Places to stay in
Dorset is a county of great beauty, a land of contrast and breathtaking
scenery. It is one of the maritime counties of southern England,
fronting the English Channel which separates the United Kingdom
from mainland Europe.
Its coastline extends some 140 kilometers from Lyme Regis in the
west to Christchurch in the east, and offers a selection of the
finest sandy beaches to be found in the British Isles.
The award winning heritage coast begins in Poole Harbour, and includes
the Purbeck coastline which is the site of special nature reserves
and countryside/marine parks. Traveling westwards, equally spectacular
is the Chesil Bank, a barren pebbled beach, stretching 25 kilometers
from Weymouth to Bridport. This, with the internationally famous
Abbotsbury Swannery, is a photographer's paradise, and a sea captain's
nightmare! Dorset is frequently described as 'The Best of Both Worlds',
for behind the varied coastline lies a county rich in archaeology,
unspoilt rural villages and countryside, and a history to be proud
of. From before Roman times, Dorset has been a jewel in England's
crown, and the evidence of forefathers is plentiful.
The region owes much of its charm to its villages - over 150 of
them - and they are well worth exploring. Drive through Abbotsbury's
long and winding main street and you will see sandstone cottages,
tempting tea rooms and glimpse an old coaching inn. Other villages
have quaint names like Toller Porcorum, Plush & Piddlehinton,
each has its history, character and charm. Many - like Evershot,
Nettlecombe or Cerne Abbas - lie hidden in quiet inland valleys.
In Cerne Abbas, for instance, you'll find houses dating from the
15th century, the ruins of an Abbey and the famous Giant - a striking
180-foot high figure cut into the chalk downs overlooking the village.
A major part of Dorset is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
and it boasts outstanding beaches, scenery, and historic links.
Tourism is an important industry supporting some 25,000 people.
Dorset is the third highest ranked county in England in terms of
nights spent by visitors, and second for visitor spending.
There is much more to see and do for the visitor and resident alike.
Dorset boasts several new leisure centers, and two dry-ski slopes.
Sporting activity is available everywhere including sailing, diving
and wind-surfing, golf, cricket, soccer, tennis, bowls, rugby and
fishing, to name a few. More informal leisure pursuits which take
advantage of the scenery are walking, horse-riding and rambling.