Information and Tourism

Dorset flagThe south-western English county of Dorset has two very different faces. On the one hand, it makes us think of classic seaside resorts and Victorian dinosaur hunters. On the other, it is more rural in nature, with rolling green hills, thatched cottages aplenty and historic market towns.

Dorset's seaside resorts of Bournemouth and Weymouth are as traditional as they come. They are the sort of places where you unfurl your windbreak, pop up the hired deckchair and tuck into a Mr. Whippy ice cream. The area around Weymouth is known for its sailing events and use as a venue during the 2012 Olympic Games.

The county of Dorset is also home to the Jurassic coast, which over the years has yielded numerous dinosaur fossils. Head down to the beaches around Lyme Regis today and you can still see people bent over, chipping away at the rocks with tiny hammers in search of a souvenir ammonite or two.

Inland are such bustling towns as Dorchester, Blandford Forum and Shaftesbury. Dorset has more than 30 museums scattered throughout its principal county towns. It is also known for its annual festivals and steam fairs. The largest is the Great Dorset Steam Fair, which takes place each August. Also especially popular in the summer is the Bournemouth Air Show, which now attracts over a million visitors each year.

Dorset is also Hardy country. Many of the settings used by the 19th-century author Thomas Hardy can be found here, albeit under different names. Dorset still acts as something of a magnet for writers. Douglas Adams wrote 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' whilst he lived in this county. Ian Fleming, of James Bond fame, also spent his formative school years here.

Dorset's busy ports of Poole and Weymouth are the starting points for many a French adventure, with ferries leaving regularly for ports on the other side of the English Channel.

Dorset Information and Fast Facts

World Guide to Bournemouth, England
Bournemouth is best known for its spectacular golden beaches, which stretch for over 11 km / 7 miles along the seafront. The beaches, combined with sheltered, bathing waters, have always been a major tourist attraction in Bournemouth.
World Guide to Lyme Regis, England
A summer holiday in Lyme Regis offers all kinds of seaside fun, ranging from fossil hunting and sunbathing on its central sandy beachfront, to a historic Cobb fronting the harbour. Lyme Regis is also a good base to explore south-western Dorset.
World Guide to Poole, England
The medieval port of Poole is situated next to the sea and is full of tourist attractions and activities, such as the famous Poole Pottery. These tourist attractions also include Poole Harbour and the Sandbanks peninsula.
World Guide to Swanage, England
A gateway town on England's celebrated Jurassic Coast, Swanage lives in the county of Dorset, where it has been a popular seaside resort ever since the Victorian era. The sandy beachfront of Swanage is a real draw for families.
World Guide to Weymouth, England
A busy port in medieval times, Weymouth is sited on England's southerly coastline and this town has been popular with tourists since Victorian times. The Esplanade borders Weymouth's seafront and connects most places of interest.

Map of Dorset

Dorset Map