Visiting everything that makes Dorset great in one day might seem like a giant undertaking. However, we have manage to rustle together a selection of unmissable things to do and places to eat. So, even if you’re short on time to explore this magnificent county, you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Let us show you how to spend the very best 24 hours in Dorset!
In the small village of Furzebrook, there lies a pool surrounded by dense heath and tall trees, shielded from the rest of world. The Blue Pool is Dorset’s mythic hideaway, having spent decades mystifying its visitors with a dazzling spectrum of colour – shifting from bright blue to aqua green due to the diffracting light on the water’s surface. It’s also home to a much-loved tearoom, serving cream teas from 10am. Get in early to beat the crowds and enjoy your breakfast amongst the old-worldy pine trees.
Make a splash
Once you’ve polished off your scones, a five minute car ride will take you directly to Dorset’s wettest and wildest adventure; the Dorset Waterpark. Spread across two lakes, you’ll be booked into a one hour slot that’ll see you sliding around on the South West’s premier inflatable assault course. It is especially great if you’re with friends or a family with young kids; just make you sure book in advance to guarantee your place!
Or, make history
If you prefer your morning jaunt a little more on the dry-side, then skip the splashes and make your way to the iconic Dorset landmark, Corfe Castle. Located just a stone’s throw from the waterpark (the castle is visible from the lake), this half-crumbled monument is one of Britain’s most stoic survivors of the English Civil War. Time may have done its worst, but the castle still, partially, stands, welcoming visitors to explore its fallen walls and secret nooks.
If you have ventured to the castle, then you should not miss out on the castle’s Courtyard Cafe – voted one of the best eateries in the area. True to its name, there’s a lovely courtyard, perfect for sunny days, where you can tuck into fresh crab sandwiches and warm Dorset apple cake with thick clotted cream. Or, if the coast is a calling, a fifteen minute drive will take you to Studland, where The Pig on the Beach awaits with stately English charm, stunning views of the seaside and top-class dishes. You’ll want to try their locally-sourced seafood for the ultimate experience.
The stroll of a lifetime
Now you’re in Studland, and that can mean only one thing; the unforgettable Studland to Old Harry’s Rocks National Trust trail. However, we’re a little pressed for time, so scrap the National Trust’s two hour circular route and cut straight to the point, with a half hour hike from the centre of town to the chalky coast itself. A moderate walk with some daring heights, Old Harry’s Rocks are a stunning end to this gorgeous trail.
After all that walking, it’s time to let someone else do the work. Just down the coast from Old Harry’s Rock you’ll find Shell Bay, and a four minute ferry that’ll have you across the teeny stretch of water separating Studland from its Dorset neighbours, Sandbanks and Bournemouth. Heading east is a great way to make the most of this balmy stretch of sea before the night is through.
That’s right, from touching down in Sandbanks you’ll several beaches to choose from. There’s Sandbank’s own lavish offering, or Branksome Chine Beach a little further down the way, or (our personal favourite) Alum Chine, a quiet beach complete with candy-coloured beach huts and tropical gardens. With the evening sun setting on the horizon, we think this is the perfect time for a beachside picnic; a truly traditional way to end your day out in Dorset!