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Dorset

Everything from an island, ancient coasts and hidden gems, to a castle, cottages and a home inspired by an Italian palace, there are plenty of things to do in Dorset.

Places to visit

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Top places to visit in Dorset

A mansion house seen at a distance across parkland
Place
Place

Kingston Lacy 

A lavish family home re-imagined as a Venetian Palace in the rural Dorset countryside.

Wimborne Minster, Dorset

Fully open today
View of the ruins of Corfe Castle, lit in golden autumn sunlight, with a hill in the background
Place
Place

Corfe Castle 

Thousand-year-old royal castle shaped by warfare.

Wareham, Dorset

Fully open today
Old Harry Rocks seen from the South West Coast Path in Studland Bay, Dorset
Place
Place

Studland Bay 

Vast area of sandy beaches and heathland.

near Swanage, Dorset

Fully open today
An aerial view of Brownsea Island, Dorset. Brownsea Island sits in the middle of Poole Harbour.
Place
Place

Brownsea Island 

Famous for red squirrels, wildlife and Scouting

Poole, Dorset

Fully open today
The Bookroom at Clouds Hill, Dorset
Place
Place

Clouds Hill 

The rural retreat of T. E. Lawrence

near Wareham, Dorset

Fully open today
View of Hardy's Cottage and the surrounding gardens from Thorncombe Woods, Dorset
Place
Place

Hardy's Birthplace 

Evocative cob and thatch cottage - birthplace of Thomas Hardy

near Dorchester, Dorset

Fully open today
Sunny view of the lawn, shrubs and red brick house at Max Gate. There is a white bench on the lawn.
Place
Place

Hardy' House, Max Gate 

Atmospheric Victorian home designed by Thomas Hardy

Dorchester, Dorset

Fully open today
White Mill on the River Stour, on the Kingston Lacy estate, Dorset
Place
Place

White Mill 

Corn mill with original wooden machinery in a peaceful riverside setting

near Wimborne Minster, Dorset

Fully open today

What's on this half term in and around Dorset

Make the most of the school holidays with a visit to one of the places we look after in Dorset. There are plenty of events and activities including story-telling, trebuchet testing, family trails, bushcraft workshops, the chance to become a nature detective, ‘blooming’ craft sessions and bug hunting.

Children swordfighting at Corfe Castle, Dorset

Family-friendly places in Dorset 

There's all sorts to do in Dorset with the family, including discovering places to explore in gardens, parks, the countryside and on the beach.

Volunteering in Dorset

Making new friends, working in amazing places, and knowing that you're helping a great cause - just three great reasons to volunteer with the National Trust in Dorset.

A volunteer clearing bracken in the woods at Studland Bay, Dorset
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Volunteering opportunities at Studland Bay 

Volunteers play a big part in caring for habitats and helping visitors across Purbeck and we are always looking for friendly and passionate people to join our teams. Come along to our Purbeck volunteer recruitment event on Saturday 20 January to learn more.

Volunteers planting trees as part of the Parkland Project at Oxburgh Hall
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Volunteering at White Mill 

Find out all you need to know about joining the volunteer team at White Mill, from the kind of work our volunteers help with and how to get in touch.

A volunteer talks to visitors at Kingston Lacy, Dorset
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Volunteering at Kingston Lacy 

There are numerous ways that you can volunteer with the National Trust at Kingston Lacy. Find out how to join our team.

Two volunteers in National Trust jackets sit at a picnic table on Studland Beach, sharing drinks and cake
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Supporter groups in Dorset 

Whether you want to get hands on helping with conservation work in the great outdoors, or enjoy special talks and visits to properties and gardens, find a group for you.

Places to stay in Dorset

Stay at a National Trust holiday cottage, or campsite, in Dorset and discover more above this special county.

The exterior of South Shore Lodge, Brownsea Island

South Shore Lodge, Brownsea 

Perfectly placed for sea views and island adventures.

The exterior of Westwood Farm, Dorset

Westwood Farm House 

New. A rustic farmhouse close to Corfe Castle and the South West Coast Path.

The loggia at The Cheese House on Westwood Farm, Dorset

The Cheese House 

Discover golden beaches, ruined castles and rolling countryside from this cosy, rural escape at the heart of the Jurassic coast.

The exterior of 524 Pamphill Green, Dorset

524 Pamphill Green Cottage 

An eye-catching thatched cottage on the Kingston Lacy estate, where you’ll find miles of footpaths through lush rolling countryside waiting to be explored.

The exterior of Greenlands, Studland, Dorset

Greenlands 

At the edge of Poole Harbour, with green fields all around this 1940s cottage has views to Brownsea Island.

The exterior of Groom's Cottage, Corfe Castle, Dorset

Groom's Cottage 

In the shadow of Corfe Castle, this former groom’s cottage is a quirky retreat in a historic village.

The exterior of Portland House Portland House, Weymouth, Dorset

Portland House 

Get a spectacular taste of 1930’s glamour in this stunning Art-Deco, Hollywood -Spanish inspired style villa on the Dorset coast.

The exterior of Middlebere Farmhouse, Dorset

Middlebere Farmhouse 

A picture-perfect thatch cottage with modern rustic interiors, close to Poole Harbour.

Places to camp in Dorset

The area surrounding Weston Farm Motorhome Site, Dorset

Weston Farm Motorhome Site 

Five sea-view pitches in the grounds of an old dairy farm, with walks inland to the Purbeck hills or to Chapman’s Pool on the Jurassic Coast.

Kingston Lacy Motorhome Site, Dorset

Kingston Lacy Motorhome Site 

A peaceful site surrounded by grassland and ancient trees on the Kingston Lacy estate, a short stroll from the house and gardens.

Weston Farm Campsite, Dorset

Weston Farm Campsite 

A meadow campsite just off the South West Coast Path, with walks inland to the Purbeck hills or to Chapman’s Pool on the Jurassic Coast.

Camping at Brownsea Island Campsite, Dorset

Camping on Brownsea Island 

An island campsite that feels a world away from the nearby mainland, surrounded by thriving habitats for rare species, trails and views of the Purbeck Hills.

Sustainable travel

Looking for greener travel options to the places in our care in Dorset? Find out how you can travel by train, bus, bike or on foot.

A female walker on the coast path near Burton Bradstock on a sunny day in early April
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Sustainable travel in Dorset 

There are a number of sustainable options for travelling to and from the places in our care in Devon, whether you’re looking to travel by train, bus, bike or foot. Here’s a little more information that can help you plan your visit.

Upcoming events

Event

Seahorse Quiz Trail 

Studland Bay, near Swanage, Dorset

How much do you know about seahorses? Come and test your knowledge on our seahorse quiz trail. Follow it to the end to find Neptune the seahorse!

Event summary

on
27 May to 2 Jun 2024
at
09:00 to 17:00
+ 6 other dates or times
Event

Medieval Tile Workshop 

Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset

Join our friendly artisan volunteers as they demonstrate the medieval craft of tile making in our 15th style timber frame workshop.

Event summary

on
27 May to 16 Dec 2024
at
10:00 to 12:30
+ 29 other dates or times
Event

May Half-Term Nature Detectives 

Studland Bay, near Swanage, Dorset

Do you fancy yourself an amateur detective? Do you love nature? Come and borrow one of our Nature Detective bags free of charge this half term.

Event summary

on
27 May to 2 Jun 2024
at
10:00 to 15:00
+ 6 other dates or times
Event

May Half Term 

Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset

Have fun this half term as you follow our interactive trail and learn some fascinating facts about animal poo.

Event summary

on
27 May to 2 Jun 2024
at
10:00 to 16:30
+ 6 other dates or times
Event

May Half Term 

Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset

Join in with family friendly activities this half term.

Event summary

on
27 May to 2 Jun 2024
at
10:00 to 17:00
+ 6 other dates or times
Event

Rooted in the ruins family quest 

Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset

Discover the plants that call Corfe Castle home with this new family quest.

Event summary

on
27 May to 18 Jul 2024
at
10:00 to 17:00
+ 52 other dates or times
Event

Keeper of the Castle: Storytelling tours 

Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset

At the gateway to Purbeck, Corfe Castle has stood watch for a thousand years. It has been a fortress, prison, family home and has even drawn the attention of German spies.

Event summary

on
27 May to 1 Sep 2024
at
10:00 to 17:30
+ 20 other dates or times
Event

Corfe Castle Village May Fair 

Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset

Visit the castle and enjoy a traditional May Fair celebration organised by Corfe Castle Village.

Event summary

on
27 May 2024
at
10:00 to 18:00
Small girl running between conical topiary hedges in the Cherry Garden at Ham House

Where will you visit next?

Discover lots of gardens, historic houses, days out at the coast and more.