By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
With its historic attractions, beautiful beaches and a wide choice of restaurants, Dorset is your perfect weekend destination.
Begin your first day with a trip 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.
Enjoy a hot drink at Coast Coffee on the High Street, then head over to Bournemouth for a spot of shopping, or walk along the promenade to check out the collection of cafés and restaurants on offer.
If you fancy speeding up the pace, bicycles can be hired during spring and summer, but the beach is bike and dog-free during the summer. Stop off along the promenade for a spot of lunch with beachside views – what could be better?
In the afternoon, jump on board a ferry tour to Brownsea Island and relax in the south coast sunshine. Dock at the island and take a relaxing stroll around the island (keeping an eye out for red squirrels) or enjoy a drink at the Villano Café which sits in the grounds of Brownsea Castle.
As the ferry returns to Poole Harbour, enjoy an evening meal at one of the many restaurants on the quay, such as Rockfish for fresh and seasonal fare or the family-run Oriel on the Quay.
Kick off your second day at Norden railway station and board a steam train to Swanage, checking out the stunning Corfe Castle on your way. After the 20-minute journey, take a stroll around the seaside resort of Swanage and grab yourself an ice cream from one of the kiosks along 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).
Next, head deeper into Dorset to the village of Cerne Abbas where you won’t be able to miss the iconic Cerne Abbas Giant – a 55-metre-high chalk figure set in the hillside. It is best seen from the viewpoint car park, but you can walk right up the hill if you prefer.
Heading on to Bridport you can either see this cultural town with its quirky shops, vintage quarter and cafés or head to its coastal neighbour West Bay. Fans of Harbour Lights or Broadchurch may recognise locations and buildings from the television series.
Eat lunch at the award-winning New Inn where you can dine on delicious pub grub in the cosy surroundings of this 16th-century former coaching inn.
Wind up your day with a tour of Furleigh Estate vineyard, sampling sparkling wines overlooking the fields as you decide which of the fantastic restaurants to spend your evening at. A good bet will be Brassica in nearby Beaminster, where the food is divine.
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