West Dorset Coast

What to do in Dorset

Information, ideas, places to visit and where to stay for visitors to the West Dorset Coast

West Dorset Coast

West Dorset is a hidden gem, loved by many who appreciate the spectacular unspoilt coastline and scenery, it is easily accessible from much of the UK.

Less than 3 hours from London and Birmingham (with a fair wind) the West Dorset Jurassic Coast is the ideal destination for short breaks and to spend a few days away from the stresses of daily life.

So what is so special about the area? Well firstly there is the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) stretching from Poole to Lyme Regis.

In addition to outstanding scenic qualities, the AONB retains a sense of tranquility and remoteness that is an integral part of these landscapes. It retains dark night skies and an undeveloped rural character including an exceptional undeveloped coastline, renowned for its spectacular scenery, geological and ecological interest and unique coastal features.

But it's not just the locals who appreciate this, as the coastline is also England's first Natural World Heritage Site known as the 'Jurassic Coast'. World Heritage status was achieved because the Jurassic Coast provides a unique insight into Earth Sciences. It shows a geological 'walk through time' spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. World Heritage Sites are places of 'outstanding universal value' selected by UNESCO, and the Dorset Coast is the only natural site in the UK and one of only 197 globally.

Whether you want to go walking, fossil hunting, or explore the pretty thatched villages tea rooms and pubs, there is plenty for everyone on the West Dorset Coast.

These pages are provided you help you enjoy the coastline, and the area within a few miles of the coast, providing information on where to stay, what to see, where to go, and where to eat. A wealth of additional information is available by following the links provided. So to get us started here are the first two.

Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Jurassic Coast

Cliffs at West Bay (Broadchurch)

Rock pools at Charmouth

Charmouth Sunset looking towards Lyme Regis

West Bay harbour

Make the most of your visit

Jurassic Coast Guides help you get the most from your visit to West Dorset

West Dorset is full of hidden gems. From fantastic coastal walks, to fossil hunting on the beaches, to visits to the filming locations for the TV series Broadchurch.

If you are here for just a few days why not use an expert guide to help you get the most from your visit and make sure you visit the best locations, see the best views and learn about why this area is so special and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, for example a coastal walk in the morning, and fossil hunting in the afternoon. These guided walks and tours are especially useful for overseas visitors and those who want to get the most from a few days on the Dorset coast.

Walks and tours can be tailored to suit all ages and abilities. They are led by a qualified, insured & experienced Coastal Leader.

For more information please see The Jurassic Coast Guides website


Fossil Walks

Join a group fossil hunt led by local experts who can help show you where to look, how to look, and what to look for.

Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

Lyme Regis Museum

Chris Pamplin