Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8JA
In a Nutshell: A grand old inn, the thriving hub of Shaftesbury with a cool, contemporary feel, Mediterranean-inspired food, a secret alfresco courtyard and smart, spacious rooms
Dorset is a stunning county full of contrast, with outstanding countryside and a magnificent coastline brimming with things to do – perfect for family holidays and short breaks alike.
This is Britain’s Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Dorset’s designated coastline stretches from Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck to East Devon, offering miles of breathtaking scenery and a range of spectacular walks that can, in places, be physically demanding.
Not surprisingly, Dorset has always been a firm favourite of film and television producers. The French Lieutenant’s Woman, starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, was filmed in and around Lyme Regis in 1981, and the hugely successful television crime drama Broadchurch uses different Dorset locations, chiefly in the Bridport and West Bay areas of the county. Filming here draws large crowds.
However, it is Dorset’s breathtaking coastline that is the real star. Aside from Lulworth Cove, among the best-known natural landmarks is Durdle Door, a rocky arch that has been shaped and sculpted by the elements. Chesil Beach, a long shingle reef running for ten miles between Portland and Abbotsbury, is another spectacular natural feature in a county that has the unmistakable stamp of prehistory.