Dorset Bucket List: Top 10 Places to Visit

Toad Hall Cottages’ Dorset Bucket List

We love hearing about all your wonderful Dorset days out; from the giant limestone arch at Durdle Door to the hilltop ruins of Corfe Castle, this remarkable region continues to thrill and delight all those who visit.


Toad Hall Cottages has a long and impressive list of holiday homes scattered all the way along Dorset’s glorious coastline and nestled into its beautiful rolling countryside.

In celebration of all your adventures, we’ve plucked out ten of your top Dorset attractions that continue to leave you spellbound, cock-a-hoop and longing to return.

Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove

Standing sentinel on the Jurassic Coast for more than 10,000 years, Durdle Door is a giant arch that has been shaped and sculpted by the centuries to become one of Dorset’s most iconic (and photographed) landmarks. You can follow a cliff pass down to Durdle Door beach to marvel at the arch from ground level. The name ‘Durdle’ has its origins in Old English and is derived from ‘thirl’ meaning to bore or pierce. A mile to the east lies Lulworth Cove, a sparkling clam shaped natural harbour that is widely recognised as a geological phenomenon.

Gold Hill

The steep cobbled lane known as Gold Hill in the mid-Dorset town of Shaftesbury was the setting for one of the nation’s favourite cameos. The classic Hovis advert of the 1970s, which sees a young baker’s boy pushing his bike up the cottage-lined street to deliver a fresh loaf to ‘Old Ma Pegotty’, the last stop on the round, was directed by none other than Ridley Scott. People still flock to the hill to indulge in some nostalgia and enjoy the gorgeous views past the thatched rooftops and towards the rolling hills beyond.

Lyme Regis

Known as the ‘Pearl of Dorset’, the seaside town of Lyme Regis is one of the county’s most popular tourist resorts and is also home to some of Toad Hall’s most charming coastal holiday cottages. From beach days and fossil finds to garden walks, museum talks and afternoons at the aquarium, Lyme Regis is the ideal setting for an enthralling family day out and is the perfect base for all your Dorset adventures.


Kingston Lacy

Take a trip to the heart of Dorset to discover one of the UK’s most renowned stately homes. Full of ancient family relics and eccentric curiosities, the house itself was built with Italian design and remains an architectural icon. Behind the walls are lavish rooms adorned by high art, the genius of such eminent artists as Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel. Outside, you’ll be able to explore 8,500 acres of estate, from the manicured south lawn and the sunken Japanese Garden to the sweeping heathland, scenic water meadows and ancient woodland beyond.

Old Harry Rocks

The towering chalk-white sea stacks known as Old Harry Rocks stand off the cliffs at Handfast Point on the stunning Studland peninsula. These striking plateaus were once fully formed arches that finally succumbed to the ocean’s relentless battering. Traverse the Purbeck coastal path to gaze at these famous and defiant outcrops that continue to endure the tests of time. Some say that the name Old Harry has its origins in the skulduggeries of the infamous pirate and smuggler Harry Paye who once sailed out of Poole Harbour chasing adventure and fortune. The coastal trail from Studland Village to Old Harry Rocks was recently voted as one of the nation’s favourite walks.

Corfe Castle

Set high up on the magnificent Purbeck hills stands one of Britain’s most visited castle ruins. Corfe Castle once guarded Dorset’s ancient realms and remains one of the most iconic survivors of the English Civil War. These ghostly ruins are riddled by arrow loops, crumbling walls, ‘murder holes’ and wrecked turrets, a tale of treachery to be found around every corner. Surrounded by breathtaking views and captivating coastal paths, whatever the weather a trip to Corfe Castle will be one to remember.


Hardy’s Cottage

It’s the cob and thatch cottage where acclaimed novelist and poet Thomas Hardy penned several of his early poems and short stories, and where he also wrote such novels as ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ and ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. This charming hideaway lies on the edges of Thorncombe Woods, beloved for tranquil, leafy paths and its sea of bluebells during spring. You can also visit Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre which offers a fascinating window into the Victorian era. Walk in the footsteps of one of the nation’s most celebrated writers and admire the setting that helped inspire him when you visit this delightful corner of Dorset.

The Cerne Abbas Giant

One hundred and eighty feet tall and wielding a large club in its right hand, the Cerne Abbas hill figure has been configured from chalk rubble and is believed to be the effigy of a Saxon deity; although there is also a counter theory that it’s a symbolic representation of the Ancient Greek hero, Hercules. This impressive giant is a striking feature against the gentle, verdant slopes and remains one of the region’s most enigmatic wonders. The surrounding Dorset countryside lies within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where you can enjoy blissful walks through the idyllic Cerne Valley.


It’s allegedly the fourth most expensive place to live in the world and has been dubbed Britain’s answer to Palm Beach; Sandbanks is a sandy peninsula that sweeps a beachy half mile along the sparkling waters of Poole Harbour. Not only does Sandbanks play host to several high-profile residents, including former Premier League football manager and ‘King of the Jungle’, Harry Redknapp, it’s also the setting for some of Toad Hall Cottages’ most luxurious properties; from stylish seaside apartments to swish open-plan beach houses with balconies and spectacular ocean views.


West Bay

Gaze in awe at the dramatic sandstone cliffs of West Bay, the ‘golden gateway’ to the Jurassic Coast. This spectacular stretch of headland continues to spellbind all those who walk these scenic shores or traverse the ranging cliff paths. Climb the Golden Cap, the highest point on the South Coast with a panorama that stretches all the way to Lyme Bay and the wilds of Dartmoor. This incredible setting is England’s only natural World Heritage Site, such is its geological significance. It was also the location for the award-winning ITV detective drama, Broadchurch….it would be a crime not to visit!

Check out Toad Hall’s flourishing list of Dorset Holiday Cottages. Whether you’re looking for a family town house by the sea, a couple’s retreat in a quiet countryside hamlet, or a dog-friendly cottage in a charming coastal parish, let Mr Toad be the ‘one stop hop’ towards your dream Dorset getaway.