Dorset on the South Coast of England is a county of staggering beauty and breathtaking scenery. Behind the famous coastline, boasting the natural wonders of Poole Harbour, Lulworth Cove and Old Harry, the countryside is an unspoilt rural haven of working villages, winding lanes and a vibrant history.
The Purbeck Coast boasts not only a stunning coastline, but a range of special nature reserves and both marine and country parks. Two of the largest single attractions along this stretch of Coast are the Abbotsbury Swannery and the magnificent Corfe Castle. Walking along the downs places you at the heart of Thomas Hardy country.
With 140km of coastline, Dorset offers some of the best beaches in the UK. Many, like Swanage Bay are glorious sandy beaches, although the shingle and pebble beaches of Chesil Beach are immensely popular too.
Dorset has avoided the lure of development, and as a result you can still get lost for days walking or riding round the extensive countryside, from hilly landscapes to the plains of the Blackmore Vale in an endless maze of footpaths and bridleways. The unspoilt natural landscape is a haven for bird and wildlife, and much of the land is now protected. Walkers and riders can tie their horses outside one of the many rural Dorset public houses for a pint and some traditional country food to recuperate for the remainder of the journey.
Taking a holiday cottage in Dorset can make a great base for a sporting holiday too. There are extensive provisions for diving, sailing (the London 2012 Olympic sailing centre is in Weymouth), windsurfing, golf, tennis and fishing (rivers, lakes and sea), and there are now two dry ski slopes open to the public.
Bournemouth is a magnificent venue for a night out, and a Dorset holiday cottage here allows you to visit Europe’s largest leisure complex, Tower Park, one of the many world class theatres or the National Trust houses dotted around the county.
The attractions of Monkey World and the Bovington Tank Museum are particular favourites for many visitors, and a Dorset holiday Cottage in Dorchester is probably the best base to enjoy these two attractions.
Dorset enjoys a milder climate than much of South England, with less rain and slightly higher temperatures than is average for the region.
Bournemouth International Airport (BOH) serves as the closest for all the Dorset self catering holiday cottages, but the rail networks provided by South West Trains probably offer the best range of alternatives.