Where is the best place in Dorset?
We may be biased, but Purbeck tops the list every time. Full of fascinating geology and stunning seascapes around every corner, Purbeck holidays attract thousands of tourists every year. But for those visitors who want to experience Dorset life by staying in a holiday cottage, we wanted to dig a bit deeper.
Thriving, independent Purbeck businesses showcase the best that the area has to offer, whether that’s food, hospitality or memorable experiences. All too often, though, we don’t get to share our personal highlights with you. Here’s why Purbeck is Dorset’s best holiday destination, according to the locals who have turned their own passion for the area into something even more special.
Heathland melts into beach which dissolves into clear blue seas.
“There are many reasons to fall in love with the Isle of Purbeck but for me, the chance to walk from the shores of Poole Harbour, through sand dunes and heathlands, across acres of rich farmland to some of the finest sea cliffs in the country may be a good place to start.”
Julian Sawyer from Purbeck Footprints – www.purbeckfootprints.co.uk
Tiny villages encrusted with old stone cottages doze, enlivened by thatched pubs and independent restaurants. Visit ruined castles and country manor houses in the same day. Spot the Isle of Wight from Swanage beach or glimpse Portland on a clear day from Lulworth Cove. Purbeck offers you the opportunity to see it all.
Accessible from London, Purbeck is the ideal escape. Trains arrive into Wareham in 2 ½ hours, or you’ll be glad you’ve got the car if you drive the extra hour yourself, for freedom to explore along the coast. Bournemouth and Poole may only be a quick trip on the Studland Chain Ferry, but you can’t beat the tranquillity you will find in the Isle of Purbeck.
Why is Purbeck so special?
“Many hidden gems can be found along the shoreline!”
Terry at Jurassic Coast Activities – www.jurassiccoastactivities.co.uk
North Dorset also features countryside and amazing history; for example Maiden Castle is only 30 minutes’ drive from Wareham. But what’s a holiday without the beach? Our holiday cottages in Purbeck are never more than 15 minutes away from sand or pebbles. Swanage beach and Durdle Door are some of Britain’s best, or walk a stretch of the South West Coast path to discover bays only accessible by foot. Leave the buckets and spades at home, as many of our holiday cottages supply everything you need. Hidden beaches abound: Dancing Ledge near Langton Matravers is the dramatic setting of a stone quarry, or visit Mupes Bay on the other side of Lulworth Cove for rock pooling and crabbing.
Why not Devon or Cornwall?
“The most beautiful spot in the whole of the Purbeck Isles is just up the road from us at the lookout point. With stunning view over the whole of Poole Harbour, it is the ideal place for sunset watching and evening picnics.”
Alice from Dorset Water Park in Corfe Castle.
The vistas from every vantage point. The Studland viewpoint is the perfect setting for an ice cream, while Whiteways Hill is set off a winding country lane linking Stoborough with Kimmeridge. The drive to either will make you feel seventeen again; the views mix the sea with the Purbeck Hills themselves. Country roads will also lead you to Tyneham, the evacuated wartime village featuring preserved houses, a school and a farm. Many visitors come for the history and only by chance discover a beach at the end of a path through military land: Warbarrow Bay. A final (optional!) steep climb will make you feel like you’re standing on top of the world.
Where is the best place to find fossils in Dorset?
Imagine your child’s delight in cracking open a rock to reveal an ammonite … It has to be Kimmeridge:
“Kimmeridge – a geological wonder and one of the most scientifically important places in the world, a location that every once in while with the erosion of time, wind and sea gives up its secrets with discoveries of Jurassic reptiles, fish and marine creatures, allowing us to unlock their ‘Stories from Deep Time’…”
Carla at The Etches Collection – www.theetchescollection.org
Where are the best walks in Purbeck?
If you’re taking advantage of our dog-friendly cottages, you’re able to bring your pet along on most of the walks mentioned here. Don’t forget to check individual beaches for dog accessibility. For a stunning walk balancing grassy downs and cliff tops, make sure you head to Durlston Country Park above Swanage.
“As a local business owner, it’s very hard to come up with just one favourite thing about Purbeck as I have so many favourite things (especially as we work with so many wonderful local food & drink producers), but for me it has to be the globe at Durlston. We love walking up to Durlston Country Park from Peveril Point to enjoy the views and then having a run around the world. It’s fun to take friends who don’t know what we are talking about and see their reaction when they see the giant stone globe for the first time!”
Claire Burnet- Chococo co-founder www.chococo.co.uk
Local Purbeck Food and Drink
If you find joy in discovering authentic local cuisine, Purbeck will not disappoint. The recently opened Pig On The Beach in Studland has its own kitchen garden. The Castle Inn in Lulworth Cove boasts a variety of over 40 different ciders, many of them locally sourced. And what could be better than local chocolate? The Chococo shop in Swanage might offer you a sample if you ask nicely…
If you’re still stuck for ideas about what to do while you’re in Purbeck, our very best recommendation would be to head to the beach and start walking along the coast, stopping at cafes and pubs along the way. Sounds like the perfect day to us! Find all our gorgeous holiday cottages in Purbeck for your perfect retreat.
If you fancy a trip to the Isle of Purbeck, take a look at our Purbeck Holiday Cottages.