Click here for the best places to stay in Dorset

Far enough away from London to feel properly rural yet near enough to be fairly easily accessible from the capital, Dorset has some lovely places to stay if you know where to look. We know exactly where the best places to stay in Dorset are hidden so read on if you are considering a visit to this lush pastoral county, where Thomas Hardy set most of his novels (though he called it Wessex).

Getting to Dorset

There are no motorways in Dorset but there is an airport at Bournemouth and the county is served by two mainline railways. The lovely countryside is criss-crossed with sunken lanes, dotted with gentle hills and unspoilt villages.

Coastal Crackers

The incredible coastline has a bevvy of beaches which will be irresistible to walkers, runners and sitters alike. Dorset’s coastline is rich both in fossils and iconic coastal locations. Three quarters of the coast is a World Heritage Site and inland over half the county is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Many of our best places to stay in Dorset are within this area.

Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and the impressive Durdle Door are all well worth a visit. You might want to pack a copy of Ian McEwan’s short elegant novel On Chesil Beach to read during your stay.

Go See

If you plan to do more than eat, drink, sleep, relax and enjoy your surroundings, the Roman Town House in Dorchester is one of the Dorset sites that is well worth a visit. The only example of a fully exposed Roman Townhouse in the UK, it is free to visit and open all the year round.

Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park also in Dorchester will appeal to younger children who can run around the gardens and meet all kinds of animals.

And close by in next door Somerset is the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Illchester. As much an attraction as a museum, it has exhibits of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft as well as the first British-built Concorde and lots of interactive exhibits. There is a mini Marines assault course outside making the museum a truly all-weather, all-ages destination for families.

Our Pick of the Best Places to Stay in Dorset

  • Summer Lodge Hotel is south of Glastonbury, a place forever associated in the minds of everyone under 60 with grubby but happy campers. This hotel is the antithesis of that grungy pop festival vibe. Smart and luxurious it is a riot of fabrics and plushness in the public rooms and grand comfort in the spacious bedrooms. A super-comfortable hotel with a cream tea laid on every afternoon.
  • Tudor Cottage is a pretty thatched cottage just outside Dorchester. The property oozes character and artwork adorns the walls. Book ahead and enjoy one of Louise's relaxed dinners - as an ex professional cook she provides delicious homecooking.
  • The nearby Bridge House Hotel in Beaminster, run by London escapees, blends traditional bedrooms with more modern though still country style public areas. Lovely light dining room and friendly efficient service in a building with real character. Low ceilings, big fireplaces and comfy sofas ensure cosy relaxation.
  • On the Weymouth seafront, B & B Weymouth is part of a chain of concept B & Bs which offer superb value for money. Pale, minimalist and clean with no frills, metaphorical or otherwise, it has an open plan kitchen/breakfast room which serves cheery no-nonsense breakfasts.
  • The Castleman Hotel, near Blandford Forum, an ex dower house which is now a restaurant with rooms has beautiful gardens so guests can start enjoying the truly great outdoors of Dorset the moment they step out of the hotel. The bedrooms are big and the food is good, served in a long functional dining room.
  • Further west at Sturminster Newton, Plumber Manor is a Jacobean house which has been owned by the same family since it was built. This extremely homely and welcoming hotel is run by three members of that family who look after guests like friends, helped by a few laconic labrodors.

Browse through our full list of the best places to stay in Dorset and start to plan your stay. Please feel free to call or email a friendly guru for advice Contact

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The best hotels in Dorset

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  • B+B Weymouth

    Weymouth, Dorset

    Smart B&B - part of a new b+b concept chain - offering modern design on Weymouth's seafront, opposite the beach, for an affordable price. Convenient and central base.

    23 rooms from $113
    Exclusive offer  -  Exclusive HG Offer
    Views  -  From some rooms facing the beach
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    On the beach  -  In front of the hotel.
  • Tudor Cottage

    Frampton, Dorset

    Thatched tudor cottage turned B&B just outside Dorchester. Period features and walls crammed with art. Only two bedrooms ensure an intimate atmosphere. Great bolthole for exploring the Jurassic coast and surrounding area.

    2 rooms from $137
    Sights nearby  -  Explore Dorchester, Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast
    Four poster beds  -  One room has an antique four poster
    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 12
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Stapleton Arms

    Buckhorn Weston, Dorset

    A reinvention of the English country pub, boutique style. Original highlights - wooden beams, inglenook fireplaces - retained, with addition of stylish, freshly designed rooms.

    4 rooms from $145
    Restaurant  -  Excellent Sunday roast and breakfasts
    Great walks  -  Maps, wellies and picnics can all be provided.
    Lively  -  Buzzy in the evenings and at weekends
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Sawdays
  • Castleman Hotel

    Blandford Forum, Dorset

    Charming and eccentric restaurant with rooms, bags of character, in a Queen Ann manor house. Good value, simple rooms, old fashioned, in great countryside.

    8 rooms from $145
    Exclusive offer
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Wooden Cabbage

    near Dorchester, Dorset

    Superb private country house b&b wonderfully situated amidst fields, for total relaxation, walking & good food. Secluded with great views, surrounded by lovely countryside.

    3 rooms from $161
    Views  -  Beautiful valley views from the garden and terrace
    Great walks  -  Itineraries planned by Lee, one of the hosts
    Cooking classes  -  At neighbouring Abbotts Hill Farm
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Arty B+B by the Sea

    Lyme Regis, Dorset

    Quirky and stylish artists house and studio - Georgian villa with sloping lawn and seaviews in charming seaside town. Five minute walk to the beach, and right in the middle of town.

    2 rooms from $161
    Sights nearby  -  In the middle of the Jurassic Coast
    Fishing  -  Sea fishing can be arranged
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
  • Grosvenor Arms

    Shaftesbury, Dorset

    After a makeover, this former Georgian inn in the middle of Hardy country oozes casual elegance. Retire to stylish rooms upstairs after dinner in the first-rate revamped restaurant. Great service and classy accommodation without the high price tag.

    16 rooms from $161
    Sights nearby  -  Walking distance to all Shaftesbury's sights
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
  • Museum Inn

    Blandford Forum, Dorset

    Award-winning thatched country pub in picture postcard village in rural north Dorset, with great food (game a speciality), and cosy, stylish rooms.

    8 rooms from $177
    Restaurant  -  Award winning restaurant specialising in game
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Full of character
  • The Pig On The Beach

    South Dorset

    Chic, cosy hotel for a weekend break in Dorset. 23 rooms are ultimate shabby chic with four-posters, wooden floors, stand alone bath tubs. Gourmet restaurant uses produce fresh from the kitchen garden. Miles of English coastline to explore and stunning views. The perfect getaway.

    from $192
    Exclusive offer  -  Complimentary Upgrade
    Restaurant  -  James Golding prepares delicious food from the kitchen garden
    Full of character  -  Shabby chic rooms with vintage touches
    Garden  -  Kitchen garden, terrace and huge lawn
    On the beach  -  Four miles of unspoilt beaches
  • BridgeHouse Hotel

    Beaminster, Dorset

    Renovated country town hotel, with great food, for romantic weekending. Stylish mix of contemporary and traditional, in an excellent town for antiquing surrounded by great countryside.

    13 rooms from $203
    Exclusive offer  -  Free Night Offer
    Sights nearby  -  The Jurassic Coast on its doorstep
    Local markets  -  Local antiqueing and markets
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Good Hotel Guide
  • The Green House

    Bournemouth, Dorset

    Designer eco hotel a few hundred yards from the beach, with fine dining - great for business stays or small conferences.

    32 rooms from $208
    Eco  -  Everything about this place is green from the beds to the wallpaper to the cooking oil that fuels the car!
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Restrictions on children
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Plumber Manor Hotel

    Sturminster Newton, Dorset

    Characterful Jacobean manor house hotel in glorious Thomas Hardy country, in the same family for centuries, with portraits to match. An air of faded grandeur. The real deal.

    16 rooms from $242
    Restaurant  -  Award winning restaurant, popular with locals
    Garden  -  20 acre grounds
    Owner managed  -  Since 1660!
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays, Signpost
  • Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa

    Christchurch, Dorset

    Style and exceptional service on the Dorset coast. The newly refurbished Christchurch Harbour Hotel offers smart bedrooms, excellent food, pampering spa and wonderful views. Perfect for an indulgent break by the sea.

    64 rooms from $258
    Kayaking  -  Complimentary single and double kayaks available for the guests to use.
    Great walks  -  Plenty of coastal walks for all abilities
    Views  -  Superb views over Christchurch harbour
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
  • Alexandra Hotel

    Lyme Regis, Dorset

    Panoramic views over the ocean and the harbour from this cliff top boutique hotel. Luxurious bedrooms with private balconies, gourmet restaurant and sea-facing terrace, and an excellent spa too. Great for a weekend away, think lobster and sea breeze.

    21 rooms from $239
    Views  -  Fabulous views over Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Diving  -  Good diving nearby.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Johansens, Sawdays
  • Priory Hotel

    Wareham, Dorset

    A slice of old England served with China tea, a peaceful and romantic hotel in lovely Wareham on the edge of the Isle of Purbeck. Plenty of great excursions for adults and older kids.

    18 rooms from $330
    Garden  -  Idyllic garden leading down to the River Frome
    Sights nearby  -  Corfe Castle a few miles away
    Restrictions on children  -  Not under 14
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Good Hotel Guide, Johansens, Sawdays
  • Captain's Club Hotel & Spa

    Christchurch (East Dorset)

    A modern seaside hotel on the banks of the River Stour in Christchurch. Self-catering rooms and suites have fully equipped kitchens, modern furnishings, and balconies with views. Top of the range spa and therapies, terraces, good restaurant, and plenty of local activities. Very family oriented.

    17 rooms from $369
    Riverside  -  Perfectly set on the banks of the River Stour.
    Sights nearby  -  Poole Harbour, one of the world's largest natural harbours, is 15km away.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Sawdays
  • Summer Lodge

    Evershot, Dorset

    Hardyesque country house hotel that pulls the stops out, with spa, pool, gourmet cooking and luxurious rooms. Multiple fabrics and plush furnishings, not for minimalists.

    20 rooms from $371
    Exclusive offer  -  Stay 3 nights pay for 2
    Child friendly  -  Child menus and plenty of things to do including outdoor activities, plus wii and playstations with games!
    Good wine list  -  Top class sommelier
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Great walks  -  Borrow wellies for strolls round the local lanes
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