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Dorset Coast

Are you planning a holiday in Dorset with a difference? Escape the crowds while still enjoying the region’s beauty and heritage with our guide to the best hidden gems in Dorset.

While Dorset’s beaches and astounding walking country are tough to beat, there is much more to across enjoy this wonderful region. Think eerie abandoned villages, historic houses and much more.

Read on to reveal 6 of the best Dorset hidden gems…


1. Tyneham Ghost Village, near Wareham

Tyneham Ghost Village

Tyneham was once a charming village on Dorset’s south coast, until the British military took control in 1943. The villagers were told that their evacuation would last only 28 days, however the village lies deserted still to this day.

Winston Churchill chose Tyneham as the base for the British forces to train, as there were less people to disturb. The training was in preparation for D-Day, however the village is still under military control over 7 decades later.

Today, the cottages are in ruin, giving the village an eerie and ghostly feel. This is enhanced further by the fact that the village school is almost exactly the same as it was when the people left, with children’s names above their coat pegs and exercise books on the desks. The only way you can get a true feel for this abandoned village is to visit for yourself.

As the area is still used as a military training zone, please check open days before travelling.


2. The Glowing Clams of Great Britain, Lyme Regis

Seashell

Head to the mouth of the River Lim in Lyme Regis after sunset and you may just catch a glimpse of something magical. Don’t be alarmed if you notice a blue-green tint to the rocky shore, it’s simply the glow of the common piddock bringing the place to life.

This fascinating species of mollusc, similar to a clam, lives attached to the same rock for its eight-year lifetime. Interestingly, the piddock also glows this enchanting colour when eaten, making the breath become luminous.

Experience this remarkable sight whilst staying at one of our wonderful Lyme Regis cottages, using our Lyme Regis Travel Guide for inspiration on what to get up to during your visit.


3. Tout Quarry Sculpture Park, near Weymouth

Tout Quarry Scultpure

A group of artists took over this former working quarry, etching the remaining Portland Stone into a series of impressive sculptures. Head to the beautiful Isle of Portland on the Dorset coast to see this magnificent attraction up close.

Tout Quarry was one of many quarries in the area that produced the stone which helped build many buildings in London. Throughout the park, discover a range of sculptures, including an octopus and a lifelike dog.

Our Weymouth cottages are ideally placed for exploring the Tout Quarry Sculpture Park, as well as everything as that the Isle of Portland has to offer. Browse through our Weymouth Travel Guide for more inspiration on the best things to see and do.


4. Poundbury, near Dorchester

Queen Mother Square Poundbury

When you stumble across this town on the outskirts of Dorchester, everything may not be quite as it seems.

The historic-looking Poundbury is what’s known as an ‘experimental new town’, a project carried out by Prince Charles in 1993. This came to light after the Prince of Wales voiced his concern about the number of ‘aesthetically lackluster’ buildings built in Britain in the 30 years prior.

Walk around the elegant streets of Poundbury, lined with numerous examples of delightful cafés and restaurants. Use our carefully crafted Weymouth Travel Guide for further inspiration on how best to experience this sublime region.


5. Clouds Hill, near Wareham

Clouds Hill

Despite looking like a common country cottage from the outside, Clouds Hill has much more to it. This whitewashed cottage was in fact the rural retreat of T.E. Lawrence, the author of Lawrence of Arabia.

This now National-Trust owned property still bears some of the belongings of the best-selling writer, where he also welcomed many other literary legends to visit. Lawrence in fact tragically died in a motorcycle accident while on his way back to Clouds Hill from the Post Office.

You can take a look at his typewriter and custom-built reading chair when at this fascinating house near the town of Wareham. Take a trip to this unique attraction from one of our excellent Wareham cottages.


6. Kimmeridge Bay, near Wareham

Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay provides a slightly different beach experience to the bustling, tourist-packed sands found elsewhere in the area. Head to this stony beach close to Wareham and you may just discover something to show for it.

Amidst the stones and unique rocky ledges, the keen explorers among you may just find yourselves an ancient fossil. The inquisitive will be trawling the gold-tinted rock pools, while the more adventurous can take advantage of some of the finest snorkelling in Dorset!

Discover all this and more from one of our superb holiday cottages in Wareham.


Have you discovered your own Dorset hidden gems that we haven’t mentioned? If so, take a picture and tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!


Image Credits: muffinnCC BY 2.0; Léon KrierCC BY-SA 4.0Snapdragon1959CC BY-ND 2.0; Andrew BoneCC BY 2.0

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