There is no better way to explore Dorset than in a campervan hired from Shore Campers. Enjoy the freedom to go where you want, when you want – there’s lots to see and do! We’re lucky to be surrounded by 87 miles of coastline and amazing landscapes for exploring. Add some of these stops onto your list for your next campervan adventure.
Dorset coast and countryside by campervan
If you want to visit a UK beach there is no better option than a beach in Dorset in our opinion! Dorset’s beaches frequently win awards and appear in “best UK beaches” lists – Bournemouth Beach has been the UK’s number one beach on TripAdvisor for the last few years. Relax on the beach or find a nearby activity – you can find every type of watersport, walk the coastal path and enjoy the sights of Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast, take the kids crabbing or rockpooling, or explore a nearby harbour or port.
If you prefer to escape to the country and stay inland, you’ll find lots of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, as well as rolling hills, patchwork fields, and quaint towns and villages with plenty of character and history. Enjoy Dorset’s varied landscapes, explore Iron Age hill forts or walk through Thorncombe Woods to end up at Thomas Hardy’s cottage, visit Corfe Castle, or check out the Cerne Abbas Giant.
Dorset attractions to visit
Dorset has museums to suit every taste – our favourites include the Russell-Cotes Museum, the Etches Collection (Museum of Jurassic Marine Life), the Bournemouth Aviation Museum, and the Dinosaur Museum. The Dorset County Museum in Dorchester is currently undergoing a big refurb and will re-open this summer.
Great places for family days out in Dorset include Monkey World, the Weymouth Sea Life Centre, the Tank Museum, Adventure Wonderland, Moors Valley or various farm parks like Fancy’s Farm on Portland, Kingston Maurward Animal Park or Farmer Palmers. Or enjoy a boat ride, or go on the steam train from Swanage.
There are plenty of castles or country houses and gardens to enjoy, including Lulworth Castle, Portland Castle (incidentally where we got married!), Highcliffe Castle and Sherborne Castle. We also have Athelhampton House, Forde Abbey and Kingston Lacey.
Festivals and fairs in Dorset
All around Dorset we have rich music, visual arts and crafts, literature, film, and entertainment scenes, with full calendars of events. These include:
Music festivals like Camp Bestival, Wimborne Minster Folk Festival, Teddy Rocks Festival, Swanage Blues Festival, and Jazz Jurassica.
Cultural events – take in some art, dance, music or theatre – like Dorset Art Week, Bournemouth Arts by the Sea, Shaftesbury Fringe, b-side festival, or Inside Out Festival.
Food Festivals including Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth, Spring Tide Food Festival, Christchurch Food Festival, Mudeford Seafood Festival, Great Dorset Chilli Festival, Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival.
Sporting events and festivals – Bournemouth 7s Festival, the Beach Sports Festival in Weymouth (including the Beach Volleyball Classic and Royal Navy rugby and football), British Beach Polo Championships, Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival, Run Bournemouth, and Weymouth Beach Motocross in October.
Dorset has several Country Fayre type of events – such as Dorset County Show, Melplash Show, Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show, and The Great Dorset Steam Fair, and many smaller village fetes, fairs and carnivals.
There are many other wild and wonderful festivals like the Bridport Hat Festival, Purbeck Pirate Festival in Swanage, the Dorset Knob Throwing Festival (set to return in 2021), and of course the Bournemouth Air Festival.
Campsites in Dorset
Large or small, and with all different types of facilities, there are plenty of campsites perfect for your campervan holiday in Dorset.
There are various websites or apps that will help you find a good place to camp in Dorset, including pitchup.com, searchforsites and park4night. We are also a member of the Camping and Caravanning Club’s privilege scheme, which means you can stay with the campervan at any of their participating Club Sites and Camping in the Forest sites at discounted rates.
Below are some of Dorset’s finest – either where we have spent a few nights in a van or that we’ve heard lots of good things about from our hirers:
Norden Farm – Purbeck is always a popular choice with our hirers and Norden Farm is a great spot close to Corfe Castle. It’s a working farm with a well-stocked shop and great facilities. No restaurant but they regularly host food vans.
South Lytchett Manor – Award-winning site with friendly staff, generous pitches, clean and modern facilities and well-kept grounds. Good central Dorset location as a base for exploring nearby towns.
Martleaves Farm – A relaxing and quiet small campsite with a little shop and award-winning loos! It’s on a working farm so you’ll also share the hillside with sheep, horses, alpacas and chickens. Spectacular views across Chesil – it’s very close to the South West Coastal Path and the fleet estuary.
Gaggle of Geese – the Gaggle of Geese is a friendly village pub with a nice quiet space to camp in the field behind the pub, surrounded by fields and trees. Clean and simple facilities in the camping field – the toilets even have kegs as cisterns! We were made very welcome, enjoyed the home-made pub meals and enjoyed going back to the campervan for a campfire in the rented firepit.
Highlands End Holiday Park – a holiday park full of facilities and amenities – bar and restaurant, swimming pool, sauna and steam room, pitch n putt, soft play, live music and entertainment. Great views and walks, close to beaches.