There’s no shortage of beauty spots and scenic settings in Dorset, so it’s little wonder that Instagram has been flooded by stunning photos from all corners of this breathtaking county.
Here’s seven much-loved Dorset locations that continue to attract the hearts and hashtags…
The giant, natural limestone arch known as Durdle Door has stood for more than 10,000 years on the Jurassic Coast and remains one of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks. A natural cliff path leads down to Durdle Door beach which is open to the public and forms part of the Lulworth Estate. The name ‘Durdle’ has its origins in Old English and is derived from ‘thirl’ meaning to bore or pierce. This incredible natural structure is sure to get your camera snapping.
Pulpit Rock, Portland Bill
The quarrying relic know as Pulpit Rock is a prominent coastal feature at the tip of Portland Bill, Dorset’s southernmost point. The rocky outpost is believed to depict an open bible leaning against a pulpit, standing today as a popular tourist attraction. It’s surrounded by ‘Snail Shore’, a rocky sarcophagus for prehistoric snail, oyster and mollusc shells, creatures that once thrived on the Jurassic seabed 150 million years ago. During stormier weather the sea pounds the rocks with gigantic waves whipping up towering sprays and making for some dramatic images.
The sparkling turquoise waters of Lulworth Cove is the focal point for a stunning panorama enjoyed by thousands of people every year. This unique landscape was formed by melting ice during the last Ice Age under the combined forces of a swollen river and the rising ocean. Today, Lulworth Cove is a captivating feature of Dorset’s majestic Jurassic Coast and a gleaming backdrop to many a photo. The cove was also the inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s famous poem ‘At Lulworth Cove a Century Back’.
St Catherine’s Chapel
Set in glorious isolation on an Abbotsbury hilltop stands St Catherine’s Chapel. Built in the 14th century by the Benedictine monks of Abbotsbury Abbey, those who make the pilgrimage along Chapel Lane and then up the grassy slopes are greeted with spectacular views towards Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland. The chapel is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a princess and scholar, and its ‘wishing holes’ are believed to be where local women once knelt in prayer to the venerated saint in their search for husbands. The remote and idyllic location of the chapel along with its all-encompassing views make it an ever-popular focal point.
Despite being partially destroyed by Roundheads during the English Civil War, Corfe Castle remains one of Britain’s best-loved ruins, capturing the imaginations of all those who visit. The remnants of the castle stand upon tufty mounts amid the splendour of the surrounding Purbeck Hills it once protected.
Step back in time when you trace its secret passages past ‘murder holes’ and arrow loops, with tales of ‘treason and treachery’ at every turn. This historic site makes for some of Instagram’s most haunting and atmospheric photos.
Old Harry Rocks
Of all of Dorset’s many landmarks, the chalk-white sea stacks at Handfast Point must be the most striking. Known locally as Old Harry Rocks, these towering outcrops are believed to be named after the infamous Dorset pirate Harry Paye who sailed out of Poole Harbour. The stacks were originally mighty sea arches which succumbed to rain and wind leaving the towering plateaus standing alone in the clear waters of Studland Bay. Continual erosion has taken its toll on the rocks, in particular, Old Harry’s Wife, who has been reduced to a defiant, chalky stump. Every year people traverse the Purbeck coastal path to have their picture taken with ‘Old Harry’ in the background as he stands the tests of time.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
The spectacular subtropical gardens at Abbotsbury are a sanctuary for rare and exotic plants. This breathtaking enclave combines woodland walks with walled gardens and waterways, cultivating formal and informal horticultural displays that bask in the coastal valley’s unique microclimate. World-famous for its magnificent camellia and magnolia groves and noted for its rhododendron and hydrangea collections, the gardens run regular seasonal events and guided walks. If you’re lucky enough to visit, don’t forget your camera!
Our Dorset holiday cottages are all pretty as pictures. Take a look at our impressive list of seaside properties and start planning your journey to the Jurassic Coast.