Inland Dorset bucket list…
Following on from our coastal bucket list, here is our list of things to do when just inland from the Dorset coast. There’s something for everyone to enjoy with so many walks, historical sites, literary links and other attractions to pick from.
Technically we are still very close to the coast with this bucket list and at times you will be no more than a few miles away. However, the amazing rural Dorset settings compliment the wonderful places detailed below.
1. Visit Tyneham – “the village that died for England”. In 1943 the villagers were given 28 days notice to pack up and leave before the army took over to prepare for D-Day. Unfortunately, they have never returned. Before visiting you will need to check the range walks opening times – a walk to Worbarrow Bay is also a must when visiting here.
2. The Tank Museum – internationally famous for having the only working Tiger 1 tank in the world, which will make two appearances in the arena this year – Tiger Day in April and Tankfest in June. NOT to be missed.
3. Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre where you can see gibbons, chimpanzees, monkeys and the lovely orangutans. The work of rescuing and rehabilitating primates from around the world done here is nothing short of amazing. You can see the apes here in separate social groups mimicking life in the wild as closely as possible.
4. Maiden Castle – about the size of 50 football pitches it is one the largest Iron Age hillforts in Europe. The steep, complex ramparts are frequently dotted with sheep grazing – so stout footwear and best to keep the dog on a lead.
5. Corfe Castle – a village and a castle to be explored! The castle stands guard over the main route through the Purbeck Hills. You can see why it was impossible to pass without going past the castle. Although it was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War, you can still see what the castle was like back in 1646 by visiting the scale model village of Corfe Castle just off the Square at the centre of the village.
6. Swanage Railway – Take a trip down memory lane or experience the age of steam for the first time. Should you be travelling to Swanage for the day simply park up at the Park and Ride at Norden Station and the train can take you to the seaside via Corfe Castle. The Santa Special at Christmas is always great fun and a great trip for the family.
7. A trip across the border (into Devon!). Worth it for the Donkey Sanctuary – admission is free and you can bring along your dog (on a lead please) and your bike and have a great day out with all the family. Check out the characters and stories of the residents and have a chance to cuddle them. You can even “adopt a donkey” to help out with the fundraising and good work that is done.
8. The Nothe Fort. Situated at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour, the fort has a maze of underground passageways and outside areas with stunning views of the Jurassic Coast. The fort has undergone major restoration work over the last 40 years to bring it up to scratch and is now a major historic tourist attraction.
9. Family farms and adventures will always be on the bucket list for the family holiday. With goats and lambs, ducks and ponies, playful piglets and maybe even the odd guinea pig or two! Being a rural county Dorset has a number of open farms which have diversified and incorporated additional facilities like soft play areas and cafes. In the west of the county there is Abbotsbury Children’s Farm and Vurlands Farm, Swyre and in the East of Dorset, there is Putlake Adventure Farm and Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park, all of which are worth a visit.
10. The works of Thomas Hardy were written here in Dorset, set in the semi-fictional county of Wessex. You can visit his birthplace at Hardy’s Cottage and then on to Max Gate where Hardy lived from 1885 to his death in 1928. On a walk around Dorchester, you will find many other links to the writer with his statue not far from County Hall and Dorchester itself is known as Casterbridge in his books.