Hotels in Dorset

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Hotels in Dorset

Dorset: Marvellous Coastline, Beautiful Countryside and Much More

Nestled along England’s southwest coast, the county of Dorset is home to picturesque countryside, historic structures and settlements, and some of the most magnificent coastline in all of Great Britain. It should come as no surprise then to learn that the county is wildly popular with day-trippers and holidaymakers alike. If you’re planning a trip to Dorset, here are some of the attractions you’ll want to keep an eye open for.

The Jurassic Coast

First and foremost, Dorset’s top attraction is the marvellous Jurassic Coast. Stretching almost 100 miles from Devon to Dorset, the coastline is renowned for its intriguing natural features, which include arches, stacks, coves and fossilised remains. Once a haven for smugglers, this is a must-see destination for any visitor to the region.

Durdle Door, which can be found along Lulworth Cove, is perhaps the most famous of the Jurassic Coast’s natural features. The name Durdle Door refers to the archway that has been carved out of limestone cliff following thousands of years of coastal erosion. The cove itself features sandy beaches, while miles of walking trails are located atop the cliffs.

Portland Island is another of the coast’s top attractions. Joined to the mainland by Chesil Beach, the island features a massive, manmade harbour and Portland Bill Lighthouse, one of the region’s most popular landmarks.

Just minutes from the beautiful coastline, an abundance of picturesque countryside can be found. Rolling fields, scenic parks and chalk downs all make this one of England’s most attractive vistas.

Castles, Churches and Abbeys

Dotted around the county you’ll discover ancient relics of the past. Dorset is home to a number of castles, all of which prove to be popular tourist attractions.

Located at the entrance to Portland Island, Portland Castle harks back to the days of Henry VIII. Much of the castle remains in excellent condition. The same cannot be said for Corfe Castle. Constructed by William the Conqueror, the castle was demolished in the sixteenth century. The ruins remain worthy of a visit though. Lulworth Castle treads the middle ground between the two. Although in spectacular condition to look at, the castle was actually ruined by fire in the early 20th-century. Recent restoration work has seen it returned to its previous splendour and glory.

Elsewhere about the county, an assortment of churches and other religious buildings await your discovery. Popular landmarks include Sherborne Abbey, Forde Abbey and Christchurch Priory.

Investigating Dorset’s Towns

Travellers planning to spend a weekend or week in Dorset will want to check out the region’s towns, where hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and other accommodation options can be found.

Dorchester, the country town, is the main destination for visitors. Here you’ll find a good mix of tourist attractions and town amenities, including museums, shops, restaurants and more. The town itself is packed with medieval buildings and a treasure trove of historic delights.

The towns of Poole and Portland, both of which feature large harbours, are popular destinations in Dorset. Meanwhile, larger towns like Bournemouth and Weymouth also attract many visitors. The coastal location of each of these towns puts seaside attractions, including beaches, within touching distance.

Exploring Dorset’s Museums

If you’re unfortunate enough to encounter wet weather during your trip to Dorset, the region’s many museums offer respite on a soggy day. Museums can be found in all of the major towns, most likely within walking distance of your hotel or lodgings, as well as along the coastline.

One of the more unexpected of museums you’re likely to come across is the Tutankhamun Exhibition in Dorchester. Since 1986, this small museum has exhibited exact replicas of the many artefacts found in the famed tomb of the boy pharaoh. And while replica may sound less than impressive, the displays actually capture the atmosphere of that famed tomb almost perfectly.

Another popular choice with history buffs is the Tank Museum, which you’ll find in Bovington. Almost 300 different tanks are on display here, with many having been sourced from abroad. Keeping with the military theme, The Keep in Dorchester is a former army barracks that now serves as a museum. In addition to interesting exhibits, you can also enjoy great views of the town from the rooftop battlements.

Other popular museums in Dorset include Poole Museum, Portland Museum, Dorset County Museum (Dorchester), and Russel-Cotes Museum (Bournemouth).

Family-Friendly Attractions

You’ll find no shortage of family-friendly attractions during your visit to Dorset, even if your children aren’t into scenery and history.

Located near to Bournemouth, Adventure Wonderland is a theme park based around Alice in Wonderland. It is targeted at families with younger children (under 12) and includes a hedge maze, adventure play area, theatre shows, and more. Meanwhile, Tower Park in Poole features a large bowling alley, cinema, bingo hall, and other amenities. It’s also home to Splashdown, a wildly-popular indoor-outdoor water park.

A popular choice with many visitors is Swanage Railway. Once a major railway route, today the heritage railways offers visitors the chance to explore six miles of countryside aboard an authentic steam train.

Other family-friendly attractions in the region include: Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park, where you can get up close with a myriad of marine life; the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester, which features bones, fossils and replica dinosaurs; and Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park, where you can ride on wagons, tractor trailers, and more.

Price range

from ‎AU$49to ‎AU$1,119

Top hotels

    Hotel Premier Inn Bournemouth West Cliff Bournemouth

    The Premier Inn Bournemouth Westcliff is a three star property located on Poole Road in the city of Bournemouth. The hotel lies in the city centre and close to the shops, restaurants and bars. It’s also within walking distance of the beach. It’s a large hotel with 168 guest rooms and all the rooms are non-smoking. Rooms for disabled guests are available as well as family rooms. Each guest room has an en suite bathroom and features double bed, tea and coffee-making facilities, work desk, ironing facilities, hairdryer, remote control television, air conditioning and wireless internet access (charges apply). Extra beds and cots are available. Guests can enjoy a full or continental breakfast including eggs, fresh fruit salad and coffee from Costa’s. The on site restaurant also has a snack and dinner menu. Free parking is available at the hotel but is limited. Other facilities include an elevator and 24 hour front desk. Guests can check in from 2 pm and checking out is until noon. Pets are not allowed at the hotel. All major credit cards are accepted. more

    Hotel Royal Bath Hotel & Spa Bournemouth Bournemouth

    De Vere Royal Bath is a 4 star hotel in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. On the south coast of England , this hotel was opened on Queen Victoria's Coronation day in 1838 and offers panoramic views across the English Channel. There are 140 guest rooms with en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, radio, iron and ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities, direct dial telephone, wired internet access free of charge, and television with satellite TV channels. The hotel restaurant is open for breakfast lunch and dinner. They use seasonal and local produce whenever possible. Afternoon cream tea's are served in the lounge. The health club has an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, beauty treatments and massage therapists as well as a fully equipped gymnasium. There are 8 conference and meeting rooms available the largest of which can hold up to 400 persons, and has modern technical equipment. more

    Hotel Cumberland Hotel - Oceana Collection Bournemouth

    The Cumberland Hotel is a 3-star Art Deco style boutique property situated on the East Cliff in Bournemouth. Nearby attractions include Russel Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Pavilion Gardens and St. Peter's Church. The town centre is just a short walk away. The 107 non-smoking guest rooms come with a private bathroom with hairdryer and bath/shower combination. All rooms are accessible by lift, many feature balconies and sea views, and all are equipped with television, tea/coffee making facilities, telephone, and trouser press. Irons/ironing boards are available on request. Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist with tourist information, laundry service, luggage storage and fax/photocopying. For business travellers, a business centre is offered, and there are multiple conference/meeting rooms which include free WIFI. Secretarial services are also offered. Leisure facilities include an outdoor pool and a spa, and guests can make use of the complimentary facilities available at the 2 adjacent associate hotels. These include indoor pools, alternative outdoor pool, sauna, gym and squash courts. Limited on site parking is available free of charge. more

    Hotel Travelodge Bournemouth Bournemouth

    Situated in a town on England’s southern coast, Travelodge Bournemouth Hotel allows for convenient access to the centre of town and the seafront, as well as Bournemouth Airport and train station. Each guestroom at Travelodge Bournemouth Hotel boasts 24-hour Wi-Fi for a nominal fee, a TV with 17 channels, tea and coffee making facilities, showers and toiletries. As well as the hotel’s available Wi-Fi, there is also the option of early check-in and late checkout, 36 parking spaces for a small charge, and a non-smoking policy throughout the premises. Travellers will enjoy the hotel’s bar café, which offers delicious food and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Moreover, there is a daily breakfast buffet which allows for children to eat free. With its central location, the hotel affords guests the chance to easily come and go to central London, as well as visit attractions such as the Bournemouth Aquarium, Oceanarium. more

    Hotel Wyvern Hotel Bournemouth

    Wyvern Hotel is a 4-star, family-friendly luxury property situated in Bournemouth that features a lovely full English breakfast each morning and a central location near the centre of town. Non-smoking, traditionally-decorated guest rooms feature a television, en suite bathrooms, complimentary toiletries, a hair dryer and coffee and tea facilities. Complimentary Wi-Fi service is offered in all areas of the hotel and the on-site parking is free too.  A TV lounge is located in the lobby area and other amenities available include a sun terrace and luggage storage. The daily breakfast includes a wide variety of cold and cooked items such as cheese, croissants, meat and fresh fruit. Within walking distance of Wyvern Hotel is the Boscombe Spa Seafront.  Also nearby is Bournemouth Rail Station, Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth International Centre and Coastal Activity Park. more

    Hotel Klikaway Bournemouth

    Hotel Klikaway is the number one destination for dancing holidays in the UK with their newly remodelled, air conditioned ballroom and team of professional dance instructors, musicians, and hosts. Each of the three-star guestrooms at Hotel Klikaway are furnished with a private bathroom, TV, free Wi-Fi, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single, double, twin, and family rooms are available to accommodate parties of all sizes. Their beautiful gardens create the illusion of a quiet retreat in the middle of the city, and in-room massages are available for guests who are really looking to relax. They also offer free parking and a 24-hour reception desk. The hotel's five-star restaurant is sure to impress, and their bar and lounge is an excellent place to grab a drink. Hotel Klikaway is conveniently located near a variety of shops, attractions, and restaurants, such as Westover Gallery, St. Peter's Church, and The Escoffier Restaurant. more