There is so much to see and do in Dorset apart from admiring the spectacular countryside. There are also a great many attractions in neighbouring South Somerset.
National Trust properties include Hardy's Cottage, Stourhead, Kingston Lacy (below), Barrington Court, Montacute and Corfe Castle, and the Trust owns many miles of open countryside and coastline. Highly recommended is a visit to Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour which includes a mini-cruise around the all the islands in the country's largest natural harbour.
The recently designated World Heritage Coastline is within half an hour and West Bay harbour (at Bridport) and Lyme Regis (left) are worth a visit. Durdle Door, Lulworth and Ringstead are very pretty beaches and Weymouth has long been famous for its miles of golden sand.
In Dorchester, visit the Tutankahmun exhibition or the Teddy Bears' House, or the Dorset County Museum with its replica of Thomas Hardy's study. Sherborne is a lovely market town, dominated by its ancient abbey and two castles - one of which was home to Sir Walter Raleigh.
Abbotsbury to the south has a world famous Swannery, a Tithe Barn with children's activities, Sub-Tropical Gardens and is a picture-postcard village close to the coast.
North of Yeovil the Fleet Air Arm Museum has long been a favourite family day out, where you can trace the history of aviation and experience the prototype Concorde inside and out.
Food and drink plays a important part of life and the emphasis is on local produce. With celebrity chefs flocking to settle in Dorset it is no wonder that the county is gaining a reputation as a gourmet's delight! There are many excellent restaurants and pubs in the area and some very good seafood restuarants.