Towns and Cities

Dorset has plenty of beautiful towns and villages but no cities.

Blandford Forum

Blandford Forum was a major market town during in medieval times because both the main road from Salisbury to Dorchester and Poole to Shaftesbury crosses the River Stour here.


Bournemouth has seven miles of golden sands.


Bridport is a small market town and fishing port, and for many years it was the main producer of ropes in the country. In the 13th century, Henry III made the town a Royal Borough.


Christchurch was settled during the Iron Age. From Saxon times, the Great Priory Church dominated a timber-walled town arranged in a grid system. It has an annual food festival.


Dorchester is the county town of Dorset.


Gillingham in the Blackmore Vale is the most northerly town in Dorset.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis is the most westerly town in Dorset. It’s famous for fossils and is the town associated with Mary Anning.


Historic Poole is Dorset’s largest town and it has one of the largest natural harbours in the world. The River Frome flows into the western end of the harbour.


Shaftesbury is one of the highest towns in England at over 750 feet above sea level. It’s home the famous Gold Hill used in Hovis adverts.


The town of Sherborne boasts its own castle and it also has a beautiful Abbey.


Stalbridge in the Blackmore Vale is close to the Somerset border, and it’s Dorset’s smallest town. The 15th century market cross, made from the local yellow Ham stone, is reputedly the best in England.


The town of Swanage is on the Isle Of Purbeck. Swanage Bay can give views as far as the Isle of Wight. Old Harry Rocks can be listed from here.


Wareham lies between the Rivers Frome and Piddle


Weymouth Bay has golden sands, safe bathing and it’s home to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy where the sailing events of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were based. It’s also a great place to visit Chesil Beach.


Wimborne lies on the River Stour and dates back to the beginning of the 8th century.