About Dorset

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Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Home to the stunning Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, a magnet for fossil hunters and setting for the hit TV series Broadchurch. We also have miles and miles of sandy, award-winning beaches beloved by millions of holiday makers. 

More than half of Dorset is designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), reflecting our breathtaking landscapes, panoramic views, rich wildlife habitats and historical landmarks such as hilltop earthworks and ancient monuments.

Famous landmarks include Brownsea Island, birthplace of the scouting movement; Corfe Castle; the Cerne Abbas Giant; Gold Hill in Shaftesbury; Durdle Door; the Cobb at Lyme Regis, and the former homes of Thomas Hardy, run by the National Trust.

  • 57 miles of heritage coastline

  • Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in theUK

  • With over 7,000 hectares of heathland, Dorset is home to a multitude of rare species

Things To Do

You will never be short of things to do, whatever your age or interest. Nationally famous attractions include Monkey World, the Tank Museum, Lulworth Castle and Kingston Lacy House. And you have your pick of 600 pubs.

Love sport? You can go to watch AFC Bournemouth take on the cream of the Premier League, see the Poole Pirates battle for another speedway title or take to the water at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 

If you enjoy outdoor pursuits, you will be spoilt for choice. There are endless opportunities for diving, wind surfing, fishing, climbing, rowing and cycling. And dazzling routes like the South Coast Path show why Dorset is a walker’s paradise.

Fancy some seaside fun? You’ll have two of the UK’s favourite family resorts, Bournemouth and Weymouth, on your doorstep, plus Poole Quay and the glorious Sandbanks beach – all blessed with some of the sunniest weather in the country. 

  • Over 600 pubs

  • Home of AFC Bournemouth and the Poole Pirates

  • Visit Monkey World, the Tank Museum or Lulworth Castle

Discover Dorset

We have great road and rail links to London, while Bournemouth International Airport offers flights to a host of top holiday destinations. The New Forest, Salisbury Plain, Dartmoor, Southampton and the Isle of Wight are all within easy travelling distance.

Think Dorset might be a bit sleepy? Think again. Bournemouth boasts a host of happening nightclubs, while you can enjoy top music and comedy talent in venues such as the Bournemouth International Centre, the 02 Academy, and The Lighthouse in Poole.

We play host to some of the south’s biggest outdoor events, from the hugely popular Camp Bestival and Great Dorset Steam Fair to the high-flying Bournemouth Air Festival and Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth. And then there’s our unique Dorset Knob Throwing event!

Have kids? We have a range of high-performing schools and colleges, the constantly growing multi-campus Bournemouth University, the creative Arts University Bournemouth and the forward-thinking Bournemouth and Poole College. Other top universities also aren’t far including Exeter, Southampton and Winchester. There are also specialist centres such as Kingston Maurward agricultural college and four exciting outdoor education centres.

As you might expect, farming, fishing and tourism are key parts of our economy, but Dorset is also a thriving centre for new media and banking services. Major employers include BAE Systems, Sunseeker International and J.P. Morgan.

  • The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) the largest purpose-built event venue on the south coast

  • Year round events from Camp Bestival to the Bournemouth Air Show

  • High-performing education establishments

Dorset’s Claim to Fame!

The beautiful coastline of Dorset stars in the popular ITV1 Drama, Broachurch. David Tennant and Olivia Colman feature in this crime drama written by Chris Chibnall and produced by Kudos Film and Televsion.

The Durrells
Partially filmed in Bournemouth, Dorset, the Durrells are a family adapted from Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals”. Widowed Louisa Durrell, moves her family from England to the Greek island of Corfu in 1935, and the story begins!

A 2017 drama/thriller movie based on the Second World War and directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk was partially filmed at Swanage Railway in Dorset. The film features former One Direction member, Harry Styles.

Alan Carr
The British comedy chat show presenter Alan Carr originates from Weymouth, Dorset, and is known for the TV show, Alan Carr: Chatty Man.

Chris Martin
Lead singer and co-founder of the rock band, Coldplay, Chris attended Sherborne School for Boys in Sherborne, Dorset and then the University College London. He was married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow and father to Apple and Moses Martin.

Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp lives Poole’s Sandbanks, and has managed many football clubs over the years including AFC Bournemouth, West Ham United, and Portsmouth. His son, Jamie Redknapp is a retired professional football player. He is also Frank Lampards uncle, a retired professional footballer.

Amanda Holden
Amanda Holden lived in Bournemouth while studying at Bournemouth and Poole College’s Jellicoe Theatre course.

Christian Bale
Christian Bale was a pupil at Bournemouth School when he landed his breakthrough role in Steven Spielberg’s 1987 film Empire of the Sun

sq miles
Conservation Areas

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