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Things to do in
Dorset

Our most recommended things to do in Dorset

From Poole: Round-trip Jurassic Coastal Cruise to Swanage

1. From Poole: Round-trip Jurassic Coastal Cruise to Swanage

Discover the impressive Jurassic Coast on a cruise through Dorset. See Round Island, marvel at the iconic chalk formations on the coast, and learn fascinating facts about the area from live commentary onboard. Begin your trip at Poole Harbour and board an open deck boat with seating and comfortable saloons. From here, start your journey through 185 million years of history along the Jurassic Coastline. As you cruise, pass some of Dorset's most famous landmarks. See the golden beaches of Sandbanks, Brownsea Island, and the Old Harry Rocks, named after a notorious pirate. Enjoy expert commentary from your captains as you glide by. Sail by Dorset's small islands, including Furzey, Long, Green, and Round Islands, as you make your way to Swanage. Once reaching Swanage, head back towards Poole and capture the perfect picture of the famous chalk formations from the boat's outer deck.

Poole Harbor and Islands Cruise

2. Poole Harbor and Islands Cruise

Take a cruise around Europe's largest natural harbor, home to the town of Poole, the golden beaches of Sandbanks and Brownsea Island. From either open deck seating or comfortable saloon you will see stunning views of the exceptional landscape that surrounds it. Your 70 minute trip will start on charming Poole Quay with its old buildings and buzzing atmosphere.  Next you will go past Brownsea Island, home to wildlife and picturesque Brownsea Castle, built to protect against French invasions. After that comes the Sandbanks Peninsula and the luxurious houses of the ‘Golden Mile’. Then you will tour the great natural expanse of the harbor and the remaining islands: Green, Furzey, Long and Round. Fronting onto beautiful scenery it helped inspire classics like Lord of the Rings and Gulliver's Travel. 

Bournemouth: Upside Down House Entry Ticket

3. Bournemouth: Upside Down House Entry Ticket

The Upside Down House is a house that is literally upside down! We offer visitors the opportunity to capture many memorable and surreal photos and videos that they can flip upside down which they share on their socials and messaging platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp. It is an experience to share in real time with friends and family. Equally enjoyed by kids or grown-ups! Each location is unique, with its own identity. We ensure this is reflected in the houses people visit, by designing and decorating it differently – mixing the old with the new. This allows friends and families to have a fun, enjoyable experience as part of their day out. Children aged 3 and under go free

From Bournemouth: Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Trip

4. From Bournemouth: Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Trip

Discover some of the most scenic coastline in southern England on a bus trip from Bournemouth. Travel along the famous Jurassic Coast, via Poole Harbour and Sandbanks, to experience the nation's only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit both Lulworth Cove and the natural limestone arch of Durdle Door and get plenty of information and maps to help you along the way. Use the time to go for a light nature walk from Durdle Door over the hill to Lulworth Cove and get magnificent views from Hambury Tout. Spend the time at Lulworth Cove if you prefer to give your legs a rest and get a beautiful view of the arch on an optional boat ride from the beach, at your own expense. Benefit from a map highlighting the main features, or feel free to follow your own nose and explore independently. Find a nice cafe or restaurant in the village of West Lulworth or avail of the small shop in the holiday park at Durdle Door.

Poole Harbour Lights Cruise

5. Poole Harbour Lights Cruise

Experience a relaxing evening cruise around Poole Harbour. Sail from the Poole Quay around the harbor, close to Brownsea Island and its castle, and the luxurious properties on Sandbanks. Relax, unwind and watch the sun go down while you learn about the surrounding islands and more from your captain through their live commentary. While onboard, enjoy a drink from the fully licensed bar and take in the beautiful scenery of Europe’s largest natural Harbour before returning to Poole Quay where you can enjoy the rest of your evening in one of many great restaurants or bars.

Bournemouth: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

6. Bournemouth: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Experience the beautiful British coastline with the Bournemouth hop-on hop-off tour. Ride an open-top double-decker tour bus on a 1.5-hour loop through the Dorset coastline to discover the beautiful seaside towns of Bournemouth and Poole. Stop at Poole Quay and explore the variety of shops, parks, restaurants, and theatres, as well as buzzing nightlife. The onboard commentary points out the main sights and attractions of each city, all accessible from the 22 conveniently located stops along the bus route. There are plenty of things to do in Bournemouth and Poole. A double-decker bus is a perfect way to explore the picturesque British seaside and the phenomenal beaches, parks, and shops of Bournemouth and Poole are all easily accessible from the tour route's wandering path down the coastline. Bournemouth Tour Stops: A. Bournemouth Station - Stand K A. East Overcliff Drive 1. Bournemouth Pier - Behind Hot Rocks 2. Bournemouth Square - Gervis Place Stand X 3. West Cliff Savoy Hotel 4. Westbourne - Camden Bar 5. Branksome Chine 6. Canford Cliffs - Loch Fyne 7. Sandbanks Beach: Shore Road 8. Sandbanks Beach: Pavilion 9. Sandbanks Peninsular: Ferry Approach 10. Sandbanks Beach: opposite Pavilion 11. Sandbanks Beach: opposite Shore Road 12. Lilliput Village: Lilliput Square 13. Whitecliff Recreation Ground 14. Poole Park: Park Gates East 15. Poole Quay & Old Town: Thistle Hotel 16. Baiter Park 17. Poole Park 18. Ashley Cross: Parkstone Railway Station 19. Penn Hill 20. Westbourne 21. The Triangle 22. Bournemouth Square (Stand LL)

From Bournemouth: Jurassic Coast & Isle of Purbeck Day Tour

7. From Bournemouth: Jurassic Coast & Isle of Purbeck Day Tour

Catch the early morning ferry across to the Isle of Purbeck. View Old Harry Rocks, the starting point of the Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in breath-taking views across Poole Harbour and towards Brownsea Island. By mid morning you will arrive at Durlston Country Park. Visit the brand new Jurassic Coast visitor center housed in the recently refurbished Durlston Castle. There’s time for a morning coffee stop overlooking the famous Great Globe and a chance to take the cliff top walk along to Tilly Whim Caves and the Anvil Point Lighthouse. For every visitor brought to Durlston Country Park, a contribution towards a bursary that helps to support their volunteer programme is made. Heading west drive through some of the tiny lanes and villages that give Purbeck its unique character. Take lunch in the village of Corfe Castle, dominated by the ruins that give it its name. Entrance to the castle itself not included (Free to NT members). After lunch take a gentle drive along the coast taking in more stunning scenery as you head for an afternoon at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. Walk down to Man o’ War Rocks and view the magnificent rock arch of Durdle Door, hewn from the Portland limestone beds. Finally, head down to Lulworth Cove and see the famous Lulworth Crumple rock formation in Stair Hole. Hotel pick up request: Please email us to info@discoverdorset.co.uk with your date, booking number and the name and address of your hotel. We will confirm the place and an approximiate time in a reply email, please be 10-15 minutes early and outside.

Bournemouth Pier: PierZip Entrance Ticket

8. Bournemouth Pier: PierZip Entrance Ticket

Feel the thrill of flying through the air and over waves with this entrance ticket to the PierZip ride in Bournemouth. The PierZip is the world’s first pier to shore zip wire, boasting a 250-meter dual zip wire. Challenge your friends and family on the dual zip, riding alongside them to race to shore. Launch from the Zip Tower platform 25 meters above the sea, and race out and “zip surf” 250 meters over the top of the waves to land on the beach. Embark on a truly unique and unforgettable experience, and a wonderful way to experience the amazing, panoramic view of Bournemouth and its stunning coast line.

Poole: Harbor Dinner Cruise with Traditional Fish and Chips

9. Poole: Harbor Dinner Cruise with Traditional Fish and Chips

Spend an evening cruising along the southern British coastline while enjoying a traditional fish and chips dinner. Relax as you admire the beauty of Poole, Europe's largest natural harbor, and the surrounding shore. Snap a few photos of the monumental chalk formations of Old Harry Rocks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, marking the most eastern point of the ancient Jurassic Coast. Pass by Studland Bay, which is famous for wildlife and watersports and also served as the inspiration for children's book author, Enid Blyton's Noddy. Get a glimpse of the luxury beachfront properties and popular beaches along Sandbanks Golden Mile.

Devon and Cornwall: 5-Day Tour from London

10. Devon and Cornwall: 5-Day Tour from London

Discover the landscapes and history of the wild Southwest of England on this 5-day minicoach tour. Combining the best of Devon and Cornwall, including the Jurassic Coast, Dartmoor, Lands End, Tintagel Castle, 2 nights in the Roman city of Exeter, and 2 nights in the harbor town of Falmouth, this tour offers a unique view of a beautiful part of Britain. Day 1 Depart London and travel through the old kingdom of Wessex to the historic city of Winchester. The former capital of Anglo-Saxon England boasts a magnificent cathedral and the Norman Great Hall. From this bustling city, head to a quieter but equally profound place, the standing stone circle of Stonehenge. Having explored this mystical place, your tour will continue to Exeter, the Romans most southwesterly fortified settlement and your base for 2 nights. Day 2 Your morning is spent exploring the magnificent wilderness of Dartmoor, the ancient "Clapper Bridge" at Postbridge, and the historic market town of Tavistock, home to Francis Drake. Return to Exeter in the early afternoon to explore the Roman town, with its underground passages, ancient walls, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and famous 12th-Century Norman Cathedral. Day 3 Head west to the North Cornish coast and the Elizabethan fishing village of Boscastle. Indulge in a cream tea, take a stroll out to the dramatic headland or learn a spell or two in the Museum of Witchcraft. Travel to the village of Tintagel and the ruins of its headland Castle, whose romantic cliff-top setting is purportedly the birthplace of King Arthur. After lunch, the tour heads to Port Isaac where you can get your Doc Martin fix and fall in love with this picturesque fishing village, before heading south to the bustling port town of Falmouth for the next two nights. Day 4 Explore the most westerly tip of England on this magnificent day, taking in St. Michael’s Mount, the incredible Minack Theater, built into the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful National Trust beach at Porthcurno. Look out for pirates at Penzance! England’s most westerly point beckons at Lands End before following the dramatic coast, with windswept moors and old stone Celtic communities, up to the artistic haven of St. Ives. Return to Falmouth for the night. Day 5 This morning you say farewell to Cornwall and travel back through the Devon countryside with stops for photos and refreshments before arriving in the famous little town of Glastonbury for lunch. Glastonbury Tor rises high above the town and has mythical connections with King Arthur and Avalon. From here you will return back eastwards to London, a city completely removed from the experiences you have enjoyed in the magical counties of Devon and Cornwall. Staying in a range of locally owned, friendly B&B's and guesthouses, you will enjoy en suite facilities, and tranquility in scenic locations in the lovely southwest of England.

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What people are saying about Dorset

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,485 reviews

Took the children it's something they truly enjoyed so much excitement. As an adult it's entertaining but after a while I would say you get bored quite quickly but what truly sparks the experience is seeing the facial expression of the children. Had 1 teen with me and one toddler

It was an amazing tour. Dorset is heaven on Earth. Special feedback for Paul, he is very knowledgeable and kind guide. Would recommend this trip to everyone who are contemplating if it’s worth it because it totally is.

Well organised trip. You can comfortably do it as a part of day trip from London. Everything was to the point and on time. Our tour guide was George, everything nicely explained by him , definitely recommended tour.

The guide were lovely - knowledgeable and did take care of the tourists.

Great fun. The guide was really helpful and took some great photos!