A designated World Heritage site, Olympic Games venue, miles of beautiful golden beaches...I’m talking about Sydney, right?
Dorset, a predominantly rural county on the English Channel coastline, can claim all of the above and is a quintessentially British holiday destination of some repute.
In 2006, just under four million tourists (including 360,000 foreign holidaymakers) visited Dorset, splashing out a combined £659m.
Being largely rural and mainly bereft of manufacturing industry, Dorset is often considered sleepy and frankly it’s difficult to argue otherwise. Without a single city in the county, farming and agriculture was once the area’s preeminent industry yet even that is now in decline.
Tourism, however, continues to thrive - and that’s because not everyone wants a holiday full of raucous nights out and tawdry drunkenness. For many of us, ‘sleepy’ is the just the tonic and the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Whether it's a cottage, a B&B or a farmhouse, your stay in Dorset is sure to be a memorable one.
In 2001, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) designated Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast a World Heritage site, becoming the first natural WHS to be chartered in England.
Spanning 95 miles of jaw-dropping coastline and 180 million years of geological history, it is a goldmine of awe and discovery and can be enjoyed in its entirety on foot, on the South West Coast Path (guided walks available), or on the Jurassic Coast Bus Service.
This is one of the world’s most scrutinised and visited coastlines – a natural and historical wonder of artily-eroded rocks and scattered fossils which tell the story of three pivotal periods in the development of life on earth; the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras.
Dorset is dominated by its coastline, but moving inland reveals a different side to the county. Precisely 44% of the area is protected environment, an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Dozens of picture-book market towns, villages and hamlets speckle the county without a city.
Dorset accommodation - holiday accommodation galore!
The choice of holiday accommodation, places to stay on the coast and in the countryside will delight everyone. Cosy Dorset Cottages go hand in hand with traditional b&bs, campsites and pubs with rooms. Imagine a few days in a favourite Bournemouth hotel or a holiday apartment overlooking the sea? I bet you're looking already - make sure you visit Let's Stay Dorset soon! Book direct with the owners and save...it really is that simple to enjoy a short break or holiday in Dorset.
Thomas Hardy Country
The county town is Dorchester – a small but not insignificant market town steeped in literary mystique. Legendary poet and author Thomas Hardy was born and grew up just to the east of the county’s capital, and based his fictional town of Casterbridge on Dorchester, amongst hundreds of other local references pervading Hardy’s canon.
Dorset has become utterly synonymous with Hardy and his work, his influence permeating throughout. There is more to Dorset than simply being ‘Thomas Hardy Country’, but his influence is difficult to ignore.
Dorset has been, and still is, home to an array of authors and other rich and famous folk. Sandbanks, for example, has the fourth-highest land value in the world and counts numerous Premier League footballers and managers among its residents.
However, one thing Dorset isn’t well-known for is its sporting prowess. No sporting institutions are based here and the most well-known football team is probably AFC Bournemouth.
Dorset’s arrival on the sporting map will be rubber-stamped in 2012, when the Summer Olympic Games, hosted primarily in London, arrive here by virtue of the sailing events, which will all be held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, in Portland Harbour.
The presence of the Olympic Games will leave an indelible mark long after the Games have finished. BT, for example, will soon be installing a new broadband line to provide a super-fast connection to cope with the increased demand during the Games.
It’s fair to assume that for a few weeks during the summer of 2012, Dorset may awake from its collective slumber as it comes under the microscope of international attention, but don’t bet against a swift return to normality as Dorset dozes off again once it’s all over.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
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