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Things to do in

Dorset

Our most recommended things to do in Dorset

From Poole: 2-Hour Jurassic Coastal Cruise

1. From Poole: 2-Hour Jurassic Coastal Cruise

Begin your trip at Poole Harbour and board an open deck boat fitted with seating and comfortable saloons. From here, you will be taken on a journey through 185 million years of history along the Jurassic Coastline. On your cruise pass a number of Dorset's most famous landmarks like the golden beaches of Sandbanks, Brownsea Island, and the Old Harry Rocks, named after a notorious pirate. Enjoy expert commentary from your captains as you glide by. Once reaching Swanage, head back towards Poole and capture the perfect picture of the famous chalk formations from the boat's outer deck.

Poole Harbor and Islands Cruise

2. Poole Harbor and Islands Cruise

Take a cruise around Europe's largest natural harbor, home to the town of Poole, the golden beaches of Sandbanks and Brownsea Island. From either open deck seating or comfortable saloon you will see stunning views of the exceptional landscape that surrounds it. Your 70 minute trip will start on charming Poole Quay with its old buildings and buzzing atmosphere.  Next you will go past Brownsea Island, home to wildlife and picturesque Brownsea Castle, built to protect against French invasions. After that comes the Sandbanks Peninsula and the luxurious houses of the ‘Golden Mile’. Then you will tour the great natural expanse of the harbor and the remaining islands: Green, Furzey, Long and Round. Fronting onto beautiful scenery it helped inspire classics like Lord of the Rings and Gulliver's Travel. 

Bournemouth: Seaside Hop-on Hop-off Tour

3. Bournemouth: Seaside Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Experience the beautiful British coastline with the Bournemouth hop-on hop-off tour. Ride an open-top double-decker tour bus on a 1.5-hour loop through the Dorset coastline to discover the beautiful seaside towns of Bournemouth and Poole. Stop at Poole Quay and explore the variety of shops, parks, restaurants, and theatres, as well as buzzing nightlife. The onboard commentary points out the main sights and attractions of each city, all accessible from the 22 conveniently located stops along the bus route. There are plenty of things to do in Bournemouth and Poole. A double-decker bus is a perfect way to explore the picturesque British seaside and the phenomenal beaches, parks, and shops of Bournemouth and Poole are all easily accessible from the tour route's wandering path down the coastline. Bournemouth Tour Stops: 1. Bournemouth Pier - Behind Hot Rocks 2. Bournemouth Square - Gervis Place Stand X 3. West Cliff Savoy Hotel 4. Westbourne - Camden 5. Branksome Chine 6. Canford Cliffs - Loch Fyne 7. Sandbanks Beach - Shore Road - Tesco 8. Sandbanks Beach - Main Car Park 9. Sandbanks Peninsular - Panorama Road 10. Sandbanks Beach - Harbour Side 11. Sandbanks Beach - Harbour Side opposite Tesco 12. Lilliput Village - Lilliput Square 13. Whitecliff - Whitecliff Recreation Ground 14. Poole Park - Opposite Civic Centre 15. Poole Quay & Old Town - Thistle Hotel 16. Poole Railway Station - Platform 2 Exit Ramp 17. Poole Park - Parkstone Road by Parade of Shops 18. Ashley Cross - Parkstone Railway Station 19. Penn Hill - Penn Hill Corner 20. Westbourne - Opposite The Porterhouse 21. The Triangle - Bournemouth Central Library 22. Bournemouth Square - Moon on the Square (drop off only)23. Bournemouth Pier - Behind Hot Rocks (drop off only)

From Bournemouth: Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Trip

4. From Bournemouth: Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Trip

Discover some of the most scenic coastline in southern England on a bus trip from Bournemouth. Travel along the famous Jurassic Coast, via Poole Harbour and Sandbanks, to experience the nation's only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit both Lulworth Cove and the natural limestone arch of Durdle Door and get plenty of information and maps to help you along the way. Use the time to go for a light nature walk from Durdle Door over the hill to Lulworth Cove and get magnificent views from Hambury Tout. Spend the time at Lulworth Cove if you prefer to give your legs a rest and get a beautiful view of the arch on an optional boat ride from the beach, at your own expense. Benefit from a map highlighting the main features, or feel free to follow your own nose and explore independently. Find a nice cafe or restaurant in the village of West Lulworth or avail of the small shop in the holiday park at Durdle Door.

Devon and Cornwall: 5-Day Tour from London

5. Devon and Cornwall: 5-Day Tour from London

Discover the landscapes and history of the wild Southwest of England on this 5-day minicoach tour. Combining the best of Devon and Cornwall, including the Jurassic Coast, Dartmoor, Lands End, Tintagel Castle, 2 nights in the Roman city of Exeter, and 2 nights in the harbor town of Falmouth, this tour offers a unique view of a beautiful part of Britain. Day 1 Depart London and travel through the old kingdom of Wessex to the historic city of Winchester. The former capital of Anglo-Saxon England boasts a magnificent cathedral and the Norman Great Hall. From this bustling city, head to a quieter but equally profound place, the standing stone circle of Stonehenge. Having explored this mystical place, your tour will continue to Exeter, the Romans most southwesterly fortified settlement and your base for 2 nights. Day 2 Your morning is spent exploring the magnificent wilderness of Dartmoor, the ancient "Clapper Bridge" at Postbridge, and the historic market town of Tavistock, home to Francis Drake. Return to Exeter in the early afternoon to explore the Roman town, with its underground passages, ancient walls, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and famous 12th-Century Norman Cathedral. Day 3 Head west to the North Cornish coast and the Elizabethan fishing village of Boscastle. Indulge in a cream tea, take a stroll out to the dramatic headland or learn a spell or two in the Museum of Witchcraft. Travel to the village of Tintagel and the ruins of its headland Castle, whose romantic cliff-top setting is purportedly the birthplace of King Arthur. After lunch, the tour heads to Port Isaac where you can get your Doc Martin fix and fall in love with this picturesque fishing village, before heading south to the bustling port town of Falmouth for the next two nights. Day 4 Explore the most westerly tip of England on this magnificent day, taking in St. Michael’s Mount, the incredible Minack Theater, built into the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful National Trust beach at Porthcurno. Look out for pirates at Penzance! England’s most westerly point beckons at Lands End before following the dramatic coast, with windswept moors and old stone Celtic communities, up to the artistic haven of St. Ives. Return to Falmouth for the night. Day 5 This morning you say farewell to Cornwall and travel back through the Devon countryside with stops for photos and refreshments before arriving in the famous little town of Glastonbury for lunch. Glastonbury Tor rises high above the town and has mythical connections with King Arthur and Avalon. From here you will return back eastwards to London, a city completely removed from the experiences you have enjoyed in the magical counties of Devon and Cornwall. Staying in a range of locally owned, friendly B&B's and guesthouses, you will enjoy en suite facilities, and tranquility in scenic locations in the lovely southwest of England.

From Bournemouth: Jurassic Coast & Isle of Purbeck Day Tour

6. From Bournemouth: Jurassic Coast & Isle of Purbeck Day Tour

Catch the early morning ferry across to the Isle of Purbeck. View Old Harry Rocks, the starting point of the Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in breath-taking views across Poole Harbour and towards Brownsea Island. By mid morning you will arrive at Durlston Country Park. Visit the brand new Jurassic Coast visitor center housed in the recently refurbished Durlston Castle. There’s time for a morning coffee stop overlooking the famous Great Globe and a chance to take the cliff top walk along to Tilly Whim Caves and the Anvil Point Lighthouse. For every visitor brought to Durlston Country Park, a contribution towards a bursary that helps to support their volunteer programme is made. Heading west drive through some of the tiny lanes and villages that give Purbeck its unique character. Take lunch in the village of Corfe Castle, dominated by the ruins that give it its name. Entrance to the castle itself not included (Free to NT members). After lunch take a gentle drive along the coast taking in more stunning scenery as you head for an afternoon at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. Walk down to Man o’ War Rocks and view the magnificent rock arch of Durdle Door, hewn from the Portland limestone beds. Finally, head down to Lulworth Cove and see the famous Lulworth Crumple rock formation in Stair Hole. Hotel pick up request: Please email us to info@discoverdorset.co.uk with your date, booking number and the name and address of your hotel. We will confirm the place and an approximiate time in a reply email, please be 10-15 minutes early and outside.

From Cardiff: Tour of Cardiff Bay and Vale of Glamorgan

7. From Cardiff: Tour of Cardiff Bay and Vale of Glamorgan

Start your guided tour in Cardiff city center. Begin with Cardiff's origins as a Roman garrison, traveling through time to the medieval period and the city's expansion as a global distribution center for coal. Visit Cardiff Bay and the Victorian seaside town of Penarth. Drive through the Vale of Glamorgan and discover ancient burial chambers and hidden villages. Follow the Heritage Coast and don't miss the chance to hunt for fossils, or maybe take a dip in the sea. The tour finishes where it began in Cardiff.

England: 3-Day Stonehenge, Bath & South West Coast Tour

8. England: 3-Day Stonehenge, Bath & South West Coast Tour

Discover some of the most historic sites in England on a 3-day tour of the southwest, visiting the Roman city of Bath, and center of the Kingdom of Wessex at Exeter. Drive along the preshistoric Jurassic Coast of Dorset, and head into the vast moorland of Dartmoor, a protected national park with exposed granite hilltops. The tour, by comfortable 16-seat minibus, also includes time at Stonehenge, the most famous stone circle in England, and a chance to climb Glastonbury Tor. Day 1: Depart London for the old Kingdom of Wessex en route to the famous Neolithic standing stone circle of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain. Explore the mystical stones, which continue to confound historians to this day. Next, head for the dramatic south coast of Dorset, enjoying the panoramic views over white sand beaches, and the natural rock arch of Durdle Door. Spend the afternoon on the Jurassic Coast before driving to the historic city of Exeter, which was the most southwesterly fortified settlement of the ancient Roman Empire. You will be based here for the next 2 nights. Day 2: Enjoy a morning exploring the wilderness of Dartmoor, including the ancient "Clapper Bridge" at Postbridge. Go to the market town of Tavistock, where Francis Drake used to live. Return to Exeter in the early afternoon to explore the Roman town’s underground passages and ancient walls. Visit the renovated Royal Albert Memorial Museum to find fascinating sections on zoology, archaeology, anthropology, and fine art. Marvel at the 12th-century Norman Cathedral, which boasts the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England. Day 3: On your final day, head to Glastonbury and visit Glastonbury Tor. Learn about its connection to Avalon and King Arthur, and climb the Tor for spectacular views across 3 English counties. Drive to the beautiful City of Bath for lunch, with time in the afternoon to explore the relics of its Roman past, including the famous Roman Baths. Admire the handsome Georgian architecture of the city center, and pop into the 7th-century Bath Abbey, noted for its fan vaulting and commemorative stained glass. Return to London for an early evening drop off.

Other Sightseeing Options in Dorset

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What people are saying about Dorset

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,392 reviews

A really enjoyable day out. The weather was great and there was plenty of time to explore Durdle Door and soak up the atmosphere of Lulworth Cove. The Visitor’s Centre was very interesting too. Our guide Paul was very thoughtful and ensured we got the most from our trip. He gave us a lot of detail about the areas we drove through and visited. As mentioned by other people, he dropped us off at our hotels at the end of the day which was really appreciated.

It was very interesting learnt lots of facts I didn't no and staff were very helpfull and pleasant would highly recommend it

Even though it was a wet day found it very informative and well worth the price

It was a great cruise. Friendly staff and a great captain!

It’s a great experience and the staff are friendly