Dorset is absolutely stacked with fun things to do - but it can all be a little... overwhelming? That's where we come into things. We've collected 25 must-see Dorset attractions for you to check out - there's a little something for everyone too, whether you love history, beaches, sea creatures or adventures, we've got you.
This top Dorset attraction is a hub for nature lovers – and with loads of cool sea creatures to greet, it’s not hard to see why. It's not just your typical aquarium either, there are tonnes of activities on offer too – like the Pirate Adventure Mini Golf, the Castaway Bay Splash Zone and the Caribbean Cove Adventure Playground. This is definitely one of our must-visit Dorset attractions.
A stunning National Trust spot, Corfe Castle Ruins are the perfect example of how pretty a thousand-year-old castle shaped by warfare can really be. The castle was established by William the Conqueror and partially destroyed in the English Civil War back in the day - but it makes for a lovely day out today. This Dorset attraction is perfect for those gloriously sunny days, so grab your picnic blanket and settle in next to Corfe River for a stunning day out.
You simply can’t visit Dorset without stopping by (arguably) the most famous attraction – the Durdle Door. Not only is this Dorset attraction distinct in the UK, but it’s also probably one of the most famous rock arches in the world. Head down to this stunning spot by following the natural cliff path down to Durdle Door Beach or the steps to Man O’War beach.
Oh, and we can’t say this one without doing an intense Dorset accent. Just us??
This unusual Dorset attraction makes for a unique way to explore the Jurassic Coast – the railway can be found in the Isle of Purbeck and travels the five and a half miles of line from Norden to Corfe Castle. Don’t be fooled either, Swanage Railway isn’t just for the train enthusiasts out there – we reckon the whole fam will love this day out in Dorset.
You need a little historic context for this one to truly understand the wonders of the Dorset attraction. Thousands of years ago, Old Harry and The Needles (another iconic chalk rock formation) on the Isle of Wight were linked by chalk hills – all of which were eroded during the last ice age. P.S If it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see The Needles from Studland Bay, so keep your eyes peeled.
Nestled right in the heart of the Heritage Coat World Natural Heritage site, Weymouth Harbour is a stunning place to visit. This is one of our favourite stoppping points on a trip exploring Dorset's best attractions - you've just got to visit.
This adorable seaside resort town is packed with stunning beaches and scenery as well as an enchanting history and cutesy harbour. You’ve just got to check out this Jurassic Coast town.
This stunning lighthouse makes for a perfect day out in Dorset – I mean, look at it, Portland Bill looks straight out of a movie. Check out the amazing views of the English Channel from the Dorset cliff side. And if you wanted even better views, make the trek up the lighthouse stairs and check out the view from up top. You’d prefer a walk? Luckily Portland Bill is home to tonnes of good walking paths along the isle of Portland.
As you’d expect, a day trip to Brownsea Island starts with a good ol’ ferry ride – and you can get there easily from Poole Quay or Sandbanks. Once you arrive at this beautiful Dorset attraction, you’ll find plenty of wildlife to ogle at (including their famous red squirrels). This National Trust spot is a true beauty and well worth a visit – you book lovers just have to check out the second-hand bookshop on the island too.
This Iron Age hillfort was built over 2,500 years ago above Worbarrow Bay in Dorset and makes for a great day out. The hillfort stands at an impressive height of 160-metres above Worbarrow Bay and will get you some of the best views of the Jurassic Coast – we're talking all the way from the Isle of Portland and Weymouth Bay to Poole Harbour. Please note that visiting this attraction is often limited to certain days of the week, visit the official site for more details.
Another excellent National Trust spot, Kingston Lacy is a luxury family home re-imagined as a Venetian Palace in the Dorset countryside – what else could you ask for? There’s plenty to explore at this Dorset attraction, including the house, garden, parkland, café and shop.
This stunning castle was built back by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 and is an amazing Dorset attraction to visit on your next trip. Inside the castle walls you'll find a capsule of 400-years of English heritage and design - with some pretty impressive collections of furniture, paintings and porcelain.
In order to explain the wonder of Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, we'll have to give you a bit of historical context. Way (way) back there was a monastery which dominated the area (and the Fox-Strangways family). In 1541, the abbey lands were leased to Sir Giles Strangway who then converted part of the monastery into a mansion. Fast forward a few (hundred) years later, a wall was built for a sheltered kitchen garden to provide the family in residence with fresh produce - this walled garden now is at the very heart of the Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens.
Oh, and if you love a day out like we do, you've got to check the on-site Tea Room.
Another great aquarium in the area, Oceanarium is a top Dorset attraction. It's not your usual aquarium either, there's a tonne of cool activities to try out too - like their Reef Shark Feeding Experience, Stingray Feeding Experience and Otter Enrichment Experience. These guys are super serious about conservation efforts too - so you know your admission price is going to a good cause.
Known as one of the most exclusive areas in the country, Sandbanks is the perfect spot for a seaside getaway. This Dorset attraction has a beach recognised as one of the best in the UK – and with a Blue Flag award which has been maintained for 35-years, it’s not hard to see why. You’ll catch a glimpse of some seriously stunning homes at on this exclusive peninsula – there's plenty of nosey-ing to be done.
Oh, and for you sporty-types, there’s plenty of activities to take your pick from – think anything from swimming to beach volleyball.
This fun-packed Dorset attraction has tonnes of stuff for you and the fam to get up to all day long. From a petting zoo and assault course to an indoor play area and a guided tour – you could literally spend all day here. Want to make sure you remember the day forever? Make it official and adopt one of the adorable primates.
Were you obsessed with Total Wipeout back in the day? Did you dream of joining the line-up and showing everyone how it should be done? Well, this is the place for you to live out that fantasy. Found just beyond the beautiful Corfe Castle, this Dorset attraction is set over two lakes and is pretty much perfect for any occasion – whether it’s a hen-do, kid’s party or a team building exercise, there’s something to have a go at.
If you ever fancied feasting your eyes upon some seriously blue water on the Jurassic Coast, this is the spot for you. Lulworth Cove is a stunning Dorset attraction which was formed by the combined forces of the sea and a river overflowing at the end of the last Ice Age. So, head on over and prepare for a day of rock-pooling, swimming or simply just chilling – we couldn’t think of a better spot for the occasion.
We bet you didn’t think your trip to Dorset would be made by seeing an impressive collection of tanks – but oh how wrong you are. The Tank Museum is one of the most unique Dorset attractions on this list and we reckon you should give it a shot. Oh, and it’s not just any old tanks you’ll be browsing either, you’ll catch a glimpse of the world’s first-ever tank as well as tanks dating from World War One through to the present day.
This ornamental garden makes for an idyllic day out in Dorset – constructed way back in 1920 by Mr Thomas Simpson, Compton Acres is still recognised as one of the top privately-owned gardens in England. Oh, and you plant-lovers will be well at home here – the garden is home to over 3000 species of plants (some of which grow nowhere else in the country, phwoar). There’s 10-acres of gardens to explore too, so you’d best get wandering.
Another amazing house and gardens to check out, The Russell Coats Art Museum is a great Dorset attraction - and their cafe is the perfect spot for light lunches, teas, coffees, and cakes.
Looking for a spot of fresh air? The Blue Pool is perfect for you. The Nature Reserve & Tearooms forms part of the Furzebrook Estate which traces its history back nearly 400 years - now that's a lot of history. The Tearooms have been open to the public for 100-years alone.
Known as Dorset’s ‘lost’ village, Tyneham Village was evacuated in December 1943 during WWII and has been deserted ever since. The local area was used for military training but even after the war ended the villagers were not allowed to return – to this day the village remains part of the Armoured Fighting Vehicles Gunnery School. Oh, and Tyneham Village isn’t far from the sea, making it the perfect Dorset attraction for a swinging visit on the way to the Jurassic Coast.
Fancy checking out a proper slice of history? This Dorset attraction is the place for you – oh, and the grounds are free to visit. The ruins of The Roman Town House were discovered by locals in the 1930s - when digging in Colliton Park they found the remains of at least 8 buildings dating back to the Roman period. The Dorset County Council decided that these were important landmarks and have cared for them ever since – even constructing a cover building for one area of the house in the 1990s.
Check out even more historic attractions just like this one.
This is probably the best Dorset attraction for families because there’s absolutely tonnes to do – from the toddler-friendly soft play area to a load of fun rides (like the Bumpy Tractor-Trailer Ride and the super-fun Pedal Go-karts). The kids will absolutely adore a day out to Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park – the activites at the Dorset attraction are designed for children aged 0 – 8-years-old.
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