Dorset’s Prettiest Towns Uncovered
Having been completely destroyed by fire in 1731, Blandford is now one of England's finest Georgian market towns. An architectural wonder, with a unique 'Forum', an open market space, hugged by distinctive landmarks such as the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, the Great Fire Monument and the town hall. The town itself is tucked in a wooded valley on the banks of River Stour, neighbouring rolling green hills.
Bournemouth is a must see destination, attracting millions of visitors each year since the Victorian Era. Brimming with palm trees, sun-soaked beaches and a vibrant nightlife, Bournemouth with it's village-esque feel holds its own contemporary vibe. Consisting of separate districts; Alum Chine and Westbourne, the town centre and Boscombe and Southbourne, each place has it's own unique feel and holds fun for all ages.
Heard of 'Return to River Cottage'? Well it's set here, in Bridport. This pretty paradise sits where the rivers Brit and Asker meet, and is famous for rope and net making, which is still vital for the country today. Enjoy a stroll through the Borough Gardens before coming across one of the last surviving traditional breweries in Britain. Palmers Brewery offers guided tours, just one highlight in this friendly and welcoming town.
No holiday would be complete without visiting Dorchester, Durnovaria in Roman times, the county town of Dorset. Again, having seen fire in the 17th and 18th centuries, the best way to see this historic Georgian town is by one of the four town walking trails. Give yourself a couple of hours to enjoy one of the informative and natural walks.
Shaftesbury, as a lovely historic market town, rests high upon a hill overlooking the Blackmore Vale, part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The panoramic views are picturesque from Castle Hill and Park Walk. The cobbled path of Gold Hill, iconically known as 'Hovis' hill, from the popular 1980's TV advert, leads to the Abbey grounds. The remains of Abbey Church are free to wander through, and you can see the Anglo-Saxton herb collection in the Abbey Museum.
The 'Pearl of Dorset', as Lyme Regis is so fancifully named, holds a romantic charm and quality. This seaside port town is well known for 'The Cobb', featuring in Jane Austen novels, a massive harbour wall built entirely of Portland stone. Like several spots along the Jurassic coast of Dorset, you can enjoy fossil hunting here in Lyme Regis, some fossils have been dated back to 195 million years ago. Sitting on the delta of the river Lym as it flows through the heart of the town, the pretty Georgian era village streets ramble narrow and steep.
There is much to do on the doorstep of Lyme Regis also, although the area is quite hilly, great for those who enjoy spectacular and rewarding scenes from a days hike. Just to the West you can discover the Undercliff National Nature Reserve, accessible only to walkers. It stretches 7 miles of untouched coastal land and you will be rewarded in spectacular views from the cliff top paths and rare flora and fauna that are present there. A destination for all seasons, you can enjoy many outdoor and indoor activities here.
Dorset has an abundance of pretty towns, from quaint and coastal to elegant and historical and everything in between, enjoy your cottage holiday here, for all ages.