Route Detour

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 old market town of Dorchester makes a fine stopping point.

The county town is packed with history, from an impressive selection of museums (including an unlikely but extraordinary Tutankhamun Exhibition) to sights linked to Dorset writer Thomas Hardy, including his former home. Wandering up the old High Street certainly still gives you the grand rural feel of a Hardy novel.

For a more energetic walk tackle the enormous ramparts of Maiden Castle on the edge of town – it’s one of the biggest and most impressive in Europe, and completely free.

If you just fancy an interesting short drive, take a cruise round the streets of Poundbury at west side of Dorchester. It’s a fascinating experimental town built in a completely retro style under the guidance of Prince Charles.

During your trip

Other Route Detours

Lulworth

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.

Weymouth

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.

Swanage

A loop down from Studland and Corfe allows you to visit Swanage. At the far eastern end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site this is a small, quiet and rather nostalgic seaside resort boasting a sheltered sandy beach and Victorian pier. Take a break by riding the steam railway or strolling Durlston Castle’s clifftop gardens and wildlife reserve.

Isle of Portland

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. 

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