Dorset Visitor information
An Introduction to Dorset
Dorset is very a rural county and has no cities but has the large coastal towns of Bournemouth, Weymouth and Poole; the county town of Dorchester and many attractive market towns such as Blandford Forum, Sherborne, Gillingham, Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton that date back hundreds of year and are full of rich history and many ancient artifacts.
Dorset is famed for its rural and coastal beauty with its World Heritage Coast line and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty take up 44% of the county. There are imposing yet attractive hill forts scattered over some of the higher land formations whilst there are many pretty market towns throughout that have a historical background, often dating back to the Roman invasion. You can visit many historical palces, for instance the ruins of Corfe Castle, Athelhampton's Tudor manor house and gardens Sherborne Castle, built by Sir Walter Raleigh and its Capability Brown designed lake. Brownsea Island nature reserve highly recommended and is close to Bournemouth and you could also visit Weymouth's Sea Life Park or Monkey World ape rescue centre. Dorset's number one theme park is Adventure Wonderland Family Fun Park in Christchurch. Dorset has beaches on both of its coastlines which attract visitors all year round due to their beauty and the long stretches of beach to explore.
Getting to Dorset
Bournemouth International Airport offers cheap flights to a large selection of destinations all over the world and is a 26 minute walk to the centre of Bournemouth.
Condor Ferries and Brittany Ferries operate services from Weymouth and Poole to the Channel Islands and the French ports of Cherbourg and St Malo.
Regular train services run from London, Birmingham, Bristol and other parts of the country into Dorset. Dorset has an extensive rail system and shuttle train from Bournemouth to the airport. This system connects to the rest of the UK and it would be recommended that if you intend to use this as your only form of travel that you buy a rail card or book in advance.
A network of main roads connect the major towns in Dorset, despite the county's lack of motorways. The main roads in the county are the A37, A35, A34, A31, A354, A350 and the A352.
By Coach and Bus
To get to Dorset it is recommended that you use National Express which operates all over the country. There are many different bus services in Dorset, including the Jurassic Coast Bus service.