Dorset Travel Tips
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Towards the end of August they have a fireworks spectacular off the pier. Its well worth staying there through it as, from the east cliff, the show was really very good. The kids loved the illuminations too - they go on all month i think - Nick
Bridport has excellent markets which are worth a detour, a great variety of stalls and a very pretty town but beware, parking can be tricky - Alan
Charmouth Monday market is a lovely morning out. THIS year though they have changed the layout and parking and it is most certainly not an improvement. All the cars on one side and the traders obviously blocking access with their tents. Go back to previous years layout please. - williams
Dorchester is a lovely town at the heart of West Dorset or 'Hardy Country' and is believed to be the model for Casterbridge in Thomas Hardys novel. It has a largely unspoilt main street and predominantly Georgian architecture. Perfect for a leisurely weekendb reak.
Among the many good reasons to visit Highcliffe are the award winning beaches with superb views. There are also 16 nature reserves for the nature lover as well as a number of other wildlife sites in the area. Highcliffe has been a regular winner of 'Village in Bloom' awards. The area also boasts some the best climactic conditions in the UK. Highcliffe Castle was built between 1831 and 1835 and is a Grade I listed building built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay. The Castle was built on the site previously occupied by a Georgian mansion High Cliff, with grounds laid out by Capability Brown. Only the two entrance lodges, presently being used as a restaurant and some of the garden walls remain of the original High Cliff mansion. Today, Highcliffe Castle provides a magnificent setting for a wedding day and also houses exhibitions and conferences. You can eat and stay at the Sea Corner Guest House, the recently refurbished restaurant offers Italian and a variety of other cuisines. Other pubs to visit include the Globe Inn, The Hinton Oak and Napoleons.
Sandbanks is located at the entrance to Poole Harbour and is four miles from Poole town centre. Originally a shanty town composed of disused railway carriages and the like, it became a millionaire's playground in the latter half of the 20th century. It is formed from an expanse of sand dunes from which it takes its name. The sandy peninsula is connected to the mainland by the Isthmian Road and its sandy beach, which stretches for seven miles right through to Bournemouth. The beach is family friendly and offers a number of facilities and attractions including a safe swimming zone, crazy golf and children's amusements. Also on offer are Surfing/Bodyboarding, Sailing, Canoeing, Windsurfing and even a Wildlife Reserve! There are some old coastguard cottages worth a look on the tip of Sandbanks. Sandbanks is home to the Royal Motor Yacht Club, one of the leading powerboat clubs in the world, with the Duke of Edinburgh as its Admiral. The area offers some beautiful coastal walks and when you have worked up a thirst you can visit the Sandacres Free House. If you need a place to stay, you can try The Sandbanks Hotel, a four star, 110 bedroom hotel occupying a dramatic location overlooking Poole Harbour.
Getting to Swanage from Poole by road takes a while as the A351 road goes around the Purbeck peninsula. A quick route is via the ferry, which operates from Sandbanks in Poole to Shell Beach at Studland, which is only 2 1/2 miles from Swanage. The ferry runs frequently throughout the day and evening and costs around £3.50 each way and cuts down journey time considerably. During easter and summer holidays, long queues are to be expected in both directions. - Denise
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