Dorset's best attractions may hark back to the past, but caravan holidays in Dorset are bang up to date
Things To Do
Go in search of fossils along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be looking for, join a fossil hunting walk and talk from Charmouth or Lyme Regis with an expert guide.
Make the most of a summer’s day with a trip to the beach. Visit Bournemouth to find the longest stretch of sand – and the oldest beach huts – and cross the river on the chain ferry to pretty Swanage Bay and the wilder Studland Bay, where you’ll get great views of Old Harry Rocks.
Don’t miss the Cerne Giant, a burly chalk figure of a naked man on the hills above the village of Cerne Abbas. At 180 feet tall, and considered as a symbol of fertility, suffice to say he is well endowed! The best place from which to see him is the viewing area on the main A352.
Visit Athelhampton House, a delightful 15th century Tudor manor house near Dorchester. Set in formal gardens, the house has links with the author Thomas Hardy, who visited the house frequently and set his poem, ‘The Dame of Athelhall’, at the house.
Visit the Portland Bill Lighthouse, one of the most famous of all lighthouses around the British coastline. There’s a visitor centre next door, and some great walks along the headland.
When To Visit
Dorset’s main annual events tend to be during the summer months. In May, The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival is a great one for fossil hunters, while you could also participate in the quirky Dorset Knob Throwing Festival (for the uninitiated, a Dorset Knob is a kind of dry, savoury biscuit unique to the county)! June brings the Bridport Food Festival, followed in July by music celebrations, the Larmer Tree Festival near Tollard Royal and the huge Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle.
Bournemouth is the place to be on the August Bank Holiday for the giant (and free) Bournemouth Air Festival, with spectacular displays from the likes of the Red Arrows above the beach. And to celebrate all that’s great about the county, the Dorset County Show comes to Dorchester in September.
To reach Dorset from the west, access off the M5 followed by the A30 and A35. From the east, take the M3, M27 and the A31, which provides a picturesque route through Hampshire’s New Forest before arriving in Dorset. From the north, use the A37, A36 and A338, all spurs off the A303.
No routes are particularly quick in Dorset, something to remember when planning your caravan holiday, but that is part of the attractiveness of the county – as soon as you cross the border, slow down (you’ll have to anyway for the rural roads) and enjoy the scenery as it passes.
All the roads, though rural, are fine for towing caravans. There are no nasty surprises in terms of overly steep hills, but unclassified – and even some of the main roads – can be narrow in places.
Inevitably, roads along the coast are busy in summer months. If your campsite is on the coast, accessed along narrow lanes, check if there are specified arrival and departure times before setting off from home.
For traffic updates keep your radio on or check BBC travel for Dorset.