I am always asked by editors and journalists to name my top places to see and visit in Dorset – and frankly there are just too many to list. By looking at the #visitdorset #dorset #jurassiccoast #westdorset #visitwestdorset #northdorset #eastdorset hashtags on social media, as well as the hashtags for each individual county town or city, you can see what I mean.
If you are thinking about a holiday here, I am posting just a tiny few of my top places:
The Bridport Saturday Market - Filled with treasures, from vintage to books, fresh local produce and plants, lots of local artisans. Come early for the best produce from Springtail Farm, organic fruit and vegetable growers.
Places to eat
Dorshi in Bridport for the very best Asian food
Wylde Dining in Lyme Regis – sophisticated, delicious, seasonal food by Harriet Mansell, who has also created Lilac Wine Bar.
The Fox in Croscombe – a wonderful Dorset pub with Mark Hix in the kitchen. Really atmospheric and lovely food, it also has rooms.
The Seaside Boarding House in Burton Bradstock – top marks, a dining room and terrace facing the Atlantic Ocean, with the best seafood platters, cocktails and bedrooms in the county.
Gelateria Beppino – fantastic Italian artisan cakes, pastries, coffees, gelati and treats in Bridport
The Club House, West Bexington – right on the beach, the best place for fantastic, fresh fish and seafood, you can eat on the lawn in summer, cold wine, warm welcome. Superb.
Town Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis – it’s an institution for a reason. The best breakfasts, communal seating, you can watch the bakers at work.
Lyme Bay – wonderful sea views, drinks, food, people spotting
The Monmouth Pantry – a very well stocked deli
The Elm Tree Inn at Langton Herring – an atmospheric pub that is a destination for food and drink
Brassica in Beaminster for Italian food that is tasty and generous (there is also a fabulous shop across the road, Brassica Mercantile, where you can buy everything from homewares to food and gifts).
The Botanical Candle Company in Shaftesbury is a jewel of a shop, filled with, yes, scented candles, but also homewares, cards, local artisan crafts, dried flowers, lots and lots of lovely things.
Malabar Trading in Bridport – gorgeous textiles, china, clothing, baskets, jewellery, all the delights, imported and local too. Just fantastic taste!
Rambling Rose – a florist in Beaminster where green fingered Kate Reeves displays her wonderful fresh flowers and bouquets – she is super talented.
Little Toller – again in Beaminster, a really special publisher and book shop, it specialises in nature, the wild, the local, the interesting.
Cherryade in Poundbury, Dorchester – what a find! The most chic, minimal, classy shop, stocking all beautiful things for the home, light, bright, white and heavenly. I could live inside it.
The Vintage Tool Shop, The Old Dairy, Carters Barn Farm, Piddlehinton - you have never been anywhere like this before! It’s as if you suddenly entered an 18th century hardware / ironmongery / blacksmith shop. Quite unique.
Old Albion in Bridport – Sharon is the Queen Of Vintage – she sources props and furniture for film sets, shops, houses etc
East Street Deli in Wimborne – a small shop but absolutely packed to the rafters with wonderful cheese, larder goods, eco-cleaning products and wine.
Ryder & Hope – Lyme Regis – stylish and covetable, everything you might ever need for your home, your garden, yourself or your friends.
Molesworth & Bird – all things seaweed, from art to bags, cards, prints, tea towels. Experts!
Brassica Mercantile - as above, part of Brassica Restaurant and Mercantile, the restaurant and shop are on two sides of the same Market Square in Beaminster - you will find wonderful homeware and lifestyle goods, as well as food, ready meals, wines, toiletries and gifts in the shop.
Beaches and coastlines
The Jurassic Coast, which stretches from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset, a distance of 96 miles. Named a World Heritage Site in 2001, the Jurassic Coast is visited by an estimated 22 million people every year.
Charmouth, Eype, Osmington, Ringstead, Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door - Dorset’s finest, clean and beautiful (but sometimes, at peak season, they can get very busy and littered, sadly!). Bring a picnic, a blanket and something either very cold or very hot to drink (depending on the weather!).
Places to visit
Dorset Museum – the Roman mosaics!
Kingston Lacey – what a National Trust treat – so beautiful, ornate and imposing, a country house tour par excellence.
Athelhampton House and Garden – really lovely, such pretty gardens, all well maintained, good café, knowledgeable tour guides.
The Priest’s House Museum of East Dorset in Wimborne – a good look into Dorset rural life in the past, good tea room.
Milton Abbas – a unique village of thatched houses, all in a row, pristine gardens and a beautiful Abbey School.
Cerne Abbas – a charming village, prime Dorset architecture, great village shop, lovely pub, @thenewinncerneabbas
Brothers Farm, Wimborne – fantastic organic blueberries, pick your own flowers, workshops and a café
All Hallows Farmhouse Cookery School – Wimborne St Giles – a renowned cookery school run by talented cook Lisa Osman who is an Aga cookery expert.