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Dorset is a quintessentially English county, with a diversity of stunning landscapes. Its famous ‘Jurassic Coast’ was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2001 and is hugely popular with fossil-hunters and sunbathers alike. Nestled among the Dorset hills are numerous charming market towns with old fashioned shops and museums giving visitors the impression of stepping back in time. There are also plenty of social hubs, packed with bars, pubs and restaurants catering to every taste.
There are plenty of beautiful destinations in Dorset, but anyone looking for a balance of countryside and city life may wish to base themselves in Poole, Lyme Regis or Weymouth, as these offer fantastic travel links to the rest of the county. If you are planning an extended stay in Dorset, then a serviced apartment will likely be the most cost effective and convenient means of having your own base - somewhere from which you can explore this charming county whilst housekeeping is taken care of, and somewhere you can enjoy cooking local produce in a fully-equipped kitchen.
Dorset is a great place for those who enjoy the outdoors, as its huge selection of national parks, vast green spaces and endless craggy coastline offer numerous opportunities to explore. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly beach resort, or isolated medieval ruins, the sheer diversity of the landscape is an attraction within itself.
The towns of Bournemouth, Poole, Lyme Regis and Swanage also offer numerous attractions and entertainments - each with its own unique atmosphere and heritage. Whether you want to enjoy a speedboat trip across Poole harbour, or cream tea at a traditional cafe in one of Swanage’s old-world cafes, you are sure to find that Dorset offers something for everyone - with few people stopping at a single visit to this diverse county.
Al Molo in Weymouth is a superb Italian seafood restaurant, perfect for enjoying the local produce, whilst Lolas in Bournemouth also offers fine mediterranean dining. Alternatively, Bingley’s Bistro in Poole offers English and French dishes in a more intimate setting.
The larger towns in Dorset have some of the finest retail opportunities available anywhere in the UK. Castlepoint shopping centre in Bournemouth is arguably the region’s premiere shopping destination, whilst the Dolphin Centre in Poole also offers over 120 retailers, from fashion to homeware.
The Jurassic Coast is an attraction within itself, chock full of watersports, walking trails and beachfront bars. Durdle Door is one of the UK’s most popular beach destinations, with its blue waters and iconic rock arch. Lulworth Castle is a great place to enjoy themed festivals and fetes, whilst Kingston Lacy is an Italian-style country manor with Egyptian artefacts, art collections and a Japanese garden.
All the major towns in Dorset are linked by the county’s extensive bus network, as well as overground rail providing fast services between Poole, Bournemouth and London. Much of the beachfront features a promenade, which also make the Dorset coast perfect for exploring by bicycle. There are also dedicated shuttle services to popular rural destinations, such as Durdle Door and Kingston Lacy.
Dorset’s economy of course hugely revolves around the tourism industry, drawing in some £1.5 billion annually. However, the county also has a strong engineering sector, with BAE Systems being based locally and several military bases generating jobs and revenue across Dorset. Agriculture is also an important industry, due to the huge amount of non-urbanised areas.