Discover Hidden Gems in Dorset

February 16th, 2021

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.

 

Winspit Quarry

Winspit Quarry

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.

caves at winspit quarry

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.

 

Moreton Ford

Moreton ford

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.

Moreton ford rope swing

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.

 

Mupe Bay

Mupe Bay walk

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!

Mupe Bay Jurassic Coast boat trip

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.

tout quarry sculpture

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!

Tout quarry view portland harbour chesil beach

Photo credit: Mike Finn, Flickr

 

Fort Henry 

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.

View from fort henry

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.

pill box studland bay

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

What our guests say

  • A gem of a place

    Sandra, Winchester

    What a find. I almost don’t want to tell you about it.

    It’s a family park with lovely, mostly new, fresh, clean spacious caravans – all set out almost in steps on the side of a small hill. The larger hill rises behind you, the sea spreads out in front and the swimming pool beckons behind the bar.

    The people are friendly, the site is clean and welcoming and the scenery unbeatable. It’s a gem of a place.

  • Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage

    David

    Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage. A truly wonderful location, lying under the stunning Ballard Down and surrounded by beautiful countryside. Being only a 10 min walk from Swanage and the coast means it’s conveniently located for all amenities.

    The staff are always very helpful to sort out any problems and keep the site in fantastic condition. A 5-star park.

  • Friendly, clean & well kept

    Cheshire, UK

    Stayed here as a base to tour Isle of Purbeck and go on to Air show in Bournemouth. Not the cheapest site but definitely the cleanest and well thought out.

    Swimming pool , shop and pub/restaurant all in proximity and well kept/stocked. Bus stop right outside entrance. Grass pitches have plenty of space and well drained with shower blocks water/ drain points really handy.

    Will definitely be using this site again.

  • Lovely weekend

    Tina, London

    We have just returned from a lovely weekend caravanning at Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park.
    Lovely clean site with indoor heated pool. We went in the pool around 5pm and were the only ones in there (apart from life guard) it was lovely and warm and clean.

    We walked to old Harry’s rock and then Down into Swanage itself and had fish and chips and an ice cream.
    Staff on the site were helpful and friendly. Lovely stay.

  • Our second, lovely Christmas at Ulwell

    Jane P, Cheltenham

    After the success of Christmas 2016 at Ulwell, we returned again for Christmas 2017 and had another great time. Lovely warm caravan, peaceful and relaxing on site and a fantastic carvery on Boxing Day at The Village Inn.

    Thanks to all staff who were working and made sure we had such a great break away.

All reviews

4.5

We are currently at an amazing 4.5 score at TripAdvisor, based upon 200+ reviews from verified guests.

Latest reviews

Proudly associated

Over the years the family has developed the park to award-winning standards and in a style which compliments its surroundings.

  • Camping and caravanning
  • AA
  • British Holiday & Home Parks assocation
  • Poole Tourism
  • Visit Britain

Finding us

BY ROAD

From Bournemouth via the Sandbanks chain ferry and following the B3351 into Swanage.

Please note: The Sandbanks Ferry will be out of action until at least October.

From Wareham using the A351 into Swanage, turn left along the seafront towards Studland.

BY BUS

The park is situated on the main bus route from Bournemouth to Swanage.

GPS

1 ° 58’ 16” West, 50° 37’ 34” North

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