The National Trust’s Ringstead Bay (DT2 8NQ): Part of the Jurassic Coast, Ringstead Bay is probably the closest beach. It’s only 13 miles away and the water is very clear and its safe for swimming. There’s also a car park (which you have to pay for in the summer months) and a very good cafe. For more info click here.
West bay, Bridport (DT6 4HX): Little bit more to do here. In the heart of the Jurassic Coast, the beach is excellent but the currents are quite strong so be a little bit more careful when swimming. Great fish and chips in the harbour and one of our favourite restaurants, The Riverside, if you want something special.
The National Trust’s Burton Bradstock (DT6 4RF): Our favourite. It’s between Ringstead and West Bay. You still have to be a bit careful with currents here, but the views are stunning. Hive Beach Cafe is a must! The seafood is fresh, their full english breakfast is a must, and their champagne is very reasonably priced!
Cerne Abbas: Some of our guests have walked here, had a pub lunch and walked back. A ‘chocolate box’ village, Cerne Abbas grew around a great Benedictine Abbey, which was founded in AD 987. It has 3 pubs, a tea room, a Post Office, and the famous Cerne Giant. Well worth a visit. Bit more info here for you.
Abbotsbury (DT3 4JG): Originally a village built around a Benedictine monastery, it’s now run by Ilchester Estates and includes a swannery, subtropical gardens and a childrens farm. A great day out for all! Here’s a link to their website.
Dorchester: It’s the county town, and famous for its connection with the writer and poet Thomas Hardy. It’s a busy market town, so useful for your day to day shopping, but also worth a visit to see the Museum and a new development of shops and eateries called Brewery Square. A bit more info here.
Poundbury: A recently developed ‘urban extension to Dorchester’. It’s been built by the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate owned by the Prince of Wales. It is unashamedly traditional and is a really interesting mix of shops, houses, offices and leisure facilities. Well worth a visit.
Sherborne: We used to live near here and loved visiting this market town, which is built around the impressive Abbey. It is claimed to be one of the most beautiful towns in England, with its abundance of medieval buildings and two castles. We like it for the Digby Tap pub and Oliver’s coffee shop! More info here.
Thimble Inn, Piddlehinton (DT2 7TD): Only a few yards from the house, but well worth a visit! It’s an award winning, 18th century thatched inn, that serves very good food and an excellent selection of local beers. Or kids love the burgers! Click here for pub website.
The Brace of Pheasants, Plush (DT2 7RQ): Only a few miles away, the pub was recently awarded Dorset Dining Pub of the Year Good Pub Guide, so well worth dropping in for lunch or dinner! We know the owners, Phil and Carol, and they would be delighted to see you. Book first though!
The Blue Vinny, Puddletown (DT2 8TE): Again, just a few miles away, we used to visit this pub regularly when we lived opposite! Good food, good beer and a large beer garden. Take a look at the website.
The Poachers Inn, Piddletrenthide (DT2 7QX): Next village along the valley, the Poachers Inn has a swimming pool that you can use if you’re eating there, so well worth a visit in the summer! Bit more info here.
The Hambro Arms, Milton Abbas ( DT11 0BP): We’ve only eaten there once, but it was very good. More foodie than a pub, it’s worth visiting just to have a walk around the ‘chocolate box’ village. Visit the pub’s website.
The Green, Sherborne (DT9 3HY): Been here quite a few times over the years and it never disappoints. a Grade II Listed ‘picture postcard’ building, serving locally sourced food. Very good. Click here for more info.
The Crab House Cafe, Wyke Regis (DT4 9YU): One of our absolute favourites! Nothing fancy about the place, just excellent, fresh seafood. We often go for a quick swim afterwards. Great fun. Take a look at their website.
The Riverside Restaurant, West Bay (DT6 4EZ): Another favourite. For a special occasion, this restaurant is a must. Famous for its fish, but a great varied menu. A cool place, great wine menu. Find out more here.
Rick Stein, Sandbanks (BH13 7QB): Haven’t been here, but Stein’s restaurants are always amazing. And the setting, with views across the water, is meant to be worth the visit! Click here for the website.
Zizzi’s, Dorchester (DT1 1QR): A favourite for our kids. It’s a great location too, within the Brewery Square complex. Cinema right next door!
Cote, Dorchester (DT1 1QR): Another chain restaurant within the Brewery Square complex. There’s also Nando’s and a very good Pizza Express.