Dorset – where Slow Travel meets beautiful Land and Seascapes

Dorset is where the South West 660 Adventure starts. A county known for its literary connections, beautiful countryside, towns and villages, and allegedly the only county in Britain without a motorway. And if that is true, and why wouldn’t it be, then what better place to start our Slow Travel Adventure? By taking the chain ferry at Sandbanks, crossing the inlet to Poole Harbour to Purbeck Island, your journey should start with the ultimate feeling of freedom; leaving the main land and starting the ultimate Road Trip in the South West of England. And freedom is what a Road Trip is all about!

Did you know that an amazing 40% of Dorset is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This route is entirely within the AONB and leads through the heart of the very best bits.

Corfe Castle’s romantic hilltop ruins provide one of Dorset’s most photogenic panoramas. Have smartphones ready, particularly at sunset. There are pretty walks in all directions and the chocolate-box village is full of traditional teashops and pubs.

Hop onto a boat from Poole Quay or Sandbanks to see red squirrels on the National Trust’s Brownsea Island or simply park on the harbourside to gaze across the vast natural harbour. It’s always busy with watersporters.

A few yards away, the seafront beach is long, clean and sandy. Then admire the superhomes of the rich and famous as you drive through Sandbanks to the ferry. The four-minute crossing reaches Studland peninsular, a nature reserve of dunes and heath with another long sandy beach leading to the spectacular King Harry Rocks.

The Isle of Portland is a geographical oddity, joined by the narrow strip of Chesil Beach pebbles to the resort of Weymouth – but very different. Driving across the causeway to Portland you enter a very different atmosphere. There’s an old red-and-while lighthouse overlooking some of the UK’s most turbulent seas and great walks along daunting cliffs. This hard white Portland Stone has been quarried for centuries to construct much of Westminster and St Pauls.

Whatever you do however, remember a Road Trip is all about freedom, you simply cannot go wrong in this stunning part of the South West of England. But be warned, it will whet your appetite for more, and it won’t be long before you will be planning the remaining 11 sections of South West 660!

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Where will you start your Dorset adventure?

Discovering Dorset's
dramatic coastline

Sandbanks - Weymouth

Weymouth - Lyme Regis

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