The thriving villages surrounding the two main towns of central southern Dorset are varied and beautiful. In this area you will find some of the best local pubs and iconic traditional thatched rows of cottages.
Easy access to Dorchester and only 7 miles from the sandy beach of Weymouth. The Black Dog serves food, ales and wine and there is a small shop and post office as well. There are a number of walks that start and finish in Broadmayne, or if you fancy a bit of literary history, Hardy’s cottage – the birthplace of Thomas Hardy and where he wrote his early novels – is only a 5 mile drive.
The tiny village of Buckland Ripers, seemingly tucked away in the middle of nowhere is one of Dorset’s hidden treasures. It is a parish with its own church dedicated to St Nicholas. Situated at the end of the lane, in a delightful and tranquil setting, it is a delight to come across.
Charminster, set amongst the rolling hills of Dorset is a great base for exploring both the east and the west of the county. The area has many footpaths through beautiful countryside and Dorchester is only 2 miles away. The sandy beaches of Weymouth are only 10 miles away.
A small hamlet made famous in the smuggling novel Moonfleet, close to the inland lagoon known as The Fleet and Moonfleet Manor Hotel (Be sure to check it out – on a sunny day, there’s nothing like it). The famous Swannery at Abbotsbury is 6 miles, and the sandy beaches of Weymouth are 4 miles.
The intriguing streets of Fortuneswell are the gateway to the historical Isle of Portland. An old fishing community, the village lies on steeply sloping land with some of the best views in Dorset of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Portland Harbour is home to the National Sailing Academy and was the venue for the 2012 Olympics sailing events. A paradise for divers, anglers, birdwatchers, walkers, geologists and photographers alike.
This is one of only 12 “Doubly Thankful” Villages in the whole of England and Wales as it has no war memorial from World War 1 or World War 2 as no service personnel were lost in either of the two wars. It is a secluded village with a green, play area and good dining pub surrounded by fields. There are lovely walks to the nearby Fleet Lagoon and Chesil’s shingle beach, ideal for surf-cast fishing.
A tiny, rural hamlet nestling beneath Bronkham, Black Down Hills and Admiral Hardy’s Monument, equidistant from Weymouth, Dorchester and the attractions in Abbotsbury.
Winterbourne St Martin commonly knows as Martinstown is a small village south west of Dorchester and beside Maiden Castle. The Winterbourne stream meanders through the village, which has a good pub, village shop and Church.
The river Wey meanders through this quiet hamlet situated between Radipole and Upwey. A point of interest is Spa House, a carefully preserved octagonal house designed by Robert Vining built in 1830.
This pretty village, with a family pub, is off the Weymouth road in a valley beneath the inland route of the Coast Path and other wonderful walks. A mile down a country lane is a seaside hamlet with riding stables, famous pub and rocky beach. Browse our holiday cottages in Osmington here.
Winners Dorset Best Kept Large Village 2016
A quaint village of limestone thatched cottages, a medieval church and an excellent pub. Portesham is spoken in the Dorset dialect as “Possum” and is most famous for being the home of Thomas Masterman Hardy who Nelson asked “kiss me Hardy” as he died at the Battle of Trafalgar. Hardy’s Monument is a tower that overlooks the village and the County from Black Down.
In the lee of the downs above Weymouth with access to ridge paths, a stream, pond and pub complement this very picturesque village.
This secluded and tranquil beach-side hamlet is well known for its natural beauty and fossils. There is an off shore reef that is visible and low tide ideal for snorkeling. It has a seasonal shop and car-park (National Trust).
An excellent spot for a holiday, this pretty village on the River Wey has a Wishing Well, tearooms, pubs and water gardens. It is convenient for all the attractions of Weymouth yet has direct access to open countryside.
This small but beautiful Dorset village has an 11th century church and a number of traditional thatched cottages. It has a pub called The New Inn and an 11th century church with Thomas Hardy connections as it was under his direction that the restoration took place in 1893.
A small village in the Frome Valley just to the East of Dorchester. It has strong connections with Hardy’s work with the church of St Andrew being the apparent setting of the marriage of Tess and Angel Clare in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. There is a good ‘gastro’ pub in the village called The Wise Man.
A beautiful, old manorial hamlet with thatched cottages, a manor house, an unused church and two thatched tithe barns, convenient for Dorchester and Hardy’s homes.