Abbotsbury is a picturesque village in West Dorset boasting the remains of a Benedictine Abbey, including a famous Tithe Barn, a mill pond and medieval ruins. It is also the home of the Abbotsbury Swannery, the only swannery of its kind in the world.
A small market town in the heart of West Dorset's Brit Valley, Beaminster was once a thriving wool, cloth and rope centre. It now contains some fine Georgian buildings and a late Medieval parish church.
Blandford Forum
An outstanding example of a Georgian town, Blandford Forum was rebuilt following a fire in the 1730s and its buildings today remain little changed, its church and Town Hall being particularly impressive. It is also the home of Hall and Woodhouse Inns and Badger Beer, breweries providing local ale that is sold throughout Dorset.

The tiny hamlets of Lower and Higher Bockhampton are situated 3 km from Dorchester and are synonymous with the 19th century novelist and poet Thomas Hardy. His birthplace at Higher Bockhampton remains unchanged and boasts a traditional cottage garden.

Britain's Resort of the Year in 2002, Bournemouth offers the best of a traditional seaside resort alongside a vibrant city centre. Beautiful sandy beaches, award-winning gardens, shopping and top entertainment all contribute to make Bournemouth well worth a visit. The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum has recently reopened after major refurbishment and provides an insight into the lifestyle of a prominent Victorian man and wife and their extraordinary cornucopia of possessions.

Famed for its rope and networking industry in the 13th century, which still provides Wimbledon's tennis nets, Bridport is today a small busy West Dorset market town close to the coast and the picturesque harbour of West Bay.
Cerne Abbas
Cerne Abbas is home to the ancient Augustin's Well and ruined abbey, but most famous for its 180 ft high Giant, an imposing Romano-British chalk figure cut into the hillside and well-known for its supposed fertility powers.
Situated on the Jurassic Coast and at the heart of fossil-hunting country, Charmouth is a small, attractive seaside resort.
A fine Saxon town on the New Forest border, Christchurch is dominated by its magnificent 11th century Priory Church and overlooks a picturesque harbour.
Dorset's county town and the heart of Thomas Hardy country, was originally settled by the Romans, two thousand years ago. Remains of the original Roman wall and a Roman house can still be seen today. Overlooking the town is Maiden Castle, the largest of the many iron age hillforts scattered across the Dorset landscape. In Hardy's novels, Dorchester was renamed 'Casterbridge' and Hardy's actual home, Max Gate, where he later lived and died is situated in the town.
The name Ferndown is believed to come from the Anglo-Saxon "fiergen" meaning wooded hill. The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside with easy road access and modern leisure and shopping facilities.

The most northerly of the Stourside towns, Gillingham is a fast growing town, offering many rural and riverside walks. There is a museum chronicling the town's history, including connections with the artist John Constable who visited the town in the early 1820's. His painting of the old Town Bridge can be seen in the Tate Gallery in London.
The tiny villages of East and West Lulworth are adjacent to the idyllic Lulworth Cove, a key site on the World Heritage coast and bordered by magnificent cliffs of great geological importance.
Lyme Regis
A traditional and atmospheric seaside town at the far western edge of Dorset, on the county border with Devon, Lyme Regis is famed for its strategic importance in the landing of the Duke of Monmouth in his bid to win the Crown from James II. The Cobb harbour has very famous literary association with the John Fowles novel 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' and Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'.
Milton Abbas
A picturesque village of uniform cobb and thatch cottages, Milton Abbas is a unique example of a purpose built 18th century estate village. The original village, which was seen as an eyesore, was uprooted by the landowner to distance it from his house. The 14th century abbey, a stunning example of Gothic architecture, is open to the public. It stands beside Milton Abbey House which has now become a famous boys' school.
A pretty village on the River Frome featuring a Georgian neo-Gothic church with windows engraved by Lawrence Whistler. T.E. Lawrence, more famously known as Lawrence of Arabia, is buried in the nearby churchyard.
Poole is Dorset's second largest town. Situated on the shores of Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Poole has become a major focus for water sports and recreation as well as the home of internationally important wildlife habitats. The Old Town boasts a famous Customs House, many pubs and shops and the famous Poole Pottery. There is also miles of sandy beaches, as well as good ferry connections to France.
Connected to the mainland by a thin causeway at the eastern end of Chesil Beach, The 'Isle' of Portland has a character all of its own, and affords magnificent views of the Dorset coastline. A fascinating area for geological explorers, and the origin of the stone used in many of London's important buildings, Portland is also a renowned centre for divers and rock-climbers.
The newest village in the UK, Poundbury is the architectural brainchild of Prince Charles. It is proving to be a great success, so much so, houses are pre-sold before they are built and the village, built around a traditional market square, is quickly expanding.

An ancient Saxon hilltown, Shaftesbury was founded about AD 800 by Alfred the Great. Its abbey ruins and herb gardens are open to the public. Shaftesbury is the home to Gold Hill, a steep cobbled street with tiny cottages and one of the most photographed locations in Dorset.
Founded by the Saxons, and set in the north of Dorset, Sherborne is an historic market town with a medieval high street a superb 15th century abbey and two castles, one of which was the home to Sir Walter Raleigh.

Sturminster Newton
On the banks of the River Stour and in the heart of the Blackmore Vale, Sturminster Newton is a small market town with one of the most famous historic bridges in the county. It is also home to a 17th century working mill museum. Nearby, is Fiddleford Manor, a medieval manor house boasting a unique beamed ceiling, owned by English Heritage.

A popular Victorian seaside town in the Purbecks, Swanage is home to the famous local Purbeck stone used widely as 'marble' in building and an award winning beach. It is also the final station for the famous 'Swanage Steam Railway', offering an entertaining and nostalgic trip back in time.

An ancient Saxon market town of great character and located on the River Frome a short distance inland from the Purbeck coast, Wareham is still encircled by its original Saxon walls and contains the oldest church in Dorset.
Made a seaside resort by George III in the 18th century, Weymouth has grown to become one of Britains's most popular holiday destinations. There is an elegant Georgian seafront, a magnificent golden beach, set in a safe and scenic bay, and a small picturesque harbour with sailing and fishing boats.
Wimborne Minster
A charming ancient market town, nestling between the rivers Allen and Stour , Wimborne Minster owes its Saxon foundation in 705 AD, to Cuthburger, Princess of Wessex. The twin-towered Minster church has several fascinating historical features, including a rare chained library and an astronomical clock. There is a museum called the Priest's House Museum and Garden' - the Museum's collections include social, local and archaeological material.