Destination guide

Making memories in Dorset

Dorset has long been the workshop of childhood memories. Whether recalling sandcastles in Swanage, the fading memories of salty fish and vinegar-doused chips along the prom of Lyme Regis, or flashbacks of fossil hunting on the wild Jurassic Coast, it's a place that continues to warm the hearts of past visitors. You can forge your slice of seaside nostalgia with Dorset holiday rentals that pepper the cliffs or hide in the happening resort towns. Just don't forget to drop in jaunts to the countryside, where romantic castles and glowing chalk mountains offer something away from the English Channel.

Things to do

Castles, chimps and dinosaurs in Dorset

Dorset holiday rentals aren't hailed as some of the UK's most family-friendly-stays for nothing. Between ice creams at the seaside and fossil hunting sessions, be sure to fit in a trip to the rip-roaring Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester. You'll be greeted by a wide-mouthed T. rex and oodles of prehistoric finds. The Jurassic Skyline is another one to take the breath away. It soars above the coast in Weymouth, offering 360-degree panoramas of the primeval cliffs. And then there's Lulworth Castle, where re-enactment shows and medieval history abounds.


A Dorset adventure

Dorset is tailor-made for adventurers. With its chalk hills and the rolling Dorset Downs, the county has large swathes of protected landscapes ripe for walkers and bikers and horse riders. You can lace up the boots and hit old bridle trails, sometimes spotting haunting shells of Norman castles, sometimes dropping into rustic towns where tearooms and hearty alehouses await. The shoreline is for the fossil hunters – the rugged rocks of the Jurassic Coast can't be beaten for that. And it's for the sailors, sea kayakers, swimmers and sandcastle builders, too.


Enjoy summer in Dorset

It might be perched on the South Coast, enjoying some of the warmest weather in the whole of the UK, but Dorset is still in England. That's worth remembering if you're thinking about booking your Dorset holiday rentals for the winter months between November and March – there are hefty downpours and lashing storms aplenty then. Spring, in May, and summer, from June to September, are the favourite periods. They're when folk come with their swimming gear and hiking boots to catch the warmest seas and best sun.

Natural features

Dorset is Hardy country

The landscapes of Dorset are romantic and green, and it's easy to see why Thomas Hardy was inspired by them. Great swathes of the county are covered by Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In the south, that means the Dorset AONB, where the ridgeway walking routes weave over the Jurassic Coast, past fossil-spotted beaches and wave-lashed coves. That soon rises to the Yeovil Scarplands and the wooded valleys further north, eventually joining with the chalk ridges of Cranborne Chase, the gateway to rural England with its downs and Iron Age fortresses.

How to get there

Travelling to and around Dorset

The nearest airport is in Bournemouth (BOH-Bournemouth Intl.), located 21.5 mi (34.6 km) from the city centre. If you can't find a flight that works for your travel itinerary, you might consider flying into Southampton (SOU), which is 43.1 mi (69.4 km) away.

If you prefer to travel by train, Dorchester Moreton Station, Dorchester South Station and Dorchester West Station are the main stations in the area.

Where to stay around Dorset?

Our 2019 accommodation listings offer a large selection of 3,529 holiday lettings near Dorset. From 1,435 Cottages to 1,435 Cabins, find unique self catering accommodation for you to enjoy a memorable holiday or a weekend with your family and friends. The best place to stay near Dorset is on HomeAway.

What are the most popular destinations to visit in Dorset?

There are many lovely places to stay for a long holiday or just a weekend break in Dorset. From HomeAway travellers, the popular destinations to visit are:

  • Swanage: 929 holiday homes
  • Weymouth: 1,075 holiday homes
  • Sandbanks: 29 holiday homes
  • Poole: 1,191 holiday homes
  • Wareham: 1,449 holiday homes

HomeAway offers you the possibility to discover many other popular destinations in Dorset! Please use our search bar to access the selection of self catering accommodations available in other popular destinations.

What are the main cities to discover in Dorset?

Whether you are travelling solo or with family and friends, here are the cities in Dorset with the largest selection of holiday lettings for a perfect city break:

  • Swanage: 929 holiday lettings
  • Weymouth: 1,075 holiday lettings
  • Poole: 1,191 holiday lettings
  • Wareham: 1,449 holiday lettings
  • Studland: 765 holiday lettings

For other cities, please use our search bar to access the selection of holiday homes available.

Can I find easy access holiday homes when travelling by plane to Dorset?

Yes of course. Our owners offer a large selection of self catering accommodations near to airports. Airports with a large selection of self catering accommodations in Dorset are:

  • Poole (POQ-Poole Bus Station): 1,649 self catering accommodations
  • Bournemouth Airport (BOH): 1,795 self catering accommodations
  • Ringwood (RNW-Ringwood Bus Station): 1,919 self catering accommodations

For other airports, please use our search bar to access the selection of holiday rentals available.

What are the most popular points of interest and landmarks to stay near in Dorset?

HomeAway offers a large selection of holiday lettings near great places to visit in Dorset. From HomeAway travellers, the top popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Durdle Door: 1,563 holiday rentals
  • Weymouth Beach: 1,320 holiday rentals
  • Warmwell Holiday Park Ski Slope: 1,465 holiday rentals
  • Lulworth Cove Beach: 1,610 holiday rentals
  • Brownsea Island: 1,379 holiday rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Dorset listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Just write your wanted destination in our search bar and have a look at our selection of holiday accommodations.