Top Holiday Attractions in Dorset - what to do, where to go and what to see

If you are heading to Dorset for a cottage holiday or self catering short break we have compiled some of the must see places and the best things to do. Whether you are looking for some family fun, visit relaxing and peaceful gardens or immerse yourself in the history and culture of Dorset then take a look at some great ideas below.

And, if you are still to book your self catering accommodation we have listed some great Dorset cottages and apartments close to the attractions and available direct from independent owners and leading holiday operators.

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Brownsea Island, Poole

Attractions in Dorset

Just a short boat journey (not National Trust) from Poole or Sandbanks, the island offers spectacular views, a peaceful setting for walks and picnics, a rich variety of habitats for wildlife including the rare red squirrel and a varied and colourful history


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Lulworth Castle, Wareham

Attractions in Dorset

Lulworth Castle which is 400-years-old is now a museum that offers tours, family days and special events from early spring to late autumn. The castle is often referred to as a "mock" castle, as it was actually built as a hunting lodge. There is plenty to entertain children at this historic building. After viewing the house, which has lots of exhibitions, take a woodland walk and feed the animals at a nearby farm.


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Farmer Palmers Farm Park, Poole

Attractions in Dorset

Farmer Palmers Farm Park offers lots of hands-on fun with the animals for children up to 8 years old. Undercover straw mountain, indoor soft play area and a tractor trailer ride all add to the fun.


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Avon Heath Country Park, St Leonards

Attractions in Dorset

Enjoy a day at Dorset's largest country park, walking or cycling in the beautiful heathland and woods. Special events include pond dipping; Easter egg trails; bug hunts; den building; orienteering; animal tracks and signs and dawn-chorus walks.


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The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum, Dorchester

Attractions in Dorset

This is a delightful unusual museum where the teddy bears are life-size. See the teddy bear family at work, rest and play. A large selection of teddy bears can be bought at the period shop. From the earliest antique teddy bears to today's TV favourites they are all waiting to greet you in this enchanting Teddy Bear Museum.


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Upton Counrty Park, Poole

Attractions in Dorset

Upton House has pretty, formal gardens that lead into woodland, meadow and a saltmarsh teeming with wildlife on the edge of Poole Harbour.


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Durlston Counrty Park, Swanage

Attractions in Dorset

A country park with wildflower meadows; downland; cliffs; sea and a wealth of wildlife. There is also a visitor centre for local information.


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Monkey World, Wareham

Attractions in Dorset

Monkey World offers sanctuary for over 160 primates including gibbons, orang-utans and chimpanzees. You can learn how they live and more. Pets corner and an adventure play area as well.


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Studland Beach and Nature Reserve, Studland

Attractions in Dorset

This beautiful area is well known for its long sandy beaches and shallow water ideal for playing. The heathland close by is a National Nature Reserve and is the perfect place to spot birds and wildlife.


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Corfe Castle, Wareham

Attractions in Dorset

Explore this ruined castle with a long and fascinating history as a fortress, prison and home. The Castle View Visitor Centre has hands-on displays and children are encourages to touch castle artefacts and try on replica medieval clothing.


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Tank Museum, Bovington

Attractions in Dorset

The Tank Museum brings the history of tanks and tank crew to life. Supported by the world's best collection of tanks & action packed live displays. The Tank Museum is the museum of the Royal Tank Regiment & Royal Armoured Corps.


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Dorest County Museum, Dorchester

Attractions in Dorset

Explore Dorset wildlife, geology and social history in interactive exhibitions and audio-visual displays. Galleries to visit include one devoted to Dorset writes including Thomas Hardy and the archaeology gallery.


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Swanage Railway, Swanage

Attractions in Dorset

Enjoy a nostalgic steam-train journey through magnificent countryside and the village of Corfe Castle, offering good views of the historic ruins. Pass through the eastern gateway to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.


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Wimborne Model Town and Gardens, Wimborne

Attractions in Dorset

Built well over 50 years ago, the magnificent 1/10th scale models continue to surprise and amaze visitors from all over the world with their superb quality and realism. There are also award winning gardens and play houses.


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Kingston Maurward, Dorchester

Attractions in Dorset

A formal Edwardian garden with a stunning ornamental take in front of the 18th Century mansion house. The animal park has a collection of miniature Shetland ponies, as well as donkeys, rabbits and guinea pigs.


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Oceanarium Bournemouth, Bournemouth

Attractions in Dorset

Explore the secrets of the ocean and some of the world's most amazing waters. Come face to face with a vast array of colourful creatures from stingrays, sharks and exotic fish to piranhas, chameleons, green turtles and tortoises.


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The Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester

Attractions in Dorset

The award-winning Dinosaur Museum combines fossils, skeletons and life-size dinosaur reconstructions with video, hands-on and computer displays. This is fascinating fun for all the family.


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Abbotsbury Swannery, Weymouth

Attractions in Dorset

Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset is unique. It is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans. A visit to the Swannery is considered one of the best things to do in Dorset.


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Looking for Accommodation close to Dorset

If you are looking to spend a short break or holiday in Dorset there is a lot of great quality self catering accommodation, ranging from apartments and cottages to lodges and chalets, to choose from. Of course, you will also find some lovely guest houses, bed and breakfast and hotels in Dorset. Find out more by using the links below:

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Find Cottage Holidays

Find Cottage Holidays mission is to promote the very best of the UK and Ireland's wonderful self catering accommodation, whether it be cottages, apartments, lodges, chalets, houses, villas or bungalows. But, it's not just about the cottages, we also try and bring you some helpful guides and information on the places to go, things to see and activities to do while you enjoy your break in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland. In fact, we are adding to our list daily but if you think we have missed somewhere special tell us via our Facebook page. With wonderful countryside and superb coastlines to explore the UK and Ireland has so much to offer.

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