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Get off the beaten track in Dorset, and explore some of these hidden locations.

Dorset is well-known for some spectacular places to visit, and we’re sure you already have Durdle Door, Westbay, Corfe Castle and Studland Bay on your list, but there’s so much more just waiting to be discovered. Some of these are more secret than others, but most are free and well worth adding to any trip to Swanage Stop & Stay.

1. Chapman’s Pool

Chapman’s Pool is a beautiful spot and a great place to spend a few hours getting away from it all. A pretty little hidden cove nestled in the Isle of Purbeck. The Pool is not the easiest of places to reach (park at Renscombe Car Park near Worth Matravers and walk along the path) but that’s one of its charms and it is generally not as busy as many of the other sights in the area.

2. Church Ope Cove & St Andrew’s Church (Ruins)

Located on the Isle of Portland, Church Ope Cove is a secluded shingle beach surrounded by cliffs. The beach is a great base for swimming and snorkelling.

It’s a short walk from the cove to the ruins of St Andrew’s Church – it is thought the church dates back as far as Saxon times, not much of the original church remains, but today the ruins are open to visitors and well worth exploring.

3. Tyneham Village

Visit the ghost village of Tyneham for a snapshot of life before WWII. The site, close to Lulworth Cove, was requisitioned by the MoD in 1943 and is now open to the public at specified times. Many buildings have suffered significant damage from training exercises and shelling, although the church and school house remain intact and have been preserved as museums.

4. Eype Beach

It’s easy to overlook Eype Beach, located about three miles from Bridport – its more well-known neighbours of Lyme Regis and West Bay tend to take the spotlight. If a less crowded beach is more your thing, then head to Eype for a pebble beach with some fantastic views of the coast and great coastal walks on offer too. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year.

5. Kimmeridge Bay

Perhaps one of the better-known destinations on our list, Kimmeridge still flies a little under the radar. Boasting the best rock pooling in Dorset and a great spot to witness the sunrise or sunset.

For amazing views over the bay and surrounding coastline, walk up to Clavell Tower – a Grade II listed Tuscan-style tower built in 1830. In 2006 – 2008, the tower was moved inland to protect it from cliff erosion.

6. Sandsfoot Castle & Gardens

Known originally as ‘Weymouth Castle’, Sandsfoot Castle was an artillery fort built for Henry VIII. Having played a part in the English Civil War, the fortress was abandoned by the military in 1665. The ruins were made safe most recently between 2009 – 2012 and the site is now open to the public.


7. Tout Quarry Sculpture Park

What to do with a huge abandoned stone quarry? Turn it into a nature reserve and sculpture park? Situated on the top of the Isle of Portland, with great views from the clifftop back towards Weymouth and the Fleet Lagoon, enjoy a relaxed walk around the quarry, discovering limestone sculptures as you go.

8. Moreton Splash

Moreton ford (or splash) is located on the River Frome, 7 miles east of Dorchester. This is the perfect spot to spend a lazy afternoon with a picnic. A popular spot for families this ford is shallow with some deeper sections further upstream, perfect for some wild swimming.

*Thanks to resortdorset.com for their suggestions and ideas

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