Dorset doesn’t quite have the fame of Cornwall and Devon, its near neighbours, and is a county that is often underestimated. However, Dorset is a beautiful part of the world with stunning countryside much of which has AONB status (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and not forgetting the Jurassic coastline which easily holds its own with other parts of the south-west.
Dorset is a county in South West England located on the English Channel coast. Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is located in in the south.
One of the jewels in Dorset’s crown is the Jurassic coastline, a stunning stretch of beautiful beaches and coves which dot this 200 million-year-old shoreline, now designated a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its outstanding and unique geological make-up. The Jurassic coastline is 95 miles long and stretches from Old Harry Rocks at Studland Bay in Dorset to Exmouth in East Devon with the most breath taking and far-reaching views. Fossil hunting may not be the primary concern of bridal parties but just the location and views alone will make a spectacular backdrop for your special day. Popular with holidaymakers, plan ahead with your venue and accommodation options for guests, particularly if you want to set a wedding date in the summer months.
Brides looking for a seaside theme should aim for the pretty coastal towns of Swanage, Lyme Regis or West Bay but if a country wedding is your plan, then the Dorset countryside has plenty to offer. An unspoilt rural idyll – known as ‘Hardy Country’ after the famous author, Thomas Hardy - Dorset is full of pretty, quaint villages and beautiful rolling scenery with an unspoilt and genuine charm that echoes back centuries.
For a town backdrop, Dorset has plenty of ancient and picturesque market towns with mellow stone facades like Shaftesbury, Weymouth, Sherborne and Lyme Regis, unspoilt by the development and urbanisation that has affected historic towns in other parts of the UK. Independent retailers are on hand to service wedding requirements with local cuisine a speciality.
Dorset has good transport links and is part of the South Western Railway network which has direct trains from London Waterloo to Bournemouth, Poole, Wareham, Dorchester and Weymouth. Dorset is one of only five counties in the UK not to have a motorway which in part explains its peaceful and olde worlde charm. It is however blessed with two trunk road corridors which provide good access from other parts of the country, the A303 London to Exeter road which enters the county for a short time and the A31 to the south which is a continuation of the M27 motorway. The Dorset coast offers a number of ferry ports for continental wedding guests and that all important escape for the honeymoon. There are three airports within ninety minutes’ drive, Bournemouth, Southampton and Exeter, and a train journey of between two and three hours can connect you with London Gatwick or London Heathrow.