Despite the lack of big cities in Dorset, there are plenty of options for those wanting a retail fix. For hard-core shoppers on a day out, Bournemouth is for you. Just four miles from the town centre sits Castlepoint – the UK’s biggest shopping park, with a ton of chain stores, cafes and restaurants as well as couple of supermarkets. The town also boasts an array of vintage shops for those looking for something unique. Head to Christchurch Road in Pokesdown – named the Vintage Quarter – for a selection of retro bookshops, clothes shops and antique stores. Diamonds are a speciality of Westover Road in Bournemouth, if you’re looking for something super special.
Just a few miles away, Southbourne is the place to go to enjoy cafe culture at its best. Head along Southbourne Grove and soak up an eclectic mix of intriguing independent stores and visit busy delis and bistros. Heading towards Poole, Westbourne is an ‘urban village’ packed full of trendy independent stores, boutiques, bars and gift shops. It is also home to more than 50 eateries. The beautiful undercover Victorian arcade is worth a visit for its individual shops, homewares and fashion stores.
The charismatic, historic heart of Poole leads up to the water’s edge of Poole Quay. The majority of the high street chains are based inside the covered Dolphin Shopping Centre, which is Dorset’s largest indoor shopping centre, home to more than 110 stores. Lucy’s Farm in Swanage is decked out with quirky images of cows painted by Lucy – she also does pet portraits on commission, while the county town of Dorchester has a selection of independent shops and a load of historic charm. There are more than 400 shops and businesses in the lively town centre. Wander along cobble-stoned Antelope Walk to find gift stores, cafes, a very busy pasty shop and a vintage barber.
The beautiful North Dorset town of Sherborne is worth a visit to walk down its historic streets and browse quaint little stores. The rural towns of Blandford, Wimborne and Shaftsbury are also worth a visit, with a wealth of independent retailers. Wimbourne Market dates back to 1855, and sells bric-a-brac, clothing and fresh produce.
Pamphill, Wimborne BH21 4ED
Just a few minutes drive from Wimborne Minster in the idyllic Dorset hamlet of Pamphill, this famous farm shop offers the best in local produce and is complemented by a fascinating variety of specialists offering personal and helpful old-fashioned service. With unique craft and design shops to explore from antiques, gifts and interiors, picture framing, wellbeing and furniture restoration. Visit website
Rawston Farm Butchery & Shop
Rawston Farm House, Tarrant Rawston, Blandford Forum DT11 8SF
The Rawston Farm Butchery & Shop is located on the Cossins’ family farm in Tarrant Rawston, it is open to the public Monday to Friday, 9am to 2pm and also supplies seven local independent retailers. With over five generations of farming experience, the Cossins family proudly hand rear Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cows on their family farm in Tarrant Rawston. Along with locally-sourced pork and lamb, all the meat is expertly cut by hand, leaving only the best meat and fat for taste. Visit website
7 The Square, Wimborne BH21 1JA
Seasalt Cornwall create beautiful and practical clothing and homeware that reflects life by the sea. Seasalt do their best to ensure that all Seasalt products are made in modern and safe environments. They are increasing the amount of products they manufacture locally in the South West, Guernsey and across the UK, through the Locally Made project. Visit website
Avon Works, Bridge Street, Christchurch BH23 1DY
If you are after something vintage during your visit to Dorset, make a beeline for Molly’s Den in Bournemouth, a short distance from the centre in Francis Avenue. The shop is a vintage lover’s paradise, it is full of retro furniture, vintage clothing and records galore. Visit website
Dorchester Curiosity Centre
The Old Bus Depot, Grove Trading Estate, Dorchester DT1 1ST
Discover the emporium that is Dorchester Curiosity Centre at the Old Bus Depot on the Grove Trading Estate. You’ll find more than 100 traders here selling everything from hand-made furniture to refurbished shabby chic items and vintage collectables in the 12,000 square foot warehouse. It’s a regular haunt for antiques enthusiasts in the west and has a charming little cafe in the middle that is perfect for a refreshing cup of tea and cake.
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Dorset restaurants and cafes
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