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One of England's smallest counties, Dorset has some of England’s loveliest sandy beaches and picturesque rural villages. Admire 200 million-year-old cliffs and shorelines or enjoy the lively nightlife of the region’s resorts. The waters off the coast offer excellent opportunities for sailing, kayaking, swimming and other watersports.
Dorset’s Jurassic Coast comprises 95 miles (150 kilometers) of coastline, extending from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Studland Bay. Awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status for its exceptional geology, this ancient shoreline is dotted with rugged cliffs, pretty beaches and craggy bays, where hundreds of fossils have been discovered over the years. Hike along this stunning coastline or participate in an organized fossil hunting walk.
Scenic Lyme Regis is a fine base for exploring the Jurassic Coast. A setting for Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, Lyme Regis is a characteristic English seaside town. Visit the town’s family-friendly Dinosaurland Fossil Museum to see some of the fossils that have been collected along the coast.
The seaside resort of Bournemouth is the county’s biggest tourist draw, with 7 miles (11 kilometers) of pristine beaches and lovely coastal views. Join other revelers in experiencing the town’s lively nightlife scene or walk along its waterfront promenade and admire the steep-sided ravines.
Not far away, find the heaths of New Forest. Comprising 150 square miles (390 square kilometers) of countryside and woodland, the area is home to deer, cattle, rare birds and New Forest ponies. Enjoy walking, biking or horseback riding along the region’s extensive trail network.
Don’t miss the historic market town of Winchester, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex as well as England’s first capital. This beautiful town features a stunning 11th-century cathedral, in addition to fine Elizabethan and Regency buildings. Wander down the city’s narrow streets, explore pretty public gardens and walk along lovely waterside trails.
Reach Dorset from Exeter, Bournemouth or Southampton airports or use rail or National Express coach services, which connect Dorset to other U.K. locations.
Located in Mudeford, this beach hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Mudeford Quay and Prototype Bailey Bridge. Christchurch Harbour and Christchurch Castle are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Situated on the riverwalk, this hotel is 2 mi (3.2 km) from Knoll Gardens and 3.1 mi (4.9 km) from Bournemouth University. Tower Park and Splashdown Waterpark are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated in Wimborne, this hotel is steps from Priest's House Museum and Garden, Tivoli Theatre, and Wimborne Minster. Wimborne Model Town and Kingston Lacy House are also within 3 mi (5 km).
This family-friendly Weymouth hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Chesil Beach and Bennetts Water Gardens. Sea Life Tower and Weymouth Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated in Christchurch, this hotel is steps from Christchurch Castle, Regent Centre, and Red House Museum and Gardens. Christchurch Priory and Christchurch Harbour are also within 15 minutes.
Located in the heart of Weymouth, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Weymouth Marina and Jubilee Clock Tower of Weymouth. Weymouth Pavilion and Sea Life Tower are also within 10 minutes.
Located in Studland, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Old Harry Rocks, Sandbanks Ferry Terminal, and Shell Bay Beach. Corfe Castle and Swanage Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).