Dorset is a sleepy, relatively untouched rural community located between holiday cottages in Hampshire and Devon holiday cottages. Perfect for a weekend get-away, or a longer vacation, there are a myriad of activities and places to do and see in this deceptively quiet county.
Rent a cottage near Bournemouth, which is the main town of the area, having a variety of shops, theatres, clubs, and bars to keep everyone amused. Bournemouth has exceptional beaches along pine-fringed bays, with many of the beaches dog and smoking free, making them excellent venues for family days out. During the summer months there is a fireworks display every Friday, and Bournemouth’s Kids Family Festival runs during the school holidays – in case you’re in need of some help.
The county town of Dorchester best represents what is loved about Dorset: steeped in culture and history (some 6000 years of it) there are a multitude of boutiques and restaurants to tempt your fancy. The Romans and the Georgians have both left distinctive marks on the town, as well as sites such as Maiden Castle (2km South-West of Dorchester), or Thomas Hardy’s cottage which is located a few miles out of Dorchester. The Dorset County Museum will be a great interest to anyone seeking to find out more about this intriguing county. Sherborne, to the North, is home to the two famous schools, as well as the beautiful Sherborne Abbey and two fantastic castles. Blanford Forum, a Georgian market town, is a site not to be missed on any visit to Dorset. Destroyed by fire in 1731 and entirely rebuilt by brothers, it boasts some outstanding Georgian architecture, as well as the annual Great Dorset Steam Fair
Dorset contains some fantastic culture with many literary figures in its history. The most notable of these being, of course, Hardy, whose novels were often set in and around the fictional ‘Wessex’ based on Dorchester and Dorset. The National Trust owns his cottage, and is open to the public year round; Hardy enthusiasts can also see many of the other buildings mentioned (at length) in his work dotted in and around Dorchester. Other luminaries include P.D. James, Ian Fleming, John le Carré, and John Fowles, whose novel ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ was written, and later adapted and filmed, in Lyme Regis, Dorset. There are a wide range of things to do in Dorset, from Abbotsbury Swannery, to Bovington Tank Museum. Abbotsbury Swannery is a world famous sanctuary for hundreds of nesting swans and their broods, and from mid-May to June’s end, you can watch cygnets hatch. The Adventure Wonderland Family Fun Park, (near Christchurch) is a sure family favourite with a number of rides and attractions added in 2005. Bovington Tank Museum is definitely one for the boys, and houses the world’s finest and largest collection of armoured vehicles from WW1 to the present day. Finally if you rent a cottage in Dorset a trip to the Isle of Purbeck and Corfe Castle is a must. In 1646 destroyed by Cromwell’s men, this imposing ruin has been described as ‘one of the most evocative ruined castles in England’ and entirely worth a trip.