Dorset holiday cottages and special places to stay
Untouched by the industrial revolution, Dorset’s rugged coast and quiet countryside are beautifully pristine. The Purbeck peninsula teems with wildlife and coastal paths wind between quiet fishing villages and port towns with a distinct cultural flourish in their art, food and music.
We inspect and select hotels, B&Bs, inns and self-catering cottages in Dorset that make you feel a part of the county’s past and present. Watch Morris dancers from a harbourside townhouse, find a cosy wool store bolthole down winding country lanes or strike out to innovative restaurants from a classic thatched cottage.
Property types in Dorset
Choose from open plan self-catering cottages with harbour views, cosy bed and breakfasts in rural farmland, characterful hotels on peaceful riverside, and classic country inns in thriving communities.
Our favourite collections for holidays in Dorset
Some places we’ve picked out so you can find the perfect trip, whether you’re looking for a romantic break, a little time to yourself, or an expedition to the beach with the whole family.
Not just the space for everyone, but the magic and character that makes a really memorable family holiday near the coast.
Take the dog out onto Chesil Beach or Lulworth Cove, or go snuffling on walks through the countryside from these dog-friendly places.
The tang of salt in the air, the sound of surf and the relaxing feel that comes with a place where you can see the waves from the window.
Cosy coastal cottages, classy apartments and old stone retreats for a little quality time with your special someone.
Grand country houses and spacious barns where you can bring everyone together for a reunion or special celebration.
Places perfect for exploring at your own speed and getting away from it all on a liberating solo adventure. Some have great single occupancy deals.
- Walking through history, from fossils in the cliffs at Lyme Regis to Cerne Abbas Giant chalk figure and the ruins of Corfe Castle
- The diversity, from the quiet countryside of the vast Dorset AONB to the dramatic coast of the Isle of Purbeck peninsula and the lively towns of Bridport and Swanage
- Eating Dorset apple cake, drinking locally produced cider and sampling the freshest catch and admiring panoramic views at Mark Hix’s restaurant in Lyme Regis
- Finding thatched cottages and old stone pubs by the riverside in villages that seem almost too picture-perfect to be true.
- Walk from pretty Lulworth Cove to the striking Durdle Door and then keep going, the crowds disappear and the coast path is staggeringly beautiful
- Explore the dramatic chalk stacks of Old Harry Rocks along the coastal path or by sea kayak from Studland Bay
- Drop in to Bridport or Swanage for festivals of food, literature, folk music and even pirates
- Walk a stretch of the impressive 18-mile shingle beach (or bank, as it’s better known) at Chesil Beach
- Take the ferry to National Trust’s Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, to spot Sika deer and red squirrels.
Popular destinations in Dorset
Dorset is known for its incredible coastline, such as the dramatic Jurassic Coast, fossil collecting on beaches, delicious freshly-caught seafood, historical castles and plenty of hiking territory. Choose from our most popular destinations to find your perfect place.
More Dorset holiday inspiration
This is our guide to Dorset, famed for its stunning stretches of Jurassic coast, idyllic rolling countryside, quintessential villages and quiet coves.
Being by the water is good for your soul. It’s a great opportunity to de-stress and slow down -wake up with a walk in the mountains, go for a swim in a lake, grab your board and go for a surf, or paddleboard your way through peaceful surroundings.
The UK can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to visiting towns, like many other places, but there are some real gems that we love exploring. We travelled around the UK to round up our five favourite communities.