Today is World Tourism Day and we couldn’t let it pass us by without a little shout-out to our namesake county and area of absolutely outstanding natural beauty…Dorset! Our home-county has been a firm favourite holiday destination for many decades, with it’s seaside resorts and countryside cottages it is the picture perfect location to escape the city. With UK staycations reaching a record high in 2017, we took a look at why Dorset should be your British destination of choice.
It’s The Real Life Jurassic Park!
Did you have childhood dreams of walking with dinosaurs in a way comparable to Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park (except with less impending doom and the potential of getting eaten)? Well, Dorset is the next best thing! As the gateway to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the Dorset shoreline is the home of a multitude of amazing fossilised ‘saurs, allowing you to literally walk among dinosaurs. The extensive layers of sedimentary rock along the South Coast, tell a detailed story of planet Earth spanning 185 million years, making it the perfect location for some serious fossil hunting of your own. Though you may be hard pushed to find skeletal remains to make a paleontologist jealous, there are a number of locations that you can head to in order to get a glimpse into the prehistoric world. Kimmeridge Bay is not only a stunning location, but it also hosts an incredible range of fossils lurking upon it’s path - pack your hiking boots and a packed lunch and roam the beach searching for an ammonite or belemnite. Just make sure you read up on fossil hunting etiquette before swarming the beaches, you can read more on the Jurassic coast website, here.
Far From The Maddening Crowd…
These famous words of Dorset’s Laurette, Thomas Hardy are far too appropriate when considering the beauty of Dorset as a tourist destination. It is no coincidence that the gorgeous musings of Hardy as so deeply entrenched with references to the county in which he composed his internationally acclaimed novels. The picturesque pastures of the county have played host to many a literary tale throughout the decades, many of which are still popular to this day. Perhaps they provide an escape from day to day drama of cosmopolitan suburbia and transport their readers back to an era of romantic, rural simplicities. Perhaps, like the magical and mischievous works of Enid Blyton, the Purbecks provide a playful backdrop to our childhood nostalgia (Noddy’s Toyland was based on our home in Corfe village in fact!). Now, as a keen bookworm myself I am a firm believer that reading is the cheapest form of travel - however, there must be a reason that Hardy and Blyton (to name but a few) used Dorset as their muse and I would therefore encourage any romantic, nostalgic, readers to explore the county in physical as well as in literary form. Perhaps it will inspire a story or two of your own?
Life’s a Beach
A statement that really is quite literal in Dorset! With miles of gorgeous coastline, Dorset is home to some of the UK’s most desirable dunes, not least of all Weymouth beach that was named as the most highly rated beach in Britain according to the TripAdvisor community. A personal favourite of mine is shell bay in Studland. Combing the sand for sea glass and cockle shells is just as therapeutic now as it was when I was a child. Or perhaps you would prefer to take a wander along a bay with VIP status? Bridport bay is now most famous for it’s leading role as the location of ITV drama Broadchurch. It’s white cliffs and pebbled beach make it a beautiful spot for a sunday stroll followed by a pub lunch in the picturesque market town.
King Of The Castle
So, we’ve covered rolling hills, dramatic coastlines, stunning beaches - what more do you need to convince yourself that Dorset is the ultimate in romantic staycations? Oh, well I suppose you could always throw in a castle for good measure?! My oh my do you have your pick of the bunch in Dorsetshire! You may wish to opt for the gothic stylings of Lulworth Castle, taking the time to explore it’s extensive parklands and woodland walks? Or perhaps you wish to go more obscure and transport yourself back to the iron age with a visit to the relic site of Maiden castle? The English Heritage hillfort is the size of 50 football pitches so there is plenty of stomping ground to perfect your iron age warrior impression! But at the top of our list is of course, no less than our friend and neighbour - Corfe Castle. William the Conqueror built this famous castle, (which was surely the original ‘Grand Designs’ project?!) before it was annihilated by parliaments order in 1645. We would be mad if they hadn’t left it looking quite so glorious, and we consider ourselves very lucky to have such a sought after view from our office window at Dorset Waterpark HQ. If you do happen to take a trip this way, please be sure to pop in and say “Hello” - we’re here until October 29th this year folks!