Dorset; Hardy country, beaches, the Jurassic Coast
This varied county has much gentle inland beauty. It is also home to the seaside resorts of Bournemouth and Weymouth, Poole with its natural harbour, perfect for sailing and surfing, Lyme Regis with its Cobb, described in The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Persuasion. Famous beaches includeChesil Beach, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, Dorchester is Hardy’s Casterbridge (his cottage is at Higher Bockhampton). Near Cerne Abbas is the priapic giant carved into a hillside. Historic buildings include Christchurch Priory, Sherborne abbey church and Wimborne Minster. Tolpuddle remembers its martyrs with a memorial, Maiden Castle is a vast prehistoric earthwork with stunning views. Visit the ancient Swannery at Abbotsbury, and the Prince of Wales’s purpose-built town of Poundbury.