The area known as The Isle of Purbeck is a 60 square mile stretch of South East Dorset and is the perfect location for those seeking relaxation, stimulation, adventure and fun. There is so much to explore from an ancient castle to chocolate box villages, hills and heathland, stunning beaches, coves and coastline, so there really is something for everyone when visiting the Purbecks.
Starting your Isle of Purbeck adventures with a trip to any of the Jurassic Coast’s many beautiful beaches you will be spoilt for choice! From the golden sands at Shell Bay on the Studland peninsula to the fossils and rockpools of Kimmeridge and the pebbles and blue waters of Lulworth Cove. Marvel at the rugged and windswept Old Harry Rocks, stroll around the Victorian splendour of Swanage. With an abundance of footpaths and bridleways you can wander the coastal path taking in many of the county’s most famous landmarks.
For those with sea legs you can hire a boat and take in the impressive coastline from a different perspective; you may even come across some hidden coves inaccessible by foot, or spot the array of wildlife, including Dorset’s resident family of dolphins. You can also book a boat trip over to Brownsea Island, a haven for one of the last colonies of native red squirrels in the UK.
It’s easy to while away the day exploring the pretty towns and villages that are dotted around the area. Corfe, with its ancient castle, fantastic pubs and shops and traditional cottages is a quintessential example of Dorset charm; just a quick hop on the Swanage railway takes you from Corfe to Swanage town, with its Victorian architecture and pier, you can enjoy a cream tea or watch the sunset with fish and chips on the beach. Further afield is Wareham, the gateway town to the Purbecks, established by the Saxons, this bustling market town offers a chance to sample some of the best local produce, tour the local museum, galleries and boutiques and enjoy a walk along the river or hire a canoe if you are feeling energetic.
For fresh country air and shaded woodland, Durlston County Park offers fields of wild flowers, a unique array of insects, birds and plants and breath-taking views. Take advantage of the cycle ways and get on your bike to take in more of the area, you can even stop off for a pub lunch and sample some local seafood.
If you are looking for a day in the wild then head to Studland, from deer to wild birds and the British Isles’ only sea horse colony, it’s a haven of wildlife. Spend the day taking in the dramatic views, paddling in the water or just sit back and soak up the peace and quiet.
Dorset is renowned for its unspoilt beaches, incredible views and fantastic produce, but it’s probably best known for its Jurassic Coast and fossils. For some of the best examples head to Kimmeridge, take a tour of the Etches Collection, a truly inspiring fossil display, then head to Kimmeridge beach and explore its rock-pools and limestone ledges.
With a rich and varied history it’s unsurprising East Dorset offers up such a variety of historical buildings and landmarks, one of the more unusual ones must be Tyneham Village. Evacuated by its residents during World War II, it has remained untouched since 1943. Walk through the uninhabited village and you will get a chance to see how life looked all those years ago, from school books left on desks to the parish church displaying local photos, if you keep walking you will reach the local hidden gem of Worbarrow Bay, a pristine bay, with shallow waters suitable for swimming in.
The Isle of Purbeck truly offers an authentic taste of Dorset life, and if you would like to go on your own Dorset adventure, Dream Cottages have an extensive range of holiday cottages available.
Dream Cottages are proud to be a Jurassic Coast Business Partner.