Towns and villages
- Lyme Regis
- Wimborne Minster - famed for its 'chained library'
- Buckland Newton
- Burton Bradstock
- Cerne Abbas
- Milton On Stour
- West Bay
Dorset is mostly rural, with a few large towns and many small villages. The county has a variety of landscapes, from steep chalk hills and wide clay valleys full of small dairy farms to the 50 mile Jurassic Coast world heritage site, popular with tourists and important to science.
Dorset has notable lesbian and gay activity in Bournemouth and Weymouth. Other towns have small but developing gay communities. Bournemouth has an annual Pride event. Information on the gay community in Dorset is collated online at [http://www.gaydorset.com.
The only major airport in Dorset is Bournemouth International Airport, which provides flights to many cities in Europe, as does Southampton airport, to the east and Exeter airport, to the west. Bristol airport, to the north, has a wider selection, including New York. London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports are both approximately 100 miles to the north-east of Bournemouth.
Dorchester, Poole, Bournemouth, Weymouth and on a separate line Sherborne and Gillingham are connected directly to London, approximately 2 hours. Dorchester, Weymouth and Sherborne are connected to Bristol and Bath, about 1 1/2 hours away.
The A303 is the main route from London into the north of the county (and has Stonehenge half-way). The south of the county is connected to London by the M3 and M27, and to the Channel Tunnel by the M27 and A27. Both routes carry on into Devon and Cornwall. The A36 and A37 connect to Bath and Bristol.
The A35 between Dorchester and Bridport has spectacular views over the local countryside, as too does the coastal road (B3157) between Weymouth and Bridport. Both are probably most dramatic at sunset (driving towards Bridport) but are amazing at any time.
Much of Dorset is very rural, and though there are many bus routes, many do not have regular and often services, or may only run on market and pension days. The biggest bus company is called Wilts & Dorset which runs services to most of the major towns. Their main office is at Poole Bus Station, with satellite offices in some of the larger towns.
- Shaftesbury - charming town in north Dorset
- Poole Harbour - the second largest natural harbour in the world (second only to Sydney), and the largest in Europe
- The Great Dorset Steam Fair near Blandford Forum - 600 acres of steam engines attended by over 200,000 visitors for a week in August/September each year. During the fair, the camping site becomes the largest community in the county!
- The Isle of Portland and Portland Bill
- Wimborne Minster - a big church in a small town
Studland Beach, Studland, near Swanage. A popular beach and beauty spot.
- Bovington Tank Museum a very interesting tank museum.
Swanage Steam Railway, Swanage (Park at Norden Park and Ride station). daily April to October. Ride in authentic heritage carriages for 6 miles from Corfe Castle to the seaside resort of Swanage behind an original steam locomotive £9.
- The Electric Palace - originally opened in 1926, this historic art deco cinema in Bridport now also doubles as a popular theatre and music venue.
- Bridport Museum - tells the story of the town's history from its origins to the present day. Includes permanent displays on the local geology, a nearby Roman hill-fort and the rope and net making industries.
- Bridport Arts Centre - arts venue and home of the Briport Prize, a prestigious international creative writing competition. Closed to the public on Mondays. Serves as a focal point for several local festivals:
- Melplash Agricultural Show - originated as a ploughing competition in Melplash, the show has since grown into a much wider celebration of rural industry and culture. Held in West Bay, Bridport.
- Bridport Food Festival - incorporating the Bridport Beer Festival. Annual in June.
Gaggle of Geese Charity Poultry Auction, Gaggle of Geese, ☎ . A charity poultry auction, farmers market and car boot sale is held twice a year in the grounds of the Gaggle of Geese. Flock to the pub at the end of May or the second Sunday in September to buy all sorts of poultry, all profits go to local charities.
- Abbotsbury Swannery - see the cygnets hatching from mid May to late June.
Dorset has a number of local specialities including Apple Cake, Cream Teas and Blue Vinney Cheese.
Some of the best local food comes from tea shops, cafes, fish and chip shops and pubs, Not all pubs serve food all of the time and the quality varies considerably.
If you prefer international or exotic flavours the towns of Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth will provide you with a good choice.
There are many breweries in Dorset. Hall & Woodhouse of Blandford is the largest brewing Badger Best Bitter, Tanglefoot and a variety of flavoured beers. Palmers of Bridport is the biggest brewers in the West of the County. Each of these breweries has a large number of tied pubs within the county. Other local beers often found in Dorset pubs come from Ringwood Brewery, Fullers, Marstons and Morland along with the well known international lagers.
It is possible to find locally made cider and scrumpy in some of the rural areas.
There is a vineyard at Horton north of Wimborne, but wine production in the county is low volume at best.
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