and the sun going down. But beware! The seagulls here are particularly hungry and brave, so make sure to protect your food and eat quickly!
This city sits on the east side of the Jurassic Coast and it offers another spectacular perspective of this gorgeous area. Walk up to Clavell Tower (about 20 minutes) or drive to the bottom of it. Whatever you decide, make sure to stop on the way to take pictures of some of the cutest cottages. Clavell Tower is a four storey circular tower that stands on the cliff overlooking Kimmeridge Bay. Built in 1830, its location has attracted many writers including Hardy and PD James and it was recently turned into a holiday accommodation with one bedroom on each of the four floors.
Jump back in your car and drive to Swanage. Park on top of the hill for long-stay car parking and take in the view over the bay. Walk towards the beach and pay 65p to stroll to the new pier and take some pictures of the fishermen in action. The wooden floor of the pier is filled with plaques with names and words dedicated to loved ones who’ve passed away. Sit on one of the benches and let your cheeks be caressed by the wind for a while and maybe give some thoughts to your own beloved ones who are no longer here.
WHERE TO EAT IN DORSET
Banks Arms is an award-winning and quaint pub perched on the coast of Studland. Not only does it have a beautiful indoor area, but it also has a grand al-fresco area looking out to the sea. If you are a member of the national trust you can park here for free.
The Old Granary in Wareham is the perfect place for a burgers or sausage dinner. Service is friendly and food is great. Remember that kitchens close early in the countryside (even earlier than London!), so make sure to hit here or any other restaurant before 8pm!
Cafe Blue in Weymouth there is a cute, blue little spot perfect for breakfast. I had skinny pancakes there and they were just fab!
Grab your ice-cream from Parlour Stores on Cobb Road (it’s like proper Italian gelato) and walk along the Cobb while in Lyme Regis.
Any trip to Dorset wouldn’t be complete without afternoon tea, so head to Swanage city centre and sit at a table at Love Cake Etc. Beware that portions are very, very generous so keep that in mind before ordering. Staff is incredibly nice and friendly too.
In Kimmeridge, you should start the day at Clavell’s Cafe, a super cute family-run restaurant. The food here is amazing and the prices are very reasonable.
HOW TO REACH DORSET
In order to really enjoy and explore the Jurassic Coast and all Dorset has to offer, a car is necessary. This way, you’ll manage to see loads of things even squeezing your destinations into a weekend getaway from London. If you do not own a car, I recommend you rent one through one of the most popular rental car companies or ask a car-owner friend to come with you!
Car Parks: many of the locations and sights mentioned above offer free car parking to National Trust members, so if you are one remember to bring your sticker. If you are not a member already, but are planning to explore more of the country in the next months, it might be worth getting a membership.
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