Towns & Villages in Dorset

As one of England’s most pastoral and rural counties, Dorset is home to many idyllic towns and villages, with beautiful period houses, cosy cafes, great walking paths and views of the English countryside. With some advice from our local team, we’ve collected this guide to Dorset’s best hidden gems for you to visit while on holiday. 

Duck pond in Worth Matravers

Worth Matravers

Worth Matravers is a beautiful village situated west of Swanage with fantastic sea views out towards the cliffs. There is a lovely selection of limestone cottages and farmhouses dotted around the village. Worth Matravers is perfect for relaxing and escaping from the hustle and bustle of modern life. In the centre of the village there is a duck pond and a Norman Chapel also resides in the village, dedicated to St Aldhelm, the bishop of Sherborne. There is a lovely country pub in Worth Matravers called the Square and Compass, which is very popular among visitors and offers a selection of food and drink. For something lighter there is also Worth Matravers Tea and Supper Rooms, which offer a selection of teas, coffees and cakes. In the evening they also offer delicious meals, but booking is a must!

Coastal footpath at Langton Matravers

Langton Matravers

Just two miles north of Worth Matravers, Langton Matravers is the village that is the home of Durnford preparatory school, where Ian Fleming was educated. The village is also home to its very own museum, the Langton Matravers Museum, which focuses on the quarrying Dorset’s famous Purbeck Stone, an integral part to the development of the village. There is also a parish church in the village dedicated to Saint George. Additionally, there is a local shop and field research centre that is housed in a grade two listed building in the village. While in the village, why not visit the quaint local pub, The Kings Arms, and enjoy the atmosphere and some tasty food after a day wandering along the south-west coastal path.

Beach huts at Studland


Studland is a beautiful Domesday village nestled between 4km of golden sands managed by the National Trust on one side and spectacular heathland on the other. Great connections across the chain ferry take you to Bournemouth and Poole and in the other direction, it's a short road trip to Corfe Castle and Swanage. Studland is at the start and end of the 630 mile South West Coast Path and the Jurassic Coast, so is right at the heart of Dorset’s heritage coastline, making it a must-visit for those fascinated by natural history. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink, including the 16th century pub, The Bankes Arms, which has a very delectable menu and large beer garden for relaxing in the summer sunshine. 

Historic building in beaminster


Another village mentioned in the Domesday Book, Beaminster is a historic village and truly one of Dorset’s hidden gems. Nestled in the valley between Bridport and Crewkerne, Beaminster is a great place to find that “get away from it all” feeling. With great walks along the river and surrounding countryside, over 200 hundred listed buildings and some fascinating visitor attractions, you’ll always have something to do or somewhere to go to unwind. It is also home to a number of lovely cafes, including the fun and very vegan-friendly Trading Post Cafe and Cilla and Camilla, a cafe attached to a boutique famed for its mighty bacon sandwiches.

Riverside properties in wareham


The town is ideally situated for you to explore the Purbeck area, and is known by the locals as the Gateway to Purbeck. The town has gained this name due to several walking and cycling routes starting in the town, which then begin their journey south towards Swanage. Wareham Town Museum is a popular attraction in the town and details the journey of Wareham from prehistoric times, right up until today. Nearby you will also be able to enjoy Monkey World, an ape rescue centre set up to help raise money to stop the smuggling of primates. Always a hit with the kids, Monkey World is a great day out for the