Hugging the fossil-embedded cliffs of the English Channel, Dorset is a picturesque county in England’s far south that’s largely designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s home to charming beachside towns such as Poole and Weymouth, as well as a variety of family-friendly attractions and the world’s largest collection of tanks.
Things to do in Dorset
Whether you want to delve into Europe’s military history, come face-to-face with primates or discover the natural beauty of southern England, Dorset offers something for the entire family.
Explore the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast. Much of Dorset’s coastline is designated as part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site, boasting spectacular geological formations that can be seen either on land or by boat. Photograph the natural limestone arch of Durdle Door and the triplet rock formation known as Old Harry Rocks, then see the layered cliffs of sparkling Lulworth Cove.
See the playful primates of Monkey World. Travelling with kids? Don’t miss a visit to Monkey World, a family-friendly attraction that provides a sanctuary for more than 250 rescued or endangered primates. Watch the playful antics in the orangutan creche and attend one of the daily keeper talks before letting the kids run loose in the large Great Ape Adventure Play Area.
Visit Bovington’s Tank Museum. If you want to see the largest collection of tanks in the world, visit the Tank Museum, which is located at the Bovington Camp military base. It showcases around 300 armoured fighting vehicles from more than 25 different countries, including the only working example of a German Tiger I tank and a British Mark I dating back to World War I.
Getting around Dorset
Bournemouth International Airport is the main aviation gateway to Dorset and has flights to destinations across Europe. Trains connect towns and villages across the county while ferries travel to Jersey, Guernsey and Cherbourg in France. Having your own vehicle is the most convenient way of exploring the region, although most of the town centres are ideally navigated on foot.