Scenic Drives in Dorset
Dorset is one of the most beautiful counties in the country. Its idyllic location close to the countryside and coast provides a number of spectacular views. All are waiting to be enjoyed as you explore some of the scenic drives in the area.
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely Sunday drive or planning a number of road trips there’s a number of view points to discover. Close to our award-winning holiday parks, there are plenty of stunning routes that show off the very best scenery. Here’s our pick of scenic drives in Dorset.
Bridport to Weymouth
The Jurassic Coast Road is an absolute must during a stay at one of the West Dorset Leisure Holidays Parks. The route has been voted 16th in the top 50 greatest drives in the UK. It is a favourite among classic car enthusiasts and bike clubs.
The coastal road stretches 18 miles from West Bay to Weymouth and offers beautiful vistas in every direction. Stunning sea views can be enjoyed for much of the drive as well as a glimpse of some of Dorset’s best loved countryside.
Stunning views over Chesil Beach
A highlight of the trip is the section just outside of Abbotsbury. From the top of the hill drivers can take in far reaching views over Chesil Beach, the Fleet Lagoon and towards the Isle of Portland. The tops of Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens abundant trees can be seen as you look out into the distance and historic St Catherine’s Chapel occupies a commanding position on the hillside. There is a large lay-by on each side of the road, where you can stop to take a photo. There is often a welcome ice cream truck parked here. This means you can sample a delicious snack whilst you admire the scenery.
The road snakes down into Abbotsbury village. Here you’ll find idyllic thatched cottages and a small selection of independent shops and galleries. The road gets a bit narrow and windy here, so take care in larger vehicles. You can follow this road on to the seaside resort of Weymouth, or you could stop here to visit tourist attractions such as the Play Barn or Abbotsbury Swannery. If you’d prefer to leave the car on site and let someone else do the driving, take a trip on the x53 bus. The buses that serve this route are double decker, so you can enjoy the views from an elevated position.
Wimborne Minster to Blandford
We recommend a drive down the Avenue of Beech Trees into your stay at one of our holiday parks in Dorset. Located on the Kingston Lacy Estate, which includes a stately home owned by the National Trust, this scenic road is beautiful whatever time of year you choose to visit.
Perfectly spaced Beech trees line both sides of the road forming a spectacular canopy overhead. The twisting branches reach in every direction, creating an enchanting backdrop. It looks like something straight out of a mystical film. It is thought that 365 trees were planted on one side and 366 on the other – a tree for every day of the year and a leap year.
In the autumn the leaves turn beautiful hues of orange and yellow, which attracts landscape photographers hoping to capture the stunning scenery illuminated by the fading light. A drive here can incorporate a walk at Badbury Rings – an Iron Age Hill fort with magnificent views over the Dorset Countryside.
Wyke to Portland Bill
The drive to Portland is enjoyable in all seasons, thanks to the fantastic sea views that stretch in every direction. As you emerge onto Portland Beach road, the only route on and off of the ‘the Island’, you will be greeted with your first glimpse of Portland Harbour. It is the largest man-made harbour in the world.
On a windy day kite surfers dart across the water, often maintaining the same speed as your vehicle. It’s an impressive sight, seeing the multicoloured sails soar high in the sky as the board riders perform a variety of flips and tricks!
To the right, The Fleet is another spectacle not to be missed. This saltwater lagoon is flanked by Chesil bank, creating a pretty backdrop. At high water small boats float high on their mooring. When the tide goes out a number of sandbars are exposed and it’s not uncommon to see fisherman wading through the water as they try to land their catch.
Sea views in every direction
Continue onto the Island and follow the climbing road up to ‘top hill’. After you’ve passed through the residential areas, you’ll emerge onto Southwell Road where you’ll see the sea again. Eventually you’ll pick up High Street and this is where the views get really special. Beyond the fields the sea crashes against the cliffs. You’ll see yachts, fishing boats and cargo vessels as they make their way across the channel.
This route is particularly special on a blustery winter’s day. You’ll experience the full force of nature with rolling waves and stormy skies, without having to leave the warmth and comfort of your car. The road culminates at Portland Bill, where you can park and go for a walk to stretch your legs. Portland Bill’s red and white lighthouse is an iconic landmark. The Crab House Café is well worth a visit too!
On your way back to our camping and touring parks make sure you continue clockwise around the island so you’ll have the opportunity to take in more views on your scenic drive. As you descend into Underhill on your way home, you’ll be treated to a glimpse of Chesil Cove and a large stretch of Chesil Beach.
Swanage to Corfe
Although the drive from Swanage to Corfe is only short, we still think it’s one of the most scenic drives in Dorset. The route is only a couple of miles long. On a warm summer day you can experience glorious countryside for much of the journey. In the distance, the Purbeck Hills tower high above the surrounding patchwork farmland. Farm animals can be seen grazing in the fields on both sides of the road.
The final section of the route, is in our opinion, the prettiest. The village of Corfe is quaint and it feels like you’ve entered a bygone era. As you follow the winding road through the pretty streets, you’ll see Corfe Castle emerge in the distance. Perched high on the hill top, the ruins form a foreboding figure overlooking the village. The road passes the base of the Castle, where you’ll find a gift shop, tea rooms and selection of pubs in the Village Square. Not far from here there’s ample National Trust parking. Make a pit stop here to explore the village at your leisure.
You can continue to the market town of Wareham to finish your day. There’s also an excellent detour to Studland if you take a right hand turn after exiting the village. Midway along this route there’s a viewing area. Here you can stop to take in stunning views over Studland Bay and Poole Harbour.
Lulworth Cove to Kimmeridge Bay
Many visitors to our holiday parks in Dorset choose to visit Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door during their stay. However, if you venture a little further afield from these popular tourist hotspots there is another scenic drive, which can be experienced as part of a trip to lesser known Tyneham Village, Kimmeridge or Worbarrow Bay.
Start at Lulworth Castle and take a right turn onto the country lane. The land here is owned by the Ministry of Defence so you may want to check whether it is going to be open ahead of your journey. Once you’re through the gate the road winds up the hillside. This affords you a unique vantage point over the traditional Dorset fencing of the firing ranges below.
The landscape here is fairly baron which is a stark contrast to the surrounding area. But it’s incredibly unique due to its use as a military training ground. Dotted amongst the fields you’ll see targets, disused tanks and armoured vehicles.