Dorset is where many people go to soak up the enchanting English countryside. While the county doesn't have a central bustling metropolis, it’s made up of dozens of delightful villages and towns that each have their own personality. Featuring scores of lively fairs, historical landmarks and sandy beachfronts, there's no shortage of things to see and do.

    For many people heading to Dorset, the stunning countryside is what they want to experience most. Along the famous Jurassic Coast and throughout the interior hinterland, there's a myriad of beaches and walking trails that stretch long into the distance. Embark on a road trip to Dorset and see its alluring charms for yourself.

    1

    Durdle Door

    Visit one of Dorset’s most famous natural spots

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    Durdle Door is a common sight on Dorset fridge magnets and postcards, but nothing beats seeing this iconic beach in real life. Famous for its limestone arch, the beach became the UK’s first natural UNESCO world heritage site in 2001.

    The beach itself is made up of pebbles and shingle. Bathing in the water is possible but swimmers are advised to take caution as there is no lifeguard. Perhaps the best way to enjoy the stunning scenery at Durdle Door is to view it from the cliff-top viewing point above, where there's a small food and souvenir shop.

    Poloha: Durdle Door, Dorset, UK

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    2

    Highcliffe Castle

    Visit this grand 19th-century landmark and soak up the coastal views

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    Highcliffe Castle is an iconic historical structure in Dorset. The 19th-century castle is a historical treasure with its Romantic and Picturesque style architecture. Built between 1831 and 1836, its clifftop location offers a wealth of spectacular views across the Isle of Wight.

    The interiors have original French marble and stained-glass windows that were shipped across the English Channel. You’re welcomed to explore the castle’s pristine surrounding gardens, where there are endless places for a relaxing family picnic. Highcliffe Castle also has direct access to nearby Avon Beach and Steamer Point Nature Reserve.

    Poloha: Rothesay Dr, Highcliffe BH23 4LE, UK

    Otevírací doba: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Telefon: +44 (0)1425 278807

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    3

    Kingston Lacy

    Roam the endless grounds of this historically significant mansion

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    Kingston Lacy is a wonderland for those who love to immerse themselves in history. Built between 1663 and 1665, the Italian-style mansion is surrounded by an incredible 8,500 acres of parkland. Inside the residence, you can examine a huge private art collection featuring significant paintings by the likes of Rubens, Van Dyck, and Titian. Kingston Lacy is also home to one of the world's most significant collections of Egyptian artefacts.

    The outdoor areas are also fascinating to explore. There's a peaceful Japanese garden with a cosy teahouse, as well as a dense fernery with over 40 different species. Keep your eyes out for the heard of Devon cattle that roam the property.

    Poloha: Kingston Lacy, Wimborne BH21 4EA, UK

    Otevírací doba: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Telefon: +44 (0)1202 883402

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    4

    Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

    Get a glimpse of incredible plants from around the world

    The Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is a world-class collection of rare plants from around the globe. Across 20 acres of wonderfully manicured landscape, the garden was originally established in 1765 to produce fruit and vegetables for an adjacent castle. Over the years, many green additions have been the first of their kind in England.

    The Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is best known for its camellia groves and magnolias, while the collection of rhododendrons and hydrangeas are also a favourite. Throughout the estate, visitors can wander the nature trails that pass by several playgrounds, sunken gardens and a delightful colonial-style teahouse.

    Poloha: Buller's Way, Abbotsbury, Weymouth DT3 4LA, UK

    Otevírací doba: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Telefon: +44 (0)1305 871387

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    5

    Old Harry Rocks

    Enjoy fascinating views of the Jurassic Coastline and its chalk cliffs

    Old Harry Rocks is one of Dorset's most popular and iconic natural landmarks. Its spectacular chalk cliffs run along the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast and out into the sea, contrasting with the vibrant green countryside. It's believed that Old Harry Rocks were once connected to the Isle of Wight's famous chalk towers known as the Needles, though these have eroded over thousands of years.

    Old Harry Rocks is accessible via a 1-mile walk from Studland Bay, with the lush grassland clifftops providing panoramic views along the coastline. There are plenty of places to rest with a picnic basket, while quaint restaurants and cafes in the village of Studland are only a short distance away.

    Poloha: Handfast Point, S W Coast Path, Isle of Purbeck, UK

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    6

    Sculpture by the Lakes

    Relish the arts and the outdoors at this scenic lakeside grassland

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    Sculpture by the Lakes is a chance for art lovers to enjoy the scenic outdoors. Created by celebrated British contemporary sculptor Simon Gudgeon and his wife Monique, the vivid landscape comes alive with pictorial ponds that have been complemented by a range of creative additions.

    Spanning 26 acres of tranquil grassland, numerous hidden pockets provide the ideal place to rest and enjoy the serene atmosphere. Plus, Sculpture by the Lakes has the top-notch Gallery Cafe, which serves a variety of homemade dishes and locally produced drinks.

    Poloha: Pallington Lakes, Dorchester DT2 8QU, UK

    Otevírací doba: Wednesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Telefon: +44 (0)7720 637808

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    Autor fotografií: Ian Andrews (CC BY-SA 2.0) upraveno

    7

    Northe Fort

    Learn about local military history at this historic fortress

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    Northe Fort is found at the tip of Weymouth Bay, overlooking the Jurassic Coast and the English Channel. Although the fort was originally constructed in 1859 to defend against a possible French invasion, it was utilised again during both World Wars as an important training facility and outpost.

    After falling into disuse, Northe Fort was restored and became a bustling tourist attraction. Featuring a military history museum and picturesque picnic areas dotted along the ramparts, the fort frequently hosts theatre production and musical performances. There's also the Fort View Café, which serves an array of teas and cakes.

    Poloha: Barrack Rd, Weymouth DT4 8UF, UK

    Otevírací doba: Daily from 11 am to 3 pm

    Telefon: +44 (0)1305 766626

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    8

    Weymouth Beach

    Spend the day sunbathing at this bustling summertime destination

    Weymouth Beach is regarded as one of Dorset's top beaches. Featuring a spotless sandy landscape that curves around the bay, the beach was first popularised by King George III, who loved the region's unspoiled coastal waters. Having continued to grow in popularity as a seaside resort, Weymouth Pier is now a thriving destination for shopping, dining and sunbathing.

    Situated alongside the town centre, Weymouth Beach is great for swimming thanks to its shallow and calm waters. During summertime, there are also regular cultural festivals, traditional puppet shows, and donkey rides for families to enjoy.

    Poloha: The Esplanade, Weymouth DT4 7SL, UK

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    9

    Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

    Take a ride on this stellar steam railway through pristine gardens

    The Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway is an enchanting outdoor setting that showcases the very best of the Dorset region. Founded in 1919, it features 200 acres of flawlessly maintained gardens offering everything from thick woodland to attractive wildflower gardens. Bordered by the Beaulieu River, there's a labyrinth of alluring pathways that wind their way around countless koi fishponds and flowerbeds.

    The Exbury Gardens also offers a genuine steam railway. Departing from Exbury Central Station and rolling through several otherwise inaccessible gardens, you can look out the windows and see a wealth of extraordinary flora and fauna. Meanwhile, there's also a modern restaurant, an outdoor cafe and playgrounds to enjoy.

    Poloha: Exbury, Southampton SO45 1AZ, UK

    Otevírací doba: Daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm

    Telefon: +44 0)23 8089 1203

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    Autor fotografií: Markus Giger (CC BY-SA 2.5) upraveno

    10

    Poole Harbour

    Explore this harbour and enjoy remarkable coastal vistas

    Poole Harbour is the destination of choice for those who want to escape the cities in favour of the coast. As Europe's largest natural harbour, it offers a range of outdoorsy activities that make it a great place to spend a warm weekend. Poole Harbour is highly regarded among sailors and watersports fans, with the marina often filling up with flashy yachts.

    The harbour is also an essential local conservation area, with the surrounding wetlands overflowing with native birdlife and plants. Plus, there are a host of first-rate coastal walks that highlight how exceptional the untouched Dorset coastline can truly be. The famous coastline also features striking views across Brownsea Island.

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    Autor fotografií: jeffowenphotos (CC BY 2.0) upraveno

    11

    Monkey World

    Get up close with fascinating primates

    Monkey World is one of the world's leading monkey sanctuaries and rescue centres. Spread throughout the 65-acre countryside of Tout Hill, the renowned parkland is home to over 250 rescued monkeys and apes across 20 unique species. Featuring the largest chimpanzee group outside Africa, Monkey World also has Europe's only orangutan nursery.

    Visitors to the sanctuary can get an intimate look at these wonderful primates from a variety of indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, while regular keeper talks provide amazing insight into the park's conservation efforts. There are 2 outdoor playgrounds, picnic areas and nature trails, along with several kiosks and cafes.

    Poloha: Tout Hill, Longthorns, Wareham BH20 6HH, UK

    Otevírací doba: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Telefon: +44 (0)1929 462537

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    12

    Brownsea Island

    A historical island with stunning vistas

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    Brownsea Island makes for a brilliant day trip from Bournemouth, accessible only by a scenic ferry from the nearby Sandbanks Jetty. The 10-minute ride departs every half hour, affording beautiful views of the island and Poole along the way.

    Upon arrival, you’ll find several verdant walking trails to explore, each with a contingent of curious deer and endangered red squirrel. Take the time to peruse the historic churches and houses, most of which have been built up along the bay shore. Brownsea Island is an excellent spot for a picnic, so remember to pack a takeaway lunch. Camping is possible and provides both a picturesque and affordable place to stay.

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    13

    Alum Chine Beach

    A fun-filled day for families with kids

    Alum Chine is to the west of Bournemouth and the place people go to either escape the crowds at Bournemouth and Boscombe or to take their little ones somewhere fun. The beach has a pirate-themed playground and plenty of places to buy ice cream.

    For the adults, there’s a tropical garden right next to the beach and some charming colourful beach huts that can be rented out. Sunsets at Alum Chine are also particularly spectacular.

    Poloha: Alum Chine Beach, W Undercliff Promenade, Bournemouth, BH4 8AN, Dorset, UK

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    14

    Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

    Visit one of the town’s most popular attractions

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    Considered one of the top things to do in Bournemouth, the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is a must-see, whatever the weather. Perched at the top of East Cliff, the stunning villa once belonged to Victorian collectors Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes.

    The couple, who were keen travellers, filled their home with a remarkable collection of art, sculptures and cultural artefacts from their travels all around the world. It was then sealed in time and has become one of the country’s most fascinating historical houses. There are regular exhibitions, tours and talks going on. Plus, when you’re done discovering highlights such as the Pre-Raphaelite art and the Japanese souvenirs, you can soak up the breathtaking sea views from the onsite café.

    Poloha: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum East, Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth BH1 3AA, UK

    Otevírací doba: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Telefon: +44 (0)1202 451800

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