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 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.
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.