Weekend breaks in Dorset are so popular because Thomas Hardy’s county is probably the most easily accessible holiday destination. You’ll be chilling out in unspoilt countryside edged with a stunning coastline in no time at all.
As soon as you pass Poole and the millionaires’ playground of Sandbanks, you will find yourself in the beautiful surroundings of the Isle of Purbeck with chocolate box villages with quirky names like Worth Matravers. Here you will find the delightful Lulworth Cove and the imposing Corfe Castle.
Head a little further west and you are soon deep in Hardy country centred on Dorchester (the fictional town of Casterbridge). This historic town with its Roman origins and association with Judge Jefferies’ Bloody Assizes also has a particularly interesting museum and, on the outskirts, you can visit Prince Charles’s experimental new town, Poundbury.
Of course, the county is equally famous for its scenic coastline as it is for its rolling countryside and weekend breaks in Dorset aren’t complete without soaking up some of this magnificent scenery. Try and make time to see the 18 mile long Chesil Beach while Bridport is famous for its ropemaking and its twice weekly market. Drop in at West Bay, the home of the TV series Broadchurch before making one of the highlights of any visit to Dorset, a trip to the quintessential seaside resort of Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis simply has everything that you would expect from a traditional British family resort. There is a long promenade with a magnificent sandy beach on one side and a never ending selection of vibrant cafes, restaurants and bars on the other. On the western end, you will find the busy little fishing harbour protected by the Cobb, the breakwater featured in the film, the French Lieutenant’s Woman, and in Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion.
There are countless other ways to enjoy weekend breaks in Dorset and, to soak up the real flavour of the county why not base yourself on a working farm, country cottage or in a fine old country house?