ROute Section Number 1:
Sandbanks to Weymouth
Where to start...
After the old chain ferry chugs across the entrance to Poole Harbour you’ll drive off into the Isle of Purbeck with a glorious selection of country roads ahead. Choose between faster routes inland or loops of leafy lanes closer to the coast for a more wiggly scenic tour.
Use sat nav and maps to detour to the best sights, like Lulworth Cove and Corfe Castle. It’s easy to drive down to tiny seaside spots like Ringstead and Kimmeridge Bay too – but note that they’re down tiny dead-end lanes so you’ll have to come back the same way.
Did you know?
The Best Views
Poole Harbour and Studland
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 peninsula, a nature reserve of dunes and heath with another long sandy beach leading to the spectacular King Harry Rocks.
The Isle of Portland
During your trip
Other potential detours
At the far eastern end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site this is a small, quiet and rather nostalgic seaside resort. Nearby Spyway Dinosaur Footprints is not as well known as it should be and is well worth a visit.
You can find some of England’s most dramatic shoreline scenery along the Jurassic Coast at Lulworth. Stop here for a chance to explore the unique circular Cove itself and Durdle Door’s famous rock archway.
Good old Weymouth is a chance to discover all the familiar ingredients of a classic British seaside resort: a flat golden sandy beach with a long promenade, donkeys and Punch & Judy.
Dorchester & Poundbury
If you stay on the A352 and don’t turn down to Weymouth, the road curves inland to the heart of West Dorset. If you fancy the faster progress of the A35 heading west, the Dorchester makes a fine stopping point.
Discover somewhere new
Fancy a walk away from the crowds? First find the car park at Renscombe near the quaint Purbeck village of Worth Matravers. Then stroll south across the grassy headland to find a completely unique and little-visited sight. The strange tiny Norman church of St Aldhelm is a square cube of stone and stands alone on the cliff edge, 354ft above the sea.
Staying in the area
The Kings Arms Hotel
Harbour Hotel Christchurch
Knoll House Hotel
- Self Catering