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Dorset: Places to Visit

Alison

Dorset: Places to Visit

Family Day Out
These are attractions that are suitable for parents and children.
Multi award-winning Adventure Wonderland offers the perfect day out! Dorset’s multi award-winning family theme park, Adventure Wonderland, with its great range of rides and attractions is the perfect spot for an unforgettable day out. Family favourites include Jungle Falls log flume, Wild Bill's Runaway Train, The Ghostly Galleon and the Dance with the Stars marquee. The park, opposite Bournemouth Airport, takes its inspiration from Lewis Carol’s timeless classic, Alice in Wonderland and children love getting to know the resident characters Alice, Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, Mr Rabbit and the cheeky Cheshire Cat. Throughout the year the park welcomes a number of fabulous visiting characters for the day. The park also welcomes characters from local holiday parks, like Shorefield, and our friends at Wave and Heart drop-in too. The park is set within wonderful parkland with the largest natural hedge maze on the South Coast with 1 ½ miles of pathways – perfect for an adventure. There is also the ever-popular Cuddle Corner petting area with its host of furry friends. And that’s just outside. There’s also the vast indoor Aztec adventure play centre, Wild Thing! with even more activities including the fantastic Montyzoomer’s Ball Firing Thunderdome and the brand new interactive Jungle Zap Zone!
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Adventure Wonderland
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Multi award-winning Adventure Wonderland offers the perfect day out! Dorset’s multi award-winning family theme park, Adventure Wonderland, with its great range of rides and attractions is the perfect spot for an unforgettable day out. Family favourites include Jungle Falls log flume, Wild Bill's Runaway Train, The Ghostly Galleon and the Dance with the Stars marquee. The park, opposite Bournemouth Airport, takes its inspiration from Lewis Carol’s timeless classic, Alice in Wonderland and children love getting to know the resident characters Alice, Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, Mr Rabbit and the cheeky Cheshire Cat. Throughout the year the park welcomes a number of fabulous visiting characters for the day. The park also welcomes characters from local holiday parks, like Shorefield, and our friends at Wave and Heart drop-in too. The park is set within wonderful parkland with the largest natural hedge maze on the South Coast with 1 ½ miles of pathways – perfect for an adventure. There is also the ever-popular Cuddle Corner petting area with its host of furry friends. And that’s just outside. There’s also the vast indoor Aztec adventure play centre, Wild Thing! with even more activities including the fantastic Montyzoomer’s Ball Firing Thunderdome and the brand new interactive Jungle Zap Zone!
Enjoy a fun-filled, fascinating day out for all the family at Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre in Wareham. The 65-acre park is home to the stars of TV’s ‘Monkey Life’ and ‘Monkey Business’, and provides sanctuary for rescued and endangered primates from around the world. Some are now part of international breeding programmes for endangered species including Europe’s official orang-utan crèche! Daily keepers’ talks provide a captivating insight into life at the park and its inhabitants - staff are so enthusiastic about what they do, giving a real feel-good factor. Pre-bookable guided tours are also available and offer the chance to learn more about the often harrowing pasts of the primates and how their lives have been transformed since arriving at the safe haven of Monkey World. The park is well laid out and spacious for both humans and primates alike. While away the hours watching the monkeys and apes interact, then let the kids use up all their energy in the huge Great Ape Adventure Play Area. Café’s serve good value hot and cold food or there are numerous picnic areas to be enjoyed on sunny days.
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Monkey World - Ape Rescue Centre
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Enjoy a fun-filled, fascinating day out for all the family at Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre in Wareham. The 65-acre park is home to the stars of TV’s ‘Monkey Life’ and ‘Monkey Business’, and provides sanctuary for rescued and endangered primates from around the world. Some are now part of international breeding programmes for endangered species including Europe’s official orang-utan crèche! Daily keepers’ talks provide a captivating insight into life at the park and its inhabitants - staff are so enthusiastic about what they do, giving a real feel-good factor. Pre-bookable guided tours are also available and offer the chance to learn more about the often harrowing pasts of the primates and how their lives have been transformed since arriving at the safe haven of Monkey World. The park is well laid out and spacious for both humans and primates alike. While away the hours watching the monkeys and apes interact, then let the kids use up all their energy in the huge Great Ape Adventure Play Area. Café’s serve good value hot and cold food or there are numerous picnic areas to be enjoyed on sunny days.
Dive in to a magical underwater journey and discover 1000’s of amazing creatures above and below the waves at Bournemouth Oceanarium. Submerge yourself in our newly re-themed underwater tunnel, home to stunning sharks, Carrie the loggerhead turtle and many more. Get up close to a cunning croc, mischievous otter family, mesmerizing jellyfish, colourful clownfish and not forgetting our playful colony of Humboldt penguins! New for 2019 Shark Wreck Reef! The newly refurbished walk through tunnel display which incorporates a shipwreck theme surrounded by stunning coral, encompasses an impressive 350 thousand litres of salt water! Visitors can get up close to over 75 creatures, including a variety of shark species, southern stingrays, moray eels and a giant turtle. Don’t miss: - Daily talks and feeds - School holiday activities - Kids’ quiz trail - 11 themed zones
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Oceanarium
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Dive in to a magical underwater journey and discover 1000’s of amazing creatures above and below the waves at Bournemouth Oceanarium. Submerge yourself in our newly re-themed underwater tunnel, home to stunning sharks, Carrie the loggerhead turtle and many more. Get up close to a cunning croc, mischievous otter family, mesmerizing jellyfish, colourful clownfish and not forgetting our playful colony of Humboldt penguins! New for 2019 Shark Wreck Reef! The newly refurbished walk through tunnel display which incorporates a shipwreck theme surrounded by stunning coral, encompasses an impressive 350 thousand litres of salt water! Visitors can get up close to over 75 creatures, including a variety of shark species, southern stingrays, moray eels and a giant turtle. Don’t miss: - Daily talks and feeds - School holiday activities - Kids’ quiz trail - 11 themed zones
The Tank Museum brings history to life, with the world’s best collection of tanks and explosive live displays. Our exhibitions tell the story of armoured warfare spanning over 100 years of history. Exploring ten powerful exhibitions, you will come face to face with almost 300 armoured vehicles. This unique collection includes the world’s first ever tank, the feared German Tiger and the modern Challenger 2. There are special events going on throughout the year at The Tank Museum including TANKFEST, Tiger Day and the Vintage Christmas Festival and Craft Fayre, as well as special activity programmes during the School Holidays.
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The Tank Museum
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The Tank Museum brings history to life, with the world’s best collection of tanks and explosive live displays. Our exhibitions tell the story of armoured warfare spanning over 100 years of history. Exploring ten powerful exhibitions, you will come face to face with almost 300 armoured vehicles. This unique collection includes the world’s first ever tank, the feared German Tiger and the modern Challenger 2. There are special events going on throughout the year at The Tank Museum including TANKFEST, Tiger Day and the Vintage Christmas Festival and Craft Fayre, as well as special activity programmes during the School Holidays.
Paultons Park is the UK’s number one family theme park with over 70 exciting rides and attractions to enjoy. Paultons is home to the UK exclusive and world’s first Peppa Pig World with 9 fun Peppa-themed rides, a large indoor Playzone and even Muddy Puddles to jump and play in! Lost Kingdom is our unique Jurassic land that is home to the mighty Flight of the Pterosaur suspended rollercoaster, the thrilling Velociraptor coaster, lifelike moving Dinosaurs and much more! There is an amazing variety of things to see and do at Paultons including; big rides, small rides, play areas, entertainments and an astonishing collection of animals and birds, all set within 140 acres of beautiful parkland on the edge of the New Forest National Park.
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Paultons Park Home of Peppa Pig World
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Paultons Park is the UK’s number one family theme park with over 70 exciting rides and attractions to enjoy. Paultons is home to the UK exclusive and world’s first Peppa Pig World with 9 fun Peppa-themed rides, a large indoor Playzone and even Muddy Puddles to jump and play in! Lost Kingdom is our unique Jurassic land that is home to the mighty Flight of the Pterosaur suspended rollercoaster, the thrilling Velociraptor coaster, lifelike moving Dinosaurs and much more! There is an amazing variety of things to see and do at Paultons including; big rides, small rides, play areas, entertainments and an astonishing collection of animals and birds, all set within 140 acres of beautiful parkland on the edge of the New Forest National Park.
In the heart of the glorious New Forest, Beaulieu is one of the South's top visitor attractions. Here you will find the National Motor Museum, home to over 250 vehicles telling the history of motoring. You can also visit Palace House and Gardens, home of the Montagu family since 1538, the remains of Beaulieu Abbey and World of Top Gear where you can see some of the vehicles from Jeremy, James and Richard's most ambitious challenges. Ride on the high level Monorail or climb aboard the replica 1912 open top London bus for a fun way to see Beaulieu's sights.
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National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
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In the heart of the glorious New Forest, Beaulieu is one of the South's top visitor attractions. Here you will find the National Motor Museum, home to over 250 vehicles telling the history of motoring. You can also visit Palace House and Gardens, home of the Montagu family since 1538, the remains of Beaulieu Abbey and World of Top Gear where you can see some of the vehicles from Jeremy, James and Richard's most ambitious challenges. Ride on the high level Monorail or climb aboard the replica 1912 open top London bus for a fun way to see Beaulieu's sights.
Nestled in beautiful countryside, this modern museum traces the history of the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals and the story of battlefield communications from the telegraph to cyber warfare and satellites! Learn about this fascinating subject through excellent interactive displays: guide a laser beam, "direction find" the enemy, set up satellite networks, learn about encryption, practice Morse code and more! Adults must bring photo ID as we are located in a military camp. Open 10-5 weekdays and 10-4 at weekends. Adults please take Photo ID.
Royal Signals Museum
Nestled in beautiful countryside, this modern museum traces the history of the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals and the story of battlefield communications from the telegraph to cyber warfare and satellites! Learn about this fascinating subject through excellent interactive displays: guide a laser beam, "direction find" the enemy, set up satellite networks, learn about encryption, practice Morse code and more! Adults must bring photo ID as we are located in a military camp. Open 10-5 weekdays and 10-4 at weekends. Adults please take Photo ID.
Open from Sat 19th Jan in 2019. Family run visitor attraction near Poole in Dorset, the Palmer's have designed everything for children 8 years and under! Opened in 1998 the attention to detail and happy, friendly staff make all the difference to delivering great customer service.
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Farmer Palmer's Farm Park
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Open from Sat 19th Jan in 2019. Family run visitor attraction near Poole in Dorset, the Palmer's have designed everything for children 8 years and under! Opened in 1998 the attention to detail and happy, friendly staff make all the difference to delivering great customer service.
Sightseeing
Brownsea Island lies in Poole Harbour opposite the town of Poole in Dorset, England. It is the largest of eight islands in the harbour. The island can be reached by one of the public ferries or by private boat. There is a wharf and a small dock near the main castle. The island is 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) long and 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km) wide and consists of 500 acres (200 ha) of woodland (pine and oak), heathland and salt-marsh.[2] The entire island, except the church and a few other buildings which are leased or managed by third parties, is owned by the National Trust. Most of the buildings are situated near the small landing stage. The northern portion of the island is a Nature Reserve managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust and an important habitat for birds; this part of the island has limited public access. A small portion to the southeast of the island, along with Brownsea Castle, is leased to the John Lewis Partnership for use as a holiday hotel for staff, and is not open to the public.
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Brownsea Island
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Brownsea Island lies in Poole Harbour opposite the town of Poole in Dorset, England. It is the largest of eight islands in the harbour. The island can be reached by one of the public ferries or by private boat. There is a wharf and a small dock near the main castle. The island is 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) long and 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km) wide and consists of 500 acres (200 ha) of woodland (pine and oak), heathland and salt-marsh.[2] The entire island, except the church and a few other buildings which are leased or managed by third parties, is owned by the National Trust. Most of the buildings are situated near the small landing stage. The northern portion of the island is a Nature Reserve managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust and an important habitat for birds; this part of the island has limited public access. A small portion to the southeast of the island, along with Brownsea Castle, is leased to the John Lewis Partnership for use as a holiday hotel for staff, and is not open to the public.
A favourite haunt for adults and children alike, you can't fail to be captivated by the romantic Corfe Castle ruins with breathtaking views across Purbeck. Discover 1000 years of Corfe Castle's history as a royal palace and fortress. With fallen walls and secret places, there are tales of treachery and treason around every corner. Spot the 'murder holes' and count the arrow loops. Feel history come to life and see the wildlife which has set up home in these fascinating castle ruins. Corfe Castle has a National Trust shop, 18th century tea rooms with garden and visitor centre which is open daily from 10:00am. School group tours are available - contact corfecastlelearning@nationaltrust.org.uk
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Corfe Castle
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A favourite haunt for adults and children alike, you can't fail to be captivated by the romantic Corfe Castle ruins with breathtaking views across Purbeck. Discover 1000 years of Corfe Castle's history as a royal palace and fortress. With fallen walls and secret places, there are tales of treachery and treason around every corner. Spot the 'murder holes' and count the arrow loops. Feel history come to life and see the wildlife which has set up home in these fascinating castle ruins. Corfe Castle has a National Trust shop, 18th century tea rooms with garden and visitor centre which is open daily from 10:00am. School group tours are available - contact corfecastlelearning@nationaltrust.org.uk
Step back in time and discover the charm and natural beauty of this unique destination. The New Forest became a national park in 2005 and was once a royal hunting ground for William the Conqueror.It covers an area of 566 square kilometres and is made up of vast tracts of unspoilt woodland, heathland and river valleys. Today deer, ponies and cattle continue to roam free in its ancient heaths and woodland. Clear rivers and shady groves provide tranquillity and a car-free haven for walking, cycling and horse riding. There are plenty of opportunities to hire a bike if you're coming from afar. Take a stroll around the quaint traditional villages of Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Burley and Lyndhurst, explore the dusty antique shops or enjoy a pint of locally brewed cider or beer in one of our many friendly pubs.
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New Forest-þjóðgarðurinn
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Step back in time and discover the charm and natural beauty of this unique destination. The New Forest became a national park in 2005 and was once a royal hunting ground for William the Conqueror.It covers an area of 566 square kilometres and is made up of vast tracts of unspoilt woodland, heathland and river valleys. Today deer, ponies and cattle continue to roam free in its ancient heaths and woodland. Clear rivers and shady groves provide tranquillity and a car-free haven for walking, cycling and horse riding. There are plenty of opportunities to hire a bike if you're coming from afar. Take a stroll around the quaint traditional villages of Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Burley and Lyndhurst, explore the dusty antique shops or enjoy a pint of locally brewed cider or beer in one of our many friendly pubs.
Compton Acres is one of the finest privately owned gardens in the South of England. Having undergone extensive refurbishment in the past 10 years Compton Acres is now highly regarded as one of the most important historic gardens in the UK. Comprising a series of classical themed gardens, each providing an attractive and unique variety of ornamental plants from around the world, cared for by a team of professional gardeners. The gardens are laid out on a circular route, like clusters of jewels on a sparkling necklace, allowing the visitor to discover each garden in turn. Highlights include the Grand Italian Garden, a Rock and Water Garden, a Heather Garden and an authentic Japanese Garden which was designed and built by a Japanese architect with many ornaments imported from Japan. There is surprise, beauty and interest at every turn at Compton Acres.
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Compton Acres
164 Canford Cliffs Rd
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Compton Acres is one of the finest privately owned gardens in the South of England. Having undergone extensive refurbishment in the past 10 years Compton Acres is now highly regarded as one of the most important historic gardens in the UK. Comprising a series of classical themed gardens, each providing an attractive and unique variety of ornamental plants from around the world, cared for by a team of professional gardeners. The gardens are laid out on a circular route, like clusters of jewels on a sparkling necklace, allowing the visitor to discover each garden in turn. Highlights include the Grand Italian Garden, a Rock and Water Garden, a Heather Garden and an authentic Japanese Garden which was designed and built by a Japanese architect with many ornaments imported from Japan. There is surprise, beauty and interest at every turn at Compton Acres.
Exbury's beautiful woodland gardens cover 200 acres and is a jewel in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Primroses, daffodils, camellias and magnolias ensure early spring colour before bluebells, rhododendrons and azaleas burst into bloom. The spectacle of the Azalea Bowl is not to be missed in May. The summer months bring shady riverside walks and perfect picnic spots next to ponds with carp and dragonflies. Hydrangeas are at their peak and showpiece exotics heat up the Herbaceous Borders and Sundial Garden. Autumn arrives in a blaze of colour with waterside maples, sweet gums, dogwoods and acers. Exbury also has a 12¼ inch gauge Steam Railway which delights visitors of all ages and the 20 minute journey passes by the fabulous Rock and Summer Lane Gardens. Children will love the play area, discovery trails, scavenger hunts, bug hunting and special events that run throughout the year. The Tea Room offers a delicious hot and cold seasonal menu, afternoon tea and more.
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Exbury Gardens
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Exbury's beautiful woodland gardens cover 200 acres and is a jewel in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Primroses, daffodils, camellias and magnolias ensure early spring colour before bluebells, rhododendrons and azaleas burst into bloom. The spectacle of the Azalea Bowl is not to be missed in May. The summer months bring shady riverside walks and perfect picnic spots next to ponds with carp and dragonflies. Hydrangeas are at their peak and showpiece exotics heat up the Herbaceous Borders and Sundial Garden. Autumn arrives in a blaze of colour with waterside maples, sweet gums, dogwoods and acers. Exbury also has a 12¼ inch gauge Steam Railway which delights visitors of all ages and the 20 minute journey passes by the fabulous Rock and Summer Lane Gardens. Children will love the play area, discovery trails, scavenger hunts, bug hunting and special events that run throughout the year. The Tea Room offers a delicious hot and cold seasonal menu, afternoon tea and more.
120 acres of open Parkland, shoreline, woodlands and formal gardens. Tea Rooms, Woodland PlayTrail, Splash Fountain, Plant Centre and year round events. Beautiful grade II* listed Georgian style Upton House is also available for weddings and private hire.
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Upton Country Park
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120 acres of open Parkland, shoreline, woodlands and formal gardens. Tea Rooms, Woodland PlayTrail, Splash Fountain, Plant Centre and year round events. Beautiful grade II* listed Georgian style Upton House is also available for weddings and private hire.
Poole Quay is very much the nerve centre of the town of Poole, both historically and still so today. This is the main bus stop to jump off at for all the boating services available on the bus and boat combination ticket. The quay has a very long history. Britain used to trade with the Roman Empire before the Romans arrived on these shores in AD 43, and this was one of the main ports used for this trade. The southern side of the quay is still dedicated to trade and it is a lively port where you can often see coastal freighters being loaded and unloaded. The luxury yacht builder Sunseeker, also has a big presence, and you can see lots of very expensive motor yachts as they near completion or as they conduct their sea trials.
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Poole Quay
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Poole Quay is very much the nerve centre of the town of Poole, both historically and still so today. This is the main bus stop to jump off at for all the boating services available on the bus and boat combination ticket. The quay has a very long history. Britain used to trade with the Roman Empire before the Romans arrived on these shores in AD 43, and this was one of the main ports used for this trade. The southern side of the quay is still dedicated to trade and it is a lively port where you can often see coastal freighters being loaded and unloaded. The luxury yacht builder Sunseeker, also has a big presence, and you can see lots of very expensive motor yachts as they near completion or as they conduct their sea trials.
Kingston Lacy is an elegant 17th century Italian inspired country mansion set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland. Step inside the residence of the powerful and flamboyant Bankes family who owned vast swathes of Dorset for over 400 years. From fighting the forces of Oliver Cromwell, to gathering one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts, the Bankes have an intriguing past. You’ll encounter many points of interest as you tour this fine house; witness paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel and explore the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK, all mementoes from William John Bankes’ incredible travels through Egypt in 1818. Discover the Spanish Room with its gilded leather and gilded ceiling brought from the Contarini Palace in Venice and don’t miss the interactive digital tour of Kingston Lacy in the Egyptian Room where you can take control of the camera to delve into all the nooks and crannies of the house.
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National Trust - Kingston Lacy House
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Kingston Lacy is an elegant 17th century Italian inspired country mansion set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland. Step inside the residence of the powerful and flamboyant Bankes family who owned vast swathes of Dorset for over 400 years. From fighting the forces of Oliver Cromwell, to gathering one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts, the Bankes have an intriguing past. You’ll encounter many points of interest as you tour this fine house; witness paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel and explore the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK, all mementoes from William John Bankes’ incredible travels through Egypt in 1818. Discover the Spanish Room with its gilded leather and gilded ceiling brought from the Contarini Palace in Venice and don’t miss the interactive digital tour of Kingston Lacy in the Egyptian Room where you can take control of the camera to delve into all the nooks and crannies of the house.
Durdle Door is one of Dorset’s most photographed and iconic landmarks and there are many ways to see the incredible natural rock arch. You can access the pebble and shingle beach on foot via the path and steps which will give you the best views of Durdle Door. If this is too long a walk, you can walk halfway down the steps, slightly turn left for an incredible view of Lulworth Cove. Durdle Door is just a 45 minute drive away from our Bournemouth let and we recommend visiting between September and May when the beach and roads will be quieter.
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Durdle Door
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Durdle Door is one of Dorset’s most photographed and iconic landmarks and there are many ways to see the incredible natural rock arch. You can access the pebble and shingle beach on foot via the path and steps which will give you the best views of Durdle Door. If this is too long a walk, you can walk halfway down the steps, slightly turn left for an incredible view of Lulworth Cove. Durdle Door is just a 45 minute drive away from our Bournemouth let and we recommend visiting between September and May when the beach and roads will be quieter.