Dorset is home to some of the most spectacular countryside and coastal landscapes in the UK. Popular landmarks such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are famed nationwide and attract visitors in their droves each year. Whilst these natural landmarks are spectacular and well worth a visit during a holiday in Dorset, we encourage our camping and caravanning guests to venture off the beaten track and discover lesser-known beauty spots across the county. Here’s our pick of hidden gems in Dorset.
Picture credit: Hardo Müller, Flickr
Take a scenic walk from the village of Worth Matravers to Winspit, a disused quarry on the Isle of Purbeck. Stone from the quarry was once used to build some of London’s most prestigious buildings, before the area was seized by the military for use in the Second World War.
Photo credit: Odd Wellie, Flickr
Today the site lays disused and open to the public. The land bears the scars of the mining and excavation that has taken place over the years. Spend some time exploring this impressive landscape and taking in the far-reaching views along the rugged coastline. Some of the caverns and tunnels remain open, should you be brave enough to poke you head inside.
Please note signs around the site encourage visitors to exercise caution when exploring.
Photo credit: Rob Carswell, Flickr
If you’re looking for a picturesque setting to walk your dog, Moreton might be the perfect choice. Follow the road from the village to the ford and spend some time enjoying the river setting. Children will love paddling in the shallows in search of ever elusive fish. Dogs can splash and swim as you take in the stunning scenery ahead of your adventure.
Once you’ve finished playing in the water cross the narrow footbridge and continue down the lane. There is beautiful woodland on either side and a range of footpaths to explore. Hidden among the trees you’ll find a rope swing where children (and adults) can play! Pack a picnic and spend a summer evening enjoying the peace and tranquillity of this hidden gem.
Photo credit: iRe V, Flickr
Mupe Bay is one of the most secluded beaches in Dorset. It is only accessible via foot or boat, which in our opinion, only adds to its charm. Like neighbouring Lulworth Cove, the beach is a horseshoe shape with turquoise waters and chalk cliffs. An impressive rock formation juts out of the sea at the beaches western end.
This shingle beach is seldom visited due to its hard-to-reach location, making Mupe Bay one of the Jurassic Coast’s best kept secrets! The beach can be accessed via a circular walk from Lulworth Village. The route is best suited to keen hikers because there are some steep and challenging hills to contend with along the way!
If you haven’t got the energy to take on the walk, a scenic boat trip along the Jurassic Coast is available with Snapper Charters from Weymouth*.
*Please note: Mupe Bay is situated on Ministry of Defence Land, which means sea and land access is restricted at certain times of the year. You should find out whether the beach is open before setting out on your journey and always stick to the path. For boat trips, double check whether Mupe Bay will be open during your trip at the time of booking.
Tout Quarry Sculpture Park
Tout Quarry Sculpture Park is located on the Isle of Portland, and a must visit for any budding artists. The site is tucked away off the main road, so it’s easy to miss it if you’re not in the know!
As you walk around the rugged site, you’ll find hundreds of hand carved stone sculptures, hidden among the rocks. The work is constantly changing, so there’s always something new to see! There’s something truly special about seeing artwork in such a natural environment. The sculpture park has attracted some of the UK’s most celebrated sculptors, including Anthony Gormley’, the creator of Angel of the North.
Photo credit: Andrew Bone, Flickr
Tout Quarry is free to enter and can be incorporated into a number of scenic dog walks. Enjoy a picnic taking in the spectacular views over Chesil Beach and Portland harbour. Children will love clambering over the rocks and seeking out the sculptures. A perfect way to while away a couple of hours during a day spend exploring Portland!
Photo credit: Mike Finn, Flickr
History enthusiasts should make a visit to Fort Henry during a holiday in Dorset. The World War II observation bunker is located at Redend point overlooking Studland Bay and is within walking distance of Ulwell Holiday Park.
Photo credit: Jim Champion, Flickr
The fort, along with a number of other beach defences, were constructed to defend against the threat of German invasion. In 1944 the area served as a military training ground and hosted the largest live ammunition practice of the entire war. Winston Churchill, King George VI and the most senior ranking officers watched proceedings from the safety of Fort Henry. Together they helped plan and prepare allied forces for the D-Day landings.
Fort Henry occupies a commanding position with far reaching views over Studland Bay. Today, visitors can enjoy the scenery and read the various information boards that detail the areas pivotal role in the Second World War. The National Trust have created a walking trail, which takes in various remnants of this period in history. A great activity during your stay at our camping and caravan site in Swanage.
Photo credit: MG Photography, Flickr
We hope you enjoy discovering some of Dorset’s hidden gems during your holiday in Dorset. Let us know if you there’s anywhere we’ve missed that needs adding to the list!
Header image credit: Photo credit: iRe V, Flickr