Dorset is a county on the south coast of England, in the West Country.

Towns and villages

Map of Dorset



8, 10 and 12, Long Street, Cerne Abbas

Other Destinations


Dorset is mostly rural, with a few large towns and many small villages. The county has a variety of landscapes, from steep chalk hills and wide clay valleys full of small dairy farms to the 50 mile Jurassic Coast world heritage site, popular with tourists and important to science.

Dorset has notable lesbian and gay activity in Bournemouth and Weymouth. Other towns have small but developing gay communities. Bournemouth has an annual Pride event. Information on the gay community in Dorset is collated online at [

Get in

By plane

The only major airport in Dorset is Bournemouth International Airport, which provides flights to many cities in Europe, as does Southampton airport, to the east and Exeter airport, to the west. Bristol airport, to the north, has a wider selection, including New York. London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports are both approximately 100 miles to the north-east of Bournemouth.

By train

Dorchester, Poole, Bournemouth, Weymouth and on a separate line Sherborne and Gillingham are connected directly to London, approximately 2 hours. Dorchester, Weymouth and Sherborne are connected to Bristol and Bath, about 1 1/2 hours away.

By car

The A303 is the main route from London into the north of the county (and has Stonehenge half-way). The south of the county is connected to London by the M3 and M27, and to the Channel Tunnel by the M27 and A27. Both routes carry on into Devon and Cornwall. The A36 and A37 connect to Bath and Bristol.

The A35 between Dorchester and Bridport has spectacular views over the local countryside, as too does the coastal road (B3157) between Weymouth and Bridport. Both are probably most dramatic at sunset (driving towards Bridport) but are amazing at any time.

By boat

There are ferries from Jersey, Guernsey, Cherbourg, France, to Poole and Weymouth run by Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries.

Get around

By bus

Much of Dorset is very rural, and though there are many bus routes, many do not have regular and often services, or may only run on market and pension days. The biggest bus company is called Wilts & Dorset which runs services to most of the major towns. Their main office is at Poole Bus Station, with satellite offices in some of the larger towns.


The Cerne Abbas Giant




Dorset has a number of local specialities including Apple Cake, Cream Teas and Blue Vinney Cheese.

Some of the best local food comes from tea shops, cafes, fish and chip shops and pubs, Not all pubs serve food all of the time and the quality varies considerably.

If you prefer international or exotic flavours the towns of Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth will provide you with a good choice.


There are many breweries in Dorset. Hall & Woodhouse of Blandford is the largest brewing Badger Best Bitter, Tanglefoot and a variety of flavoured beers. Palmers of Bridport is the biggest brewers in the West of the County. Each of these breweries has a large number of tied pubs within the county. Other local beers often found in Dorset pubs come from Ringwood Brewery, Fullers, Marstons and Morland along with the well known international lagers.

It is possible to find locally made cider and scrumpy in some of the rural areas.

There is a vineyard at Horton north of Wimborne, but wine production in the county is low volume at best.


Go next

Devon lies to the west, Somerset and Wiltshire to the north, and Hampshire is to the east.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 27, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.