All our Dorset Collections:
It's Dorset's seaside that many people are here for, both the wildly fascinating Jurassic Coast and the pretty seaside towns with their piers and arcades. And many of the best places to stay in Dorset are along the coastline.
Criss-crossed with sunken lanes, dotted with gentle hills and unspoilt villages, Dorset has so far escaped the brutality - yet convenience - of a motorway. So the landscape of Thomas Hardy's novels has retained much of its lush, pastoral look.
Dorset is far enough from London to feel properly rural, and the incredible coastline has a bevy of beaches which will be irresistible to walkers, runners and sitters alike. Rich both in fossils and iconic coastal locations, three quarters of Dorset's coast is a World Heritage Site, and over half the county is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and the impressive 150 million year old Portland stone arch, 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.
If you plan to do more than eat, drink, sleep, relax and enjoy your surroundings, then you can stick to the Jurassic Coast and hike, sail, kayak, swim or fossil hunt to your heart's content.
Inland you'll find the iron age forts, stately homes and pretty pastoral villages of Hardy. The Dorset County Museum has the world's largest collection of Hardy artefacts if you're interested in the great man. Dorset is also home to Clouds Hill, the home of T.E. Lawrence, which is much as he left it, when he was tragically killed at 46, in a motorbike accident just down the road.
The Roman Town House in Dorchester sits atop many sightseeing lists. The only example of a fully exposed Roman town house in the UK, it is free to visit and open all the year round. Other highlights are Corfe Castle, Sherborne Old Castle, once home to Sir Walter Raleigh, and Kingston Lacy, the stately home which housed the Bankes family after the Roundheads turfed them out of Corfe Castle.
The coastal stretch is hugely popular during the summer months and school holidays, so if you want to guarantee a bed in one of the best places to stay in Dorset, you'll have to get organised and plan ahead. Alternatively visit the county off season when you can truly appreciate the stunning countryside without the crowds. For those looking for self catering check out our online partner, booking.com.
Still not sure which to book? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in Dorset, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Alternatively widen your search and take a look at our recommendations in Devon and Cornwall.
A delightful B&B located in the quaint village of Buckland. Decorated in calming magnolias and blues. Comfy beds and immaculate bathrooms. Enjoy a full English breakfast in the smart dining room: a combined effort between Tia and the local farmer's market. Children of all ages are welcome.
Smart B&B - part of a new b+b concept chain - offering modern design on Weymouth's seafront. Simple light and airy rooms with crisp white linen. Comfortable beds with duck down pillows and duvets. Serves delicious Dorset breakfasts. Affordable price in a convenient and central location.
An 18th century coaching inn, yet full of fun from within. Rooms are decorated with individual touches like ornate mirrors, brass beds to antique dressers complete with floral Cole & Son wallpapers. There are two restaurants, with an emphasis on locally sourced seafood and the popular Venner bar.
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.
Attractive boutique hotel in Bournemouth just five minutes from the beach and not far from the New Forest. Contemporary chic rooms have paintings, luscious fabrics, and all the mod cons. A lively bar and bistro is a focal point. Family friendly, stylish, and surrounded by easily found attractions.
The Acorn Inn oozes historic charm. Built in the 16th century from local honey coloured stone, the decor maintains much of the original features; exposed beams, oak panelling and flagstone floors are in abundance. Award winning food in the restaurant. A stylish base for exploring Hardy country.
Blandford Forum, Dorset
Stunning country house in beautiful parkland. Excellent restaurant priding itself on using local produce. Traditional interiors with dark woods, warm coloured walls and chintz fabrics. A handful of rooms some featuring roll top baths and antique four poster beds. The ideal country escape.
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.
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.
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. The gourmet pub food has gained a reputation for Sunday Roasts, inspired menus and a breakfast fit for a king.
Blandford Forum, Dorset
An award-winning country pub located in a picture-postcard village in rural north Dorset. Eight individually designed rooms either in the main house or converted stables feature plush decor with Bramley bathroom accessories. Lovely residents' sitting room with fireplace and honesty bar.
near Dorchester, Dorset
Superb private country house with stunning views. Cosy and stylish decor with oh so comfy beds. Enjoy the very local produce for breakfast whilst surrounded by lovely countryside. Ideally situated for walkers in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A charming spot for a country escape.
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.
This grand Georgian property provides a stylish stay. Inside it is a sympathetic blend of traditional architecture with modern furnishings. Rooms are decorated with velvet headboards, sumptuous armchairs and luxurious bathrooms. The gourmet restaurant has a seasonal delicious locally sourced menu.
Renovated country town hotel. Cosy atmosphere with wooden beams and open fireplaces. Traditional and romantic rooms with dark hues and four poster beds. Award winning restaurant and some of the most picturesque countryside in the UK. Ideal for a country weekend away.
Sturminster Newton, Dorset
Characterful, family-run Jacobean manor house in glorious Thomas Hardy country. This quintessentially English manor has been in the same family for centuries, with portraits to match. An air of faded grandeur. The real deal.
Eco hotel a few hundred yards from the beach. Contemporary rooms with designer wallpaper and some with free standing baths. Award winning restaurant uses produce from the local area. Well placed for exploring Dorset and the New Forest..
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.
Lyme Regis, Dorset
Panoramic views over the ocean and the harbour from this cliff top boutique hotel. Luxurious bedrooms, gourmet restaurant and sea-facing terrace, and an excellent spa too. Great for a weekend away, think lobster and sea breeze.
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. Classically styled rooms and a beautiful garden. Plenty of great excursions for adults and older kids.
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.
A Hardy-esque country house turned hotel, surrounded by lovely gardens and spectacular countryside. Luxurious rooms boasts elaborate floral fabrics and plush furnishings. The gourmet restaurant is not to be missed, nor the extensive bar. A cosy countryside base, complete with pool, spa and tennis.