Dorset’s coastline comes with some very impressive credentials! The Jurassic Coast - the only natural UNESCO World Heritage site in England - encompasses most of the coastline, as does the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The rocks in the cliffs along the coast tell the story of 185 million years of Earth’s history and fossil hunting has been a popular activity here for over 200 years with collectors finds contributing to our understanding of both prehistoric life and geology. Mary Anning, from Lyme Regis, was a well-known fossil hunter in the early 1800’s and her discoveries influenced Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and changed scientific thinking.
The coastline has famous natural landmarks such as Durdle Door (a limestone sea arch), Old Harry Rocks (chalk stacks and stumps), picturesque Lulworth Cove and the most unusual Chesil Beach. Chesil is a massive shingle structure - 17 miles long, up to 15m high and 200m wide. However, as fascinating and beautiful as these landforms are, if you’re looking for Dorset beach huts, you’ll have to head elsewhere!
There are many traditional seaside resorts to choose from including Lyme Regis, Weymouth, Swanage, Christchurch … and of course there’s glorious Pool Bay with the resorts of Bournemouth, Boscombe and Southbourne. The beaches are predominantly golden sand and traditional activities such as Punch and Judy shows, donkey rides and sitting in deckchairs eating ice-creams all add to the fun.
If you want more exclusivity, then head for stunning Sandbanks. You need to be a millionaire to buy a house here, but beach hut hire is affordable to all!
- Great opportunities for fossil hunting - particularly at Charmouth and Lyme Regis
- Award winning family beaches
- Dogs not always permitted (or must be on a lead) - check before you go