11 Ideas for a Short Break in Dorset

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11 Ideas for a Short Break in Dorset

The county of Dorset, located along the coast of the English Channel in the southern part of England, was once primarily an agricultural area. Travellers now flock to Dorset to enjoy its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and rich architectural, scientific, literary, and artistic history. Some of the more recognisable towns located within Dorset are Blandford Forum, Bournemouth, Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Poole, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Swanage, Weymouth, and Wimborne. The towns of Dorset provide perfect destinations for taking a short break with family and friends. Each town offers its own unique vacation experience, attractions, and scenery.

Because a short break offers only a limited amount of time available to visit Dorset, it is important to determine which towns to visit before arrival. Travel, accommodations, and an itinerary should also be planned for the trip, taking into account prices and a budget. eBay offers a wide selection of ideas for a short break in Dorset, or travellers can do their own online searching or engage the assistance of travel agents. In order to plan an itinerary for a short break, travellers should learn a little bit about some of the main towns.

1. Blandford Forum

Blandford Forum, a rural town located along the River Stour, takes its name from the forum or marketplace nestled within the heart of the town and the outlying countryside. Travellers can visit the market on Thursdays and Saturdays. Other interesting attractions in Blandford Forum include the Great Dorset Steam Fair held yearly, the Cavalcade of Costume Museum, and the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery tours. Families can enjoy viewing the Royal Signals Museum with interactive, hands-on exhibits and the Flying Aces Museum at Compton Abbas Airfield.

2. Bournemouth

Bournemouth is the perfect place in Dorset to relax and enjoy beautiful beaches on a short break with family and friends. It is the largest vacation destination in Dorset and the home of Bournemouth International Airport. It offers family activities, such as biking and water sports. During the summer, children can also enjoy the Kids' Family Fun Festival and weekly fireworks. Adults can enjoy a variety of concerts, shows, shops, and nightclubs throughout the town.

3. Bridport

Bridport is a good vacation spot in Dorset to enjoy the quiet and relaxation of the surrounding West Dorset hills. The town's rich history has its origins in the rope making and net making industries of the 13th century. Travellers can tour the Parish Church of St. Mary and the Bridport Museum to view historical exhibits. The Borough Gardens, located in the town square, contains a beautifully carved stone centrepiece. Other notable historical landmarks include the Town Hall, the Bull Hotel, and Palmers Brewery, where guided tours are available.

4. Dorchester

Dorchester, the county town of Dorset, is a distinctive town filled with history, art, literature, and culture. Travellers can visit Maiden Castle, the capital of the Durotriges, an Iron Age Celtic tribe. Maiden Castle is also one of the largest European Iron Age hill forts. Thomas Hardy, a famous English writer, had a home in Dorchester, and many of his literary works contain references to places found there. Many different museums are located in Dorchester, such as the Dorset County Museum, the Keep Military Museum, the Dinosaur Museum, the Teddy Bear Museum, and the Terracotta Warriors Museum. Travellers can also select from four town walks to learn more about the history and culture of Dorchester.

5. Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis is a quaint fishing resort known as the Pearl of Dorset. It is a wonderful short break option for travellers who enjoy learning about science and nature. The Cobb, an impressive harbour wall, is located along its seashore. It is also the location of some of the world's oldest fossil findings. Lyme Regis offers many water sports and family-friendly activities, such as surfing, golfing, fishing, and sailing. Avid walkers can also enjoy rare, local scenery by visiting the Undercliff National Nature Reserve.

6. Poole

Poole is home to Poole Harbour, a natural harbour located along the southern coast of England. When visiting Poole Harbour, travellers also have the opportunity to visit Brownsea Island. Brownsea Island is unique because it is the home of a rare species of red squirrels. It is also where the first scouting camp originated. Brownsea Island is also a good place for walking and enjoying nature's beauty. Poole has a waterfront museum and a 55-acre park that offers family activities. Poole's many beaches, parks, and sporting activities provide plenty of ideas for a short break.

7. Shaftesbury

For travellers looking for historic views of Dorset, Shaftesbury is the place for a short break. A view of Gold Hill remains the most popular view along its scenic route. Other breathtaking views can be seen from Castle Hill and Park Walk. This rural market town also contains a medieval museum and the remains of an abbey church. The relaxing atmosphere of Shaftesbury provides plenty of art and culture for travellers.

8. Sherborne

Travellers can journey to Sherborne, a small rural, market town located in northern Dorset, to visit the famous Sherborne Castle. This magnificent castle was built in 1594 by Sir Walter Raleigh. It displays some of the most beautiful furniture and architecture from various time periods in English history. The ruins of a 12th-century castle are also evident in the town as well as other interesting historical landmarks, such as an abbey church.

9. Swanage

Swanage, located in East Dorset along the coast of the English Channel, contains part of the world-famous Jurassic Coast. The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site that contains Mesozoic Era cliffs from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods in geological history. This 180-million-year-old site has also revealed numerous significant fossil findings and is the location of many ongoing scientific investigations. It is a great place to observe geological history and the beauty of nature.

10. Weymouth

Weymouth is a beautiful, seaside resort town in Dorset that was also home to the 2012 Olympic Games sailing events. Weymouth's coast has also achieved UNESCO World Heritage status. One unique attraction in Weymouth is the sculpture attractions. These distinctive sand sculptures, along with the beach and water sport activities, make Weymouth a great place for a short break. Other attractions include a historic harbour, day trips by ferry to the Channel Islands, and the Nothe Fort.

11. Wimborne

Wimborne, located in East Dorset, contains many well-preserved 15th, 16th, and 17th century buildings within the town. Visitors can learn about the town's fascinating history by embarking on the town trail, a two-hour walking trail that visits various historical locations, such as Gulliver House, Allendale House, First Methodist Church, the Railway Station, and Victoria Hospital. One of the first public libraries can be viewed in Wimborne Minster Church. Travellers can also enjoy viewing a 1950s replica of a Wimborne model town, one of England's largest model towns.

Other Attractions to Consider

There are many opportunities for taking a short break in Dorset. Besides the main town attractions, there are other ideas to consider before deciding on a final itinerary. Any traveller can enjoy a leisurely ride on the world-famous paddle steamer, the Waverley. It provides cruises that sail out of the towns of Bournemouth, Swanage, and Weymouth. Families and children can also enjoy exciting rides at the popular Adventure Wonderland Family Fun Park located in Christchurch. Historians can visit Corfe Castle, located on the Isle of Purbeck and view the ruins of an 11th century wooden castle made from Purbeck stone, one of the finest types of limestone available for building. Travellers can also venture to Bovington and visit the Bovington Tank Museum. This world-famous collection of tanks comes to life through exciting displays and exhibitions.

Travelling to Dorset

For travellers wanting to fly into Dorset, the Bournemouth International Airport is the only major airport located in Dorset. The airport offers affordable flights into and out of Dorset. Besides air transportation, train transportation is another option, with trains from London going to the towns of Weymouth, Dorchester, Bournemouth, and Poole, and trains from Bath and Bristol going to Weymouth, Dorchester, and Sherborne. Travellers can also drive by car along the main roads to the various towns, although there are no major motorways available in Dorset. The ferry has connections at Poole and Weymouth. Bus routes are limited within Dorset and may only connect at specific towns. Taxis are available outside most of the towns' main train stations.

The following table provides a brief overview of the travel options available in Dorset. They include plane, train, and ferry transportation. There are limited bus and taxi services available in Dorset, with many connections only offered at the major towns and train stations in Dorset.






Moderate to inexpensive; seasonal


Weymouth, Dorchester, Bournemouth, Poole, Sherborne

Moderate to inexpensive; seasonal


Poole, Weymouth

Moderate to inexpensive; seasonal

Travel prices are subject to seasonal fluctuations and may also be affected by special events or holidays. When it comes to flights, booking far in advance usually results in better prices.

Choices for Accommodation

For travellers who need to book accommodations for short breaks in Dorset, there are various options available. Accommodations range from luxury to inexpensive options. Luxury and country hotels provide various levels of amenities, such as maid service, pools, restaurants, and spas. Some hotels in Dorset are located along the beachfront. Self-catering cottages can be rented in the countryside or near the shore. Their level of service depends on the rates offered. In most cases, travellers must furnish their own food and linens when renting a self-catering cottage.

A bed and breakfast or guest house can be five-star accommodations or a quaint English home with scenic views. Families also have the option of camping in tents or caravans located in various campgrounds within Dorset. Most campgrounds are located close to beaches or in more secluded, rural areas. Many caravans within the campgrounds come fully equipped, except for food and linens, which can be purchased separately in nearby towns.

Finding Short Break Packages in Dorset on eBay

To search for accommodations and holiday packages for a short break in Dorset on eBay, an individual can use keywords and categories. A user simply goes to the eBay home page and types in keywords such as ' short break' and then selects the 'Search' button. This takes the individual to a page of listings for accommodations and packages for short breaks. The buyer can select a specific listing and read the description or enter a different set of keywords for a different set of results. The buyer can also examine the categories that include packages and related items for short breaks. Relevant listings may be found under more than one category.

A buyer should read descriptions very carefully to determine what amenities are being offered. He or she should also examine the different sellers' profiles to determine which listings are posted by reliable sellers. eBay's top-rated sellers have been given superior ratings in the areas of on-time delivery and customer service.


Dorset and its many towns offer travellers various opportunities to enjoy the region's rich history. Travellers can relax on sandy beaches, view ancient medieval castles, sample delicious food, and visit the locations of some of the most important sites for artistic and literary achievement. Because of the close proximity of many of the main towns within Dorset, many of these experiences can be enjoyed within the limited time frame of a short break.

The possibilities for transportation to and from Dorset include travel by plane, train, ferry, or bus. The various accommodations in the area include beachfront locations and secluded countryside locations. It is the traveller's responsibility to plan an itinerary, travel arrangements, and accommodations for a visit. eBay provides a wide selection of helpful items, especially when it comes to accommodations and holiday packages, or buyers can enlist the help of a travel agent. With so many ideas and options to choose from, a short break in Dorset is a great way to experience southern England with family and friends.

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