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Holiday cottages in Dorset

Is Dorset the prettiest county in Britain? It’s certainly a strong contender, with its rocky coastline and rolling countryside. In fact, over half the county’s landscape is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Explore one of the many walking or cycling routes, like the Wessex Ridgeway – or cheat and take the car.

Sights include the Cerne Abbas giant, formed from lines carved into a chalk hillside, and Corfe Castle, the ruin which dominates the skyline above the Isle of Purbeck. Iron Age hill forts, like Hambledon Hill, reward you for the climb with fantastic views. There are few large towns in Dorset. Dorchester, Blandford Forum and Wimborne Minster are all pretty places to go shopping or stop for a coffee; Wimborne has a weekend market.

Dorset’s beaches have won awards for safety and cleanliness. Enjoy a swim, hunt for fossils or just take in the view at Lulworth Cove or Durdle Door. Go bird watching at Poole Harbour, or take the ferry across to Brownsea Island for the chance to spot a red squirrel. There’s plenty to do indoors, too. Poole has a SeaLife Centre, and there are museums galore, from Bovington’s Tank Museum to Dorchester’s Tutankhamun Exhibition.

Choosing a self-catering holiday cottage will help you get the most out of your break. Where else are you free to come in wearing muddy boots, eat fish and chips in the living-room and deposit live crabs in the bath?