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Overview

Flanked by the beaches of the Jurassic Coast, Dorset has been attracting British holidaymakers for centuries. Resorts like Bournemouth, Weymouth and Lyme Regis are the living image of the English seaside, complete with fairground amusements and stalls selling rock candy and fish and chips in newspaper wrappers. However, Dorset has a more sophisticated side - this was the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, who used the county as the basis for the fictionalized county of Wessex in many of his novels. Dorset's other big claim to fame is its geology - the rocky cliffs between the Isle of Portland and Lyme Regis produced many of the fossils displayed at ...

Flanked by the beaches of the Jurassic Coast, Dorset has been attracting British holidaymakers for centuries. Resorts like Bournemouth, Weymouth and Lyme Regis are the living image of the English seaside, complete with fairground amusements and stalls selling rock candy and fish and chips in newspaper wrappers. However, Dorset has a more sophisticated side - this was the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, who used the county as the basis for the fictionalized county of Wessex in many of his novels. Dorset's other big claim to fame is its geology - the rocky cliffs between the Isle of Portland and Lyme Regis produced many of the fossils displayed at the Natural History Museum in London and collectors still comb the foreshore in search of ammonites and dinosaur bones. Adventure sports enthusiasts come for the rock climbing - best experienced at Portland - and the wind-surfing and kite-surfing around Poole. To experience the best of Dorset, visit the smaller seaside resorts on the Jurassic Coast, or take a stroll along the 28km (17 miles) of shingle at Chesil Beach.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to October for the weather; November to February for the fossils bought up by winter storms.