Where else in England could you find a protected World Heritage coastline with a countryside of Outstanding Natural Beauty and fantastic food at its heart? Most of the county is protected but west Dorset is a particularly sought-after holiday destination with wonderful cottages in towns, villages and remote locations and fabulous food in pubs, restaurants and independent shops.
The Unesco listed Jurassic Coast is quite varied. West Bay and its golden cliffs was the magnificent backdrop to the award-winning television series, Broadchurch and Lyme Regis with its world famous Cobb (think Meryl Streep in her black cape on that stormy day) to the West are a film buff’s heaven.
To the eastern end of west Dorset, juicy oysters are farmed near Weymouth and a long strip of sand between West Bay and Weymouth forms Chesil beach, protecting a lagoon where swans nest in Abbotsbury (with cygnets delighting visitors in Spring). Such a varied coastal choice ensures that families, walkers, watersports enthusiasts and lovers of fine food come back for their holidays year after year, to enjoy time in a Dorset holiday cottage by the sea.
Pubs and restaurants in west Dorset are often focused on local food as the area is filled with fantastic fresh produce. Lyme Bay crabs and hand-dived scallops are delightfully sweet and sought after. Farmers’ markets started in Bridport, as did River Cottage in nearby Netherbury, because the locals grow, rear and appreciate their food. The ‘fashion’ of using local suppliers is not new in rural west Dorset.
Bridport has three independent thriving butchers, one of which owns the title of ‘the oldest family butcher in England’. Beaminster has a greengrocer with the freshest fruit and veg you will find and Dorchester has a brilliant deli with a great selection of local delights. Farmers’ markets and shops abound and offer a wonderful alternative - food shopping need not be boring.
And if pretty and chocolate box is what you’re after as a holiday base, then thatched cottages line the streets of quaint villages and hidden hamlets along windy lanes - try Evershot or Corscombe. Attractive small towns with independent shops, such as Sherborne, Beaminster, Lyme Regis or Dorchester, are never far away. Boutiques with lovely clothes, kitchen shops and retailers of local crafts are as easy to find as tree topped hills and quiet beaches.
West Dorset being mainly rural, it’s a haven for the busy city dwellers in need of a rest or the families with young children who love animals. In fact, a holiday cottage on a farm is a wonderful way to unwind and really enjoy what the area has to offer.
Beautiful landscapes, stunning coast, delicious food and a pace of life many long for but can only dream of – a holiday cottage in Dorset can provide it all. Priceless!