With the current financial climate forcing all of us to cut back on spend for the non-essentials this year, many Brits are considering a holiday here in the UK instead of travelling abroad. As a result, prospective holidaymakers are becoming fully aware that if they choose to stay in England it is unlikely that they will be the only souls with that idea – so choosing a destination that is less known, sooner, and booking early is a great idea. Dorset is the perfect destination, especially for those seeking camping or cottage holidays. It is a less obvious choice than Devon and Cornwall, but is equally as unique and enchanting a place.
Lyme Regis is perhaps one of the best known tourist destinations in the county. The town lies on the Jurassic Coast (a World Heritage Site) to the east of the county and equidistant between Exeter and Dorchester (25 miles from each). The town’s rich history is related closely to the progression and growth of shipping and exploration in the 13th Century, and was once home to George Somers (who founded Bermuda). Today, one of the major pastimes in the town is fossil hunting. The Blue Lias rock of the cliffs is host to many intact fossils that are revealed by coastal erosion, and easy to find by visitors.
The county’s unique geography is also exemplified by Chesil Beach. This barrier beach connects the Isle of Portland to the mainland, and stretches 18 miles north-west up to the village of Burton Bradstock. The intriguing beach bar structure offers a natural barrier to Weymouth and Chiswell against the harsh channel and sea. Behind the beach in-between the Isle and the mainland lies Portland harbor, the second biggest manmade harbor in the world after Sydney. The harbor is a popular destination for sailors, wind surfers, and divers.
Bournemouth is the largest town in Dorset and is situated on the coast at the east of the county. The town is considered the regional centre for leisure and recreation, and consequently offers many things for tourists to do. The Russell Coates Museum contains collections of 19th Century paintings from countries as diverse as Japan and Russia. Bournemouth is also home to the well-renowned Royal Bath Hotel which has been the temporary residence to such celebrities as Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells and Shirley Bassey.
There are numerous other sights to see in the county to satisfy all tastes and interests: from castles to tank museums. Monkey World is certainly worth a visit. The primate sanctuary is continually growing and progressing its environmental efforts, with a range including Gibbons, Marmosets, and Lemurs. However the icon that is no doubt most known around the world is that of the Cerne Abbas giant – an 180 ft tall chalk drawing to the north of Dorchester.