Coast’s Choice: Dorset

Our third edition of Coast’s Choice focuses on the popular holiday destination of Dorset – an area known for its stunning landscapes and sites of cultural interests.

With over half the county designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and many places of historical significance, there are many tourist attractions to visit in Dorset. Here are just a few recommendations from the Coast team: 

The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

The Jurassic Coast, which spans 95 miles from East Devon to Dorset, is England’s first natural World Heritage Site. Its status was granted due to the incredible natural history of the area, with rocks dating back as much as 195 million years to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

Completely free to enjoy, The Jurassic Coast’s geological highlights include Orcombe Point – featuring the oldest sandstones and mudstones along the route – Budleigh Pebble Beds, Sidmouth’s red sandstone and the picturesque fishing village of Beer. The Jurassic Coast also traverses the popular tourist towns of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Exeter and Poole.

If you’re not keen on walking, the Swanage Railway provides a perfect opportunity to view the area’s stunning surroundings during a steam train journey. Services operate on selected dates throughout the year between Swanage and Norden, costing £10.50 for an adult return and £7.00 for a children’s return. Roving tickets and family discounts are also available. Click here to find out more about travelling on the Swanage Railway.

Nearest caravan site: 0.6 miles (Swanage), 5.3 miles (Norden)

Hardy Cottage

English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy wrote many of Britain’s best loved classics, from Far from the Madding Crowd and Under the Greenwood Tree to Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Many of his greatest works were composed whilst he lived in the idyllic village of Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester.

Hardy’s Cottage is a favoured stopping point along a trail dedicated to the literary genius, which guides literary fans around many of the local places in which he lived and wrote about.

Built in 1800 by his Great Grandfather, the cottage is an oasis of country beauty with its traditional thatched rood and roses and honeysuckle climbing the walls. It stands next to Egdon Heath, where Hardy wrote The Return of the Native, and is located close to Puddletown Forest. The cottage itself is open from 15 March – 29 October each year between 11am and 5pm. More information is available here.

Nearest caravan site: 9.4 miles

Portland Castle

This English Heritage site is one of Henry VIII’s coastal forts, built overlooking Portland Harbour in the 1540s to protect against French and Spanish invasion. Today’s visitors can enjoy an audio tour of the grounds, guiding them through the building’s 450 year history – including the role it played in both World Wars. In addition to the castle itself, the grounds feature a Contemporary Heritage Garden and Captain’s Tearoom. Entry costs £4.30 for adults and £2.60 for children, while English Heritage members get in free. Visit the Portland Castle website to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 2.5 miles

Bovington Tank Museum

The tank is a British invention which revolutionized modern warfare and more than 200 of its most iconic models can be seen at this unique museum. As well as displays of armoured vehicles from all the major wars of the twentieth century, visitors can experience interactive displays including a walk through the trenches of World War I and a demonstration of several tanks in action. Adult entry costs £12 and children’s entry £7.50, with each ticket valid for 12 months so visitors can return as many times as they like. Further information is available through the Bovington Tank Museum website.

Nearest caravan site: 1.6 miles

Tutankhamun Exhibition

Dorset might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about ancient Egyptian culture, however this spectacular museum recreates the tomb and treasures of Tutankhamun. As the precious relics of Tutankhamun have remained in Egypt since the 1970s, the exhibition gives history enthusiasts an opportunity to take a close look at carefully crafted replicas contained within a mock version of the tomb as Howard Carter discovered it in 1922. The recreation is so accurate that the tomb has been used in many television series on ancient Egypt!

The Tutankhamun Exhibition is open from 10am all year round, closing at 5.00pm from April-September and 4.00pm between October and March. Tickets cost £7.99 for adults and £5.99 for children. Click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 0.6 miles

If you’re travelling to Dorset or anywhere else in the UK this year, Coast can offer you a competitive quotation on your touring caravan insurance. To find out more, just speak to our friendly caravan insurance sales team on Freephone 0800 614 849 or click here for an online quotation.