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How to spend 48 hours in Dorset

You will be surprised how much you can pack into 48 hours in Dorset. Take some inspiration from our weekend guide.


Day one

After a restful night’s sleep and energy-rich breakfast, head straight to Mudeford Quay. Here you’ll see the hustle and bustle of the harbour in the morning as the fishing vessels return and the quay is filled with lobster pots and the early morning catch. Take a gentle stroll up into Christchurch where you’ll find plenty of time to take in the sights of the Priory and the ruins. Then get a coffee at Coast Coffee on the High Street.

Take in the beauty of Bournemouth

Take in the beauty of Bournemouth

Once refreshed, head over to Bournemouth and either sample its shopping district or walk along the nine-mile promenade to the collection of cafes and restaurants. If you fancy speeding this up bicycles can be hired during spring and summer, but the beach is bike and dog free throughout the summer. A spot of lunch at Branksome Beach with its unrestricted beachside views and large top floor veranda is perfect for the warm sunny day.

For the afternoon, jump on board a harbour tour ferry to Brownsea Island and relax in the south coast sunshine. Dock at the island and take a relaxing stroll around the beaches or enjoy a drink in the cafe within the castle grounds. As the ferry returns to the quay pick one of the many fish and chip stalls on the front for dinner, or stroll round the rear of the quay to find local restaurants such as The Stable or fish restaurant Storm on the High Street.

A spot of lunch at Branksome Beach with its unrestricted beachside views and large top floor veranda is perfect for the warm sunny day

Day two

Arriving at Norden Park, board the delightful steam train to Swanage, viewing the stunning Corfe Castle on your way. After the 20-minute journey take a stroll round the seaside resort of Swanage and whilst you are there grab yourself an ice cream from the kiosks on the beach.

After returning on the train, take a detour and travel along the Lulworth ranges where you can see the impressive Lulworth Castle, Poole Harbour, Kimmeridge Bay and the lost village of Tyneham in the distance from the road. Travel to central Dorset to Cerne Abbas to see its giant set in chalk on the hillside. It is best seen from the viewpoint car park but you can walk right up the hill if you prefer. Try lunch at the fabulous New Inn, which is a perfect way to refuel for the remainder of the day.

Step back in time and take a trip on the steam train to Corfe Castle

Step back in time and take a trip on the steam train to Corfe Castle

Travelling west you will find Maiden Castle on the outskirts of Dorchester, which is easily seen from the road. Heading on to Bridport you can either see this cultural town with its quirky shops, vintage quarter and cafes or head to its coastal neighbour West Bay. Fans of Harbour Lights or Broadchurch will recognise locations and buildings from the television series, but sadly there will be no David Tennant.

Wind up your day of travelling with a tour of Furleigh Estate vineyard, sampling their sparkling wines overlooking the lush crops ready to decide which one of the fantastic restaurants to spend your evening in. A good bet will be Brassica in nearby Beaminster, where the food is fantastic.

Read more about Dorset

Image credits: ©Helen Hotson/Ian Woolcock/stock.adobe.com; Shutterstock.com

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