west dorset towns and villages
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 performances at venues across the town.
The town was a key rope making centre and the Bridport Museum gives an intriguing insight to this industry. It 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 and has a wonderful range of restaurants.
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.
The town 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 4,000 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’. The town is full of interesting shops, galleries and boutiques. The promenade features a number of cafes and pubs which provide a perfect place to enjoy the beautiful sandy beach making it one of the most popular West Dorset towns.
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 kiosks, fishing boats, pubs and restaurants all situated between the spectacular East and West Cliffs. It is host to an annual Trawler Parade where trawlers and their crew are decorated before setting out for a short trip along the coast.
There are plenty of water based activities available including sea fishing and powerboat rides. If you would prefer something a little more relaxing you can enjoy a fish and chips from one of the many kiosks around the harbour whilst admiring the views of the Jurassic coast.
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 including Sea Life, Brewers Quay and the beach fairground. Weymouth has fabulous sailing and watersport facilities and it is a short hop to visit the unique island of Portland.