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West Dorset Towns

West Dorset is alive with bustling towns packed full of exciting things to do and great places to eat, from West Bay to Weymouth.


Towns and Villages of West Dorset



Bridport is a vibrant and colourful market town, set amongst the West Dorset hills. It is well known for its arts and music scene with a number of festivals and regular performances at venues across the town.

Bridport was a key rope making centre and the Bridport Museum gives an intriguing insight to this industry. Bridport makes a great holiday base for the nearby Chesil Beach and coastal footpath and there are a number of golf and fishing opportunities. There is a twice-weekly street market and monthly farmers market.



Dorchester is the county town of Dorset and it has plenty of shops, cafes and historical sights. It is closely linked to Thomas Hardy who based many of his novels on the surrounding Dorset countryside. As well as a good range of shops, the Borough Gardens offers recreational facilities as well as a children’s play area and is home to many of the festivals during the year.

Dorchester has a number of small museums including the Teddy Bear Museum and you can also visit the homes of TE Lawrence and Thomas Hardy. Just outside Dorchester is Maiden Castle, an iron age ancient hill fort which is around 4000 years old and provides superb views across the Dorset countryside.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis is a picturesque town on the Jurassic coast with its historic cobb which featured in the film ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’. Lyme Regis is full of interesting shops, galleries and boutiques and the promenade features a number of cafes and pubs which provide a perfect place to enjoy the beautiful sandy beach.

Lyme Regis is also becoming a noted food and drink holiday destination with the opening of Mark Hix’s fish restaurant, the local brewery and other excellent restaurants. Nearby the beaches at Charmouth provide the best place on the south coast to go fossil hunting where you may well find your own fossil – especially if you join one of the many tours.

West Bay

Just south of Bridport is the town of West Bay, a busy harbour village with characteristic kiosks, fishing boats, pubs and restaurants all situated between the spectacular East and West Cliffs. It is host to an annual Trawler Theme Parade where trawlers and their crew are decorated before setting out for a short trip along the coast.

Also in West Bay is the highly recommended seafood restaurant, the Riverside Restaurant, which is well worth a visit whilst on your holiday, or you can enjoy a fish and chips from one of the many kiosks around the harbour.


Weymouth is a popular and lively holiday town with plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and a large sandy beach. Old Weymouth is situated around the picturesque harbour area, with its cobbled streets and interesting warehouse buildings.

There are plenty of family attractions around Weymouth including Sea Life, Brewers Quay and the beach fairground. Weymouth also has fabulous sailing and watersport facilities.

Find out more about exploring Dorset

What Our Guests Say...

Perfect country retreat - First class comfortable accommodation in the Gardeners Cottage. Set in the beautiful Dorset countryside, we couldn't have wished for more. No hesitation in recommending Rudge Farm to my family and friends.

Stephen, St Albans

Great location to explore West Dorset - We had a really lovely stay at Rudge Farm. As our first visit to West Dorset it was an ideal location to explore the coastline. The kids really enjoyed the activities on site too including the boating on the lake, the games room and tennis court. The local farm shop was fab and did lovely fresh bread, yummy cheese, and veg. Thanks for a great holiday and we would definitely recommend it to other people.

Caroline, Brighton

Loved our holiday. Lots to keep our little one entertained, tennis, games room, trampoline, rowing boats, fishing, playing in the meadow, the ducks and woodland walks. Cottage lovely clean and had everything we needed. We went to Burton Bradstock beach, monkey world, dinosaur & teddy bear museums in Dorchester, Lulworth Cove, Abbotsbury children's farm. Fantastic time and back for more hopefully next year.

John, Swanley

If your looking for a peaceful holiday in the deep countryside this is perfect.The wildlife is great with so much to see and the most wonderful walks on your doorstep.Pigsty cottage was excellent for us and the view from the cottage was stunning.

Toby, Carmarthen

Lovely weekend - The cottage is absolutely amazing, much more than expected!! We had a lovely weekend in Dorset and stay there just made it perfect... clean, friendly staff and really beautiful place!! We’ll come back soon!!

Linda, Shropshire
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