Seek out the simple life in this bustling seaside town with a blue flag beach. While away some leisurely hours at the putting green, tennis courts and outdoor bowls centre, or head to the beach for a dip in the shallows. ‘Take the air’ along the restored Victorian pier, stopping at the exhibition to get to know the town’s past. Hire a beach hut to complete your sense of seaside serenity. Or if you’re up for stretching your legs, tackle the mile long stroll to Durlston Country Park, where 280 acres of immaculate countryside await - look out for dolphins in the bay and rare birds overhead.
Sandbanks is a small peninsula crossing the mouth of Poole harbour. Known for its celebrity residents and luxury homes, it’s the ideal spot to sit back at an open air cafe with a glass of fine wine and people watch. Bought the kids? There’s plenty to keep them busy - take your best shot at the crazy golf course, frolick on the long sandy beach, or jump on the ferry to Brownsea island for some red squirrel spotting.
There’s more to this village than the landmark that gives it its name. Chug in on the heritage steam train from Swanage and meander through historic lanes lined with buildings made from Purbeck limestone. Poke a toe into the past at the two free museums, and explore the ruins of the castle, then collect keepsakes in the quaint gift shops and galleries. Achy feet can have a rest in one of the welcoming local pubs, or splash out at Mortons House, a privately owned 16th century manor house hotel.
Absorb the atmosphere of this magical village, bookmarked by the striking rock formations of Old Harry, and Old Harry’s wife. Studland’s main draw is the bay, a stunning sweep of beach managed by the National Trust. But venture away from the sands and you’ll find coastal pathways through lush meadows, cute-as-they-come cottages and a Norman Church with character and history to spare. This is also the ideal spot to get active, with sailing, golf and horse riding all on offer.
Spend an afternoon in this scenic village, daydreaming by the duck pond and poring over which of the local beaches you’ll take a dip at - there are three within easy walking distance. There’s a reason for the village’s timeless beauty - all new houses here must be built from local stone. Follow one of the village walking trails past abandoned quarries and the sites of its military history. When you’ve seen enough, you can refresh at the local pub, and if you’re hungry feast on one of their famous pasties or pies.
Follow the footsteps of a medieval priest out of Swanage and into the village of Langton Matravers on the Priest’s Way walking trail, marvelling at the stunning views. Refuel at the historic King’s Arm’s pub before exploring the quarries to the north of the village, which date back to the Roman period. Or follow the four mile walk encircling the village, roaming through the National Trust owned landscape. If you prefer to stick to the village, pop into the small Langton Matravers museum to learn more about the local quarries.