There’s a little bit of everything in Dorset; uncover a few of our favourite destinations in this guide on things to do and places to stay for every member of your group.
A place of luxury cars and second homes, this beautiful county encapsulates the English landscape in a unique way with millions of years of history lining the remarkable coast. This sought-after destination is unlike any other as it can lay claim to the phenomenal Jurassic Coastline, known for the fossil-laden cliffs that tower above sandy beaches and sparkling sea.
Our collection of large group accommodation and large holiday homes in Dorset includes everything from glass-fronted contemporary escapes with hot tubs, swimming pools and sea views, to landed manor houses that are hundreds of years old.
With so much to see and do, and beautiful places to stay, this wonderful county has something for everyone during Dorset holidays, whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure or a place that the children will love. Read on and you’ll find an activity and big cottage to suit each and every member of your group.
Begin planning your escape and browse through our large houses to rent to discover your ideal luxury getaway in the ancient and incomparable county of Dorset.
Who will you be whisking away on a Dorset holiday? We have an activity for each and every member of your group:
THE LAID-BACK ONE
Beaches all along the stunning coastline provide plenty of chances to go for a dip among the waves or settle down on the sand for a snooze during a Dorset holiday. Set foot on the pebbles of Dorset’s famously beautiful beach, Lulworth Cove, and see the ancient iconic archway of Durdle Door. For a chilled day by the sea, you could spend the day in and out of the shops and cafes of one of the pretty villages lining the shore then lie out the beach towel to read or nap on a sandy shore. Otherwise spend your holiday drifting from National Trust estates to pretty villages and following scenic walks with breathtaking views.
A LUXURY HOLIDAY COTTAGE WHERE YOU CAN UNWIND: SEAFORTH
Worth Matravers, Dorset | sleeps 10
With views of the sea and the sheltered sandy beach of Swanage just 4 miles down the road, this holiday home by the sea is the ideal place to sit and unwind. Let the sound of the waves wash over you and listen to the seagulls calling in the distance. During Dorset holidays, wander from Worth Matravers down to Chapman's Pool, a quiet sandy cove near the stunning headland, St Albans Head, or take a trip to the horseshoe-shaped Lulworth Cove, 16 miles away.
THE ADVENTURE-SEEKING ONE
Diving into sea caves, clambering up cliff faces, and jumping into the deep ocean waters – coasteering is an essential outdoor activity if you are an adventure lover on a trip down to beautiful Dorset; it’s an exciting way to get to know the Jurassic Coast. The Isle of Purbeck offers up some top coasteering with Dorset Coasteering, Jurassic Coast Adventures and Land & Wave all based there.
A RETREAT WITH BIG STYLE FOR BIG ADVENTURES: ARNE COTTAGE
Isle of Purbeck, Dorset | sleeps 10
With the all-essential holiday destination location of the Isle of Purbeck, this light and bright cottage with French doors from the kitchen allow sunlight to flood the house and guests to step straight outside into the fresh air. Nearby there is also an RSPB Reserve so you can go walking. In the lounge, there are plenty of big comfy sofas where everyone can collapse after an exciting day exploring and adventuring across Dorset.
It may conjure up images of rural landscapes and sleepy villages, but there’s plenty of nightlife if you know where to look during Dorset holidays. Poole and Bournemouth in particular are vibrant towns with vibrant nightlife; start the night in the trendy day bar Banana Wharf then head over to the super-cool Drift Micro Bar for a few drinks. Enjoy live music over at Blue Boar or relax with a game of pool or darts at the Queen Mary Inn, and why not end the night with a midnight stroll down by the pier?
A PARTY HOUSE FOR SPECIAL CELEBRATIONS: WOODRIDINGS
Poole (3mls E), Dorset |sleeps 8
Just 3 miles from Poole, this 1930s house encapsulates style. A large garden and suave interior with wood floors, and a soft neutral colour palette made up of greys and blues: it’s the ideal place to get together with a group of mates for a celebration or catch-up.
THE CREATIVE ONE
Sculpture by the Lakes is a renowned gallery and gardens with stunning large pieces of artwork set amongst the beautiful greenery for you to uncover. It’s run by the sculptor Simon Gudgeon who’s known for the smooth-style bronze birds that you’ll find throughout the gardens and there are often exhibitions showcasing a range of other artists in a variety of mediums.
A BEAUTIFUL BIG HOUSE FOR THOSE WITH AN ARTIST'S EYE: WOODBURY MEADOW BARN
Dorchester, Dorset | sleeps 8
Inside the house, large wooden beams hang across the lounge and kitchen - two restful spaces that are made up from a mix of soft pastel tones and quirky features including a wood and metal chandelier. Outside, the patio creates a beautiful space to sit and dine surrounded by plants and the orange-bricked holiday home.
THE ONE WHO CAN'T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT THEIR DOG
Corfe Castle is the ideal destination if you have a dog in tow with wonderful walking routes and the majestic ruins of the castle itself which welcomes pups on leads. National Trust-managed Corfe Castle runs a variety of events such as a medieval longbow tournament, which you can watch, and a quest to get children involved in the incredible history of this ancient structure. Follow the dog-friendly Corfe Common History Walk or explore the cobbled streets of the village beneath the castle ruins.
AN ELEGANT DOG-FRIENDLY DORSET RETREAT: WELL COURT
Corfe Castle, Dorset | sleeps 11
Welcoming two dogs, this crooked cottage built in the 17th century has a grassy outdoor area complete with interesting foliage for pups to nose about in, and large seating areas where everyone can cosy up, including a library space and lounge. Let the dog rest his or her paws in front of the wood burner after a day full of walkies and adventure.
THE LITTLE ONES
Take the youngest members of your group to meet the monkeys at Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre - with cheeky chimpanzees, adorable gibbons and magnificent orangutans to see, it’s a top day out for kids. Another fun attraction is Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park: they’re all about young families! Children can get up close with alpacas, deer and donkeys before heading off for a tractor ride, go-karts or a go on the bouncy castle.
A STYLISH FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY HOME BY THE COAST: BRAESIDE
Studland, Dorset | sleeps 8
This elegant coastal holiday home has an enclosed glass terrace with a view of the sea and a big grassy lawn where little ones can run about. It’s 15 miles from Monkey World, 17 miles from Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park and less than a mile from Studland Nature Reserve and sheltered sandy beach.
THE INDULGENT ONE
We all know that person who loves a little indulgence and likes to be spoilt – after all, that’s part of a luxury holiday! For the guest who adores that extra touch of luxury, the cottage itself can provide everything that is needed to make the holiday everything it needs to be. Hot tubs or pools, saunas or BBQ huts: these all add to the feeling that this holiday is all about you.
A LUXURY LARGE COTTAGE TO SPOIL YOUR GUESTS: THE THATCHED COTTAGE
Dorchester, Dorset | sleeps 12
The private hot tub is the ideal way to luxuriate while on holiday, but this charming thatched cottage even has a shared sauna and steam room where guests can pamper themselves; a shared tennis court to take advantage of during Wimbledon season (or any other season for that matter) and a shared swimming pool - enjoy a dip on warm summer days or refreshing early morning swims as the sun rises.
AND YOUR ONLY ONE
If you’ve taken your other half on holiday with you, in particular, or if you’re travelling with an adult group, we’d recommend a trip to Weymouth. A lovely spot for a relaxed adult getaway, you can explore SEALIFE aquarium, the ruins of Nothe Fort or Sandsfoot Castle, or the bird haven of RSPB Radipole Lake in the centre of town. When you find a spare moment, slip away from your party for a stroll along the harbour and pit stop at a café to unwind and watch the boats drifting out to sea.
A BIG HOLIDAY HOME WITH ENDLESS ROMANCE: COBBLESTONE HOUSE
Friar Waddon, Dorset | sleeps 8
A sweet bolthole for big groups, this stylish escape has an interior of charming romantic décor and two lounging areas with skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows/doors flooding the rooms with light. One leads straight onto the gravelled garden, while the other has a quaint terrace and views of greenery. A wood burner offers a place to snuggle up in the evenings while outside sits a pretty table and chairs set for al fresco dining.
Dorset holidays are full of excitement, adventure and relaxation if you know where to look. Set foot on some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches or take the children to meet monkeys and deer at the Dorset attractions. You can take your dog for walkies around ancient Corfe Castle or stroll along pretty Weymouth Harbour with your loved one. There’s something for every member of your group during a trip to this wonderful county.
Begin planning your getaway to the South Coast by perusing our luxury collection of large cottages to rent in Dorset.
Or, if you’d rather travel a little further afield, why not discover our full range of big holiday retreats across Europe?