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Our aim here at the British Coast Guide is to create a portal to the coast, providing visitors with introductions to areas of the coast they will not know about. Using video, both of our own production and those of tourism boards and locals. Around this presentation we would love to promote your business...

Overview Video of Dorset

Welcome to Dorset's, Coast and Seaside...

Overview Video by Visit Dorset - Created by Red Balloon Productions

Bournemouth and Boscombe combine their reputation as a seaside resort of sands, piers and attractions with the attributes of a regional centre - a university, an important financial centre, an airport and good shopping. Next door Poole is just as bustling with a thriving commercial and ferry port, prime residential areas, boat-building and sailing. Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in Britain, and one of the world’s largest. It is a sailor’s paradise, nature reserve and sheltered mooring containing Brownsea Island, owned by the National Trust and the site of the first Scout camp, brought here in 1907 by Baden Powell. At the mouth of the harbour is Sandbanks, laden with the opulent mansions of the rich and famous. Across the unusual chain driven car ferry is Shell Bay and Studland, a National Trust-owned nature reserve with naturist beach.

The area to the south of Poole Harbour is the Isle of Purbeck, guarded by medieval Corfe Castle, and crossed by the Purbeck Hills. They reach the sea in high chalk cliffs at Handfast Point where the columns of chalk standing in the sea are the Old Harry Rocks, overlooking Swanage in the south and Poole Bay in the north. Historic Swanage is now a quiet and charming resort dating from Saxon times, in earlier times it was the scene of King Alfred’s naval victory over the Danes in AD 877.

The central Dorset coast is bleak but remarkable. There is a ghost village - Tyneham - evacuated and taken over by the Army in 1943 for military exercises but now a fascinating insight into wartime village life. Coastal features include Lulworth Cove where the cliffs form an almost-enclosed shallow bay, and Durdle Door, a natural arch of Purbeck limestone a short walk from Lulworth. There is also oil exploration in Dorset, the ‘nodding donkey’ at Kimmeridge and the larger Wytch Farm oilfield near Corfe Castle.

And then there is Weymouth - ancient port, popular resort, and the venue for the sailing events of the 2012 London Olympics. Sheltering Weymouth is the Isle of Portland, its surface broken by quarries from which came the Portland stone used in grand buildings in London and elsewhere. Portland Bill is the site of a lighthouse, just next to Pulpit Rock, a manmade rock formation at sea level. The whole island has been garrisoned since Norman times.

As you look west from the high ground of Portland, you see another unusual coastal feature - Chesil Beach and The Fleet. Chesil Beach is a straight, 18-mile bank of pebbles stretching from Portland to West Bay. Inland is the Fleet Lagoon, a sheltered body of salt water and the village of Abbotsbury, famous for its swannery. Lyme Regis is the westernmost town in Dorset, and is a medieval port. It earned its Royal title when King Edward I used its famous Cobb harbour during his wars against France.

From Old Harry Rocks into East Devon is known as the Jurassic Coast, and is Britain’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. It covers 95 miles of the coast, and its rocks hold 185 million years of the earth’s history, depicting a ‘walk through geological time’ spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. As well as the geological features described here, and others, some of the beaches are awash with fossils, easily accessible to the visitor.

See our Featured Accommodation OR a Selection of Great Places to Visit

"HOTSPOTS" from Seaside Towns to Beaches & Covers in Dorset

One of Britain's favourite resorts, Bournemouth has seven miles of golden sands, lots of entertainment, attractions and places to stay.
Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis, nicknamed 'The Pearl of Dorset' is famed for its fossils and its harbour, the Cobb.
West Bay & Bridport
West Bay & Bridport
West Bay, two miles from the market town of Bridport, has a fairly small harbour, two piers and two beaches.

Abbotsbury & Chesil Beach
Abbotsbury & Chesil Beach
Inland of the 18-mile Chesil Beach is the picturesque town of Abbotsbury, famed for its Swannery.
The lively resort of Weymouth\'s wide sandy beach is sheltered by the limestone cliffs of the Isle of Portland.
Almost-enclosed Lulworth Cove and nearby Durdle Door are renowned features of the Jurassic Coast.

Swanage & Isle of Purbeck
Swanage & Isle of Purbeck
Swanage is a lovely small family resort set among the downs of the Isle of Purbeck, surrounded by outstanding coastal features.
Sandbanks and Poole
Sandbanks and Poole
One of the world's largest natural harbours, a mecca for sailors and home of the rich and famous.
Portland - heart of England's Jurassic Coast
Portland - heart of England's Jurassic Coast

Coastal Map of Dorset
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Isle of Purbeck
in detail
Visit Weymouth and Portland
the natural place to be
Chesil Beach
and the Fleet Lagoon
Lyme Regis
The pearl of Dorset
West Dorset
West Dorset District Council's Tourism Website
Visit Dorset
From the country to the coast
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Your official guide to the south west
Jurassic Coast
World Heritage Site
Purbeck Tourism
The official tourism information website for Swanage and Purbeck
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The official Poole tourism website
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The official guide to Bournemouth
South West Coast Path
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Natural England
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Explore the Dorset coast
Visit Swanage
Official Hospitality Association website

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