Dorset Attractions and Activities

Just Click Printing Company, Poole

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The Swanage Railway

Poole Harbour

Hengistbury Head

Nothe Fort

Bournemouth Aviation Museum

Portland Bill Lighthouse

Man O’War Beach, Durdle Door

Splashdown Waterpark

Corfe Castle

Studland Beaches

The Art of Painting – Different Realities

Laser Guys Laser Tag

Rock Reef wall Climbing

Monkey World

Donkey Walking Adventures

Compton Acres Garden

English Oak Vineyard

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Tank Museum

Durdle Door

Sandbanks Beach

Go Ape Moors Valley

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Chesil Beach

Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park

West Bay Beach

Alum Chine Beach

Bournemouth Beach

Sandy Beach – Lyme Regis

Boscombe Beach

Weymouth Beach

Shaftesbury Arts Centre – View from the Ridge


Swanage beach

Portland Castle

The Keep Museum

Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park


Discover the captivating beauty and diverse attractions that Dorset has to offer. From stunning natural landscapes to historical landmarks and exciting activities, this list of the top 50 attractions in Dorset will guide you through the must-visit destinations in the area. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this enchanting county.

  1. Jurassic Coast: Explore the world-famous Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting breathtaking cliffs, stunning beaches, and fossil-rich areas. Embark on coastal walks, visit iconic landmarks like Durdle Door and Old Harry Rocks, and immerse yourself in the ancient history of this geological marvel.
  2. Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door: Marvel at the picturesque Lulworth Cove, a horseshoe-shaped bay with crystal-clear waters. Nearby, witness the majestic beauty of Durdle Door, an iconic natural limestone arch that attracts visitors from all over the world.
  3. Corfe Castle: Step back in time at Corfe Castle, a dramatic ruin perched on a hilltop. Explore the castle’s rich history, enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, and experience medieval life through interactive exhibits and events.
  4. Monkey World: Visit Monkey World, a renowned primate rescue center, and witness the incredible work done to protect and care for endangered primates. Explore the park, learn about different primate species, and observe these fascinating animals up close.
  5. Brownsea Island: Take a ferry ride to Brownsea Island, a haven for wildlife and natural beauty. Explore woodland trails, spot rare birds, and enjoy the tranquility of this stunning island. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the elusive red squirrels that call this place home.
  6. Swanage Railway: Step aboard the Swanage Railway, a heritage steam railway that takes you on a nostalgic journey through the picturesque Purbeck countryside. Enjoy the scenic views from the vintage carriages and experience the charm of steam train travel.
  7. Tank Museum: Immerse yourself in the history of armored warfare at the Tank Museum in Bovington. Discover an extensive collection of tanks, explore interactive exhibits, and learn about the evolution of these powerful machines.
  8. Abbotsbury Swannery: Visit the Abbotsbury Swannery, the only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world. Witness the stunning sight of hundreds of swans and their cygnets, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this unique attraction.
  9. Poole Harbour: Explore the largest natural harbor in Europe at Poole Harbour. Take a boat trip, go sailing or kayaking, and soak up the scenic beauty of the surrounding coastline. Don’t forget to indulge in fresh seafood at one of the harbor’s charming waterfront restaurants.
  10. Nothe Fort: Step into history at Nothe Fort, a 19th-century coastal fortification overlooking Weymouth Harbour. Explore the underground passages, discover fascinating military artifacts, and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.
  11. Compton Acres Gardens: Wander through the stunning Compton Acres Gardens, a series of themed gardens showcasing an array of horticultural delights. From Japanese gardens to Italianate terraces, this oasis of beauty offers a serene escape for nature enthusiasts.
  12. Portland Bill Lighthouse: Visit the iconic Portland Bill Lighthouse, perched on the rugged cliffs of the Isle of Portland. Learn about its fascinating maritime history and enjoy panoramic views of the English Channel.
  13. Bournemouth Beach: Relax and soak up the sun at Bournemouth Beach, a seven-mile stretch of golden sand known for its cleanliness and vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy beachfront amenities, water sports, and beachside cafes and restaurants.
  14. Weymouth Beach: Spend a day at Weymouth Beach, a family-friendly destination with pristine sands and shallow waters. Build sandcastles, take a dip in the sea, or stroll along the promenade lined with shops and eateries.
  15. Studland Beaches: Discover the beauty of Studland Beaches, a series of sandy bays nestled within a nature reserve. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking in this idyllic coastal setting.
  16. Chesil Beach: Experience the awe-inspiring Chesil Beach, a pebble beach stretching for 18 miles. Explore its unique ecosystem, go for scenic walks, or enjoy birdwatching along this stunning natural wonder.
  17. Portland Castle: Step into history at Portland Castle, a well-preserved fortress built by Henry VIII. Explore the Tudor fortifications, climb the battlements, and learn about the castle’s role in defending the coastline.
  18. The Keep Military Museum: Dive into military history at The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester. Discover the stories of local regiments, explore fascinating exhibits, and learn about the lives of soldiers through interactive displays.
  19. Swanage Beach: Relax on Swanage Beach, a family-friendly sandy beach with clear waters and scenic surroundings. Enjoy beach games, water sports, or simply unwind and soak up the coastal charm.
  20. Athelhampton House and Gardens: Visit the historic Athelhampton House, a stunning Tudor manor surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. Explore the grand rooms, stroll through the meticulously maintained gardens, and admire the architectural marvels.
  21. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum: Immerse yourself in art and culture at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth. Discover a diverse collection of artwork, antiques, and artifacts housed in a magnificent Victorian villa.
  22. Portland Bill Visitor Centre: Learn about the wildlife, geology, and history of the Isle of Portland at the Portland Bill Visitor Centre. Enjoy interactive exhibits, climb to the top of the Pulpit Rock, and take in the panoramic views.
  23. Lyme Regis: Explore the charming seaside town of Lyme Regis, known for its fossil-rich cliffs, picturesque harbor, and sandy beaches. Take a walk along the famous Cobb, visit the Lyme Regis Museum, or hunt for fossils along the coastline.
  24. Hardy’s Cottage: Visit the birthplace of renowned author Thomas Hardy at Hardy’s Cottage. Explore the thatched-roof cottage, wander through the surrounding countryside, and gain insights into the life and works of this literary icon.
  25. Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust: Delve into the artistry of stone carving at the Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust. Discover a unique collection of sculptures, learn about the island’s rich quarrying heritage, and even try your hand at stone carving.
  26. Milton Abbey: Step into the historic Milton Abbey, a stunning Benedictine abbey with roots dating back to the 10th century. Admire the architecture, stroll through the grounds, and visit the abbey’s museum and art gallery.
  27. Dorset County Museum: Immerse yourself in the history, archaeology, and natural sciences of Dorset at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester. Explore a wide range of exhibits, including the famous Dorset dinosaur fossils.
  28. Kimmeridge Bay: Discover the geological wonders of Kimmeridge Bay, a haven for fossil hunters and nature enthusiasts. Explore the rock pools, hunt for fossils, and enjoy panoramic views of the Jurassic Coast.
  29. Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum: Step into the past at the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester. Learn about the county’s legal history, attend a mock trial, and explore the interactive exhibits that bring the courtroom to life.
  30. Portland Museum: Dive into the history and heritage of the Isle of Portland at the Portland Museum. Discover the island’s maritime past, learn about local traditions, and explore fascinating exhibits.
  31. Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts: Enjoy live performances and cultural events at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts. From theater productions to concerts and art exhibitions, there’s always something exciting happening at this vibrant venue.
  32. Mapperton House and Gardens: Visit Mapperton House and Gardens, a stunning Elizabethan manor nestled in beautiful countryside. Explore the exquisite gardens, wander through the historic house, and soak up the tranquil ambiance.
  33. The Tutankhamun Exhibition: Step into the world of ancient Egypt at The Tutankhamun Exhibition in Dorchester. Discover replicas of Tutankhamun’s treasures, learn about the pharaoh’s life and death, and unravel the mysteries of this fascinating civilization.
  34. Portland Bill Bird Observatory and Field Centre: Delve into the world of birdwatching at the Portland Bill Bird Observatory and Field Centre. Observe a wide variety of bird species, learn from knowledgeable volunteers, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
  35. Marine Theatre: Catch a live performance at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, a charming seaside venue hosting a range of events, including plays, concerts, and comedy shows.
  36. Sherborne Abbey: Marvel at the architectural beauty of Sherborne Abbey, a magnificent medieval church with a rich history. Take a guided tour, attend a service, or simply admire the stunning craftsmanship.
  37. The Square and Compass: Enjoy a traditional pub experience at The Square and Compass in Worth Matravers. This historic pub offers real ales, delicious food, and a cozy atmosphere, making it the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring.
  38. Kingston Lacy: Explore the grandeur of Kingston Lacy, an elegant country mansion surrounded by stunning gardens and parkland. Admire the art collection, stroll through the landscaped grounds, and enjoy family-friendly activities.
  39. Badbury Rings: Discover the ancient hillfort of Badbury Rings, an Iron Age fort with sweeping views of the Dorset countryside. Take a walk through history and enjoy a picnic amidst the tranquil surroundings.
  40. Portland Sculpture Park: Experience contemporary art in an outdoor setting at the Portland Sculpture Park. Admire unique sculptures while enjoying the coastal views and rugged landscape of the Isle of Portland.
  41. Bridport Arts Centre: Immerse yourself in the arts at the Bridport Arts Centre, a vibrant hub for theater, film, music, and visual arts. Catch a performance, browse the galleries, or participate in workshops and classes.
  42. The Cerne Giant: Visit the famous Cerne Giant, a well-known chalk figure carved into the hillside near the village of Cerne Abbas. Marvel at this ancient symbol and explore the picturesque surrounding countryside.
  43. The Mill House Cider Museum: Discover the rich cider-making heritage of Dorset at The Mill House Cider Museum. Learn about traditional cider production, taste local varieties, and explore the orchards and gardens.
  44. Moors Valley Country Park and Forest: Enjoy outdoor adventures at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest. Walk or cycle through woodland trails, go on a tree-top adventure, or have a picnic by the lake in this beautiful natural setting.
  45. Wareham Town Walls: Explore the historic town of Wareham and its well-preserved medieval town walls. Take a leisurely stroll, soak up the charm of the town, and learn about its fascinating past.
  46. The Tank Museum’s Tankfest: Experience the thrill of Tankfest at the Tank Museum in Bovington. Witness powerful tank demonstrations, explore the museum’s extensive collection, and immerse yourself in the world of armored warfare.
  47. Bridport Museum: Dive into the history and culture of Bridport at the Bridport Museum. Explore exhibits highlighting the town’s maritime heritage, rope-making industry, and local traditions.
  48. The Rex Cinema, Wareham: Step into a bygone era at The Rex Cinema in Wareham, a charming independent cinema showcasing a mix of classic and contemporary films in a retro setting.
  49. Athelhampton Gardens: Visit the stunning Athelhampton Gardens, renowned for its beautiful Tudor architecture and meticulously maintained gardens. Enjoy the tranquil ambiance, explore the topiary, and discover hidden corners of natural beauty.
  50. The Great Dorset Steam Fair: Experience the largest steam fair in Europe at The Great Dorset Steam Fair, held annually in Tarrant Hinton. Marvel at vintage steam engines, enjoy live entertainment, and immerse yourself in the nostalgia of a bygone era.

With its rich history, stunning coastline, picturesque villages, and diverse attractions, Dorset offers a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you’re interested in nature, culture, history, or simply enjoying the beauty of the surroundings, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this remarkable county. Plan your visit to Dorset today and embark on a memorable journey through its top 50 attractions.