When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go - Alexandra Stoddard
A spectacular coastline with endless coves hiding ancient treasures, the Isle of Purbeck is a truly beautiful destination and believed to be the most diverse region for wildlife in the UK. Uncover each of the prettiest places throughout this little peninsula before going there and setting foot on the fantastic landscape yourself.
The coastal town of Swanage makes a great base for those who enjoy a lively atmosphere and the chance for evenings in the local bar or down the pub, while the quaint villages scattered across inland Purbeck and the coastline provide serene holiday retreats.
For a weekend break or two-week holiday exploring beautiful sights, Purbeck is the place to go. Its ancient coastline and medieval buildings set the scene for a charming location. Read through our list of the prettiest points and beauty spots of Purbeck and start planning your trip to Dorset.
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove
The magnificent limestone arch that is Durdle Door is quite possibly the most photographed sight in the county and sits at the edge of pretty Lulworth Cove. They combine to form a famously exquisite holiday destination that many return to year after year.
The trouble with this spot is that it’s simply so famous for its beauty, during the summer many flock to the white pebble beach and swim in the shallow turquoise waters. If you are a photographer, walker or simply wish to visit for the atmosphere, travel here during the winter months to have the whole place to yourself.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, visit the mysterious Tyneham Village. It is a pretty village but with a sad story, as the residents were all evacuated on Christmas Eve, 1943 during WWII. The location was used to train allied forces and help with the war effort due to its proximity to the Lulworth firing ranges. The residents packed up believing they would be able to return to their homes after the war was over. A note was left pinned the church door asking the soldiers to ‘treat the church and houses with care… we will return one day.’
Despite many campaigns, the residents were never allowed to return to their village and it remains in possession of the government. Nowadays, Tyneham has become a point of interest for tourists staying in the area. Check opening times and, if possible, visit on Christmas Eve to commemorate the mass evacuation and walk around the quaint little village that has been frozen in time. A pretty but eerie place to explore.
Old Harry Rocks
Marking one end of the world-famous Jurassic Coast is the chalk landmark, Old Harry Rocks. Once connected to the Isle of Wight’s The Needles landmark by a line of chalk, the land was eroded away during the last ice age leaving behind only the chalk stacks we see today. Next door, you’ll find pretty Studland Bay, made up of sandy beaches and heathland.
Follow this trail from Old Harry Rocks and through the beautiful Studland landscape for the best view, whilst being careful not to get too close to the edge of this remarkable landmark. Discover more stunning walks throughout the Isle of Purbeck.
We’re not only talking about the magnificent castle ruins, but the village that exists in its shadow. The village of Corfe Castle is often overlooked yet has beautiful architecture and if you’re looking for pretty this is it. It’s a pretty walk with cafés and tearooms where you can stop and get a bite to eat before investigating the boutiques and galleries found here. While in the area, ensure you do head up to see the incredible castle too as it’s a beautiful sight. Read our guide on things to see and do in Corfe Castle.
Part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve, this pretty beach is ideal for fossil collecting and you can find the unique geological remains of many sea creatures. Each time there’s a rockfall, another batch of ancient treasures untouched for thousands of years are revealed. The pebble beach has remained unspoilt because it is part of private Smedmore Estate, yet you are welcome to visit as it’s open to the public.
A few small fishing cottages overlook the bay as does the restored Clavell Tower, an old observatory, but otherwise it’s a peaceful stretch of shoreline. While visiting take a look around The Museum of Jurassic Marine Life, go rock pooling in the wildlife-rich pools or see if you can discover any ancient fossils.
One of the last colonies of native red squirrels in the UK resides on pretty Brownsea Island. A wildlife haven sat in the middle of Poole Harbour, you can visit by ferry and walk the beautiful island. With plenty of woodlands, heathland and a lagoon, not to mention an open-air theatre, natural play area and beautiful cottages and country houses across the island, there’s plenty to discover and it’s a great place to enjoy a touch of birdwatching. Just be mindful that you cannot take your four-legged friend.
The views back towards the rest of Dorset are stunning so take a picnic and eat lunch while looking out at the pretty panorama. After you’ve spent a few hours exploring this pretty natural habitat, head back to the mainland and enjoy exploring the rest of Poole.
Visit these pretty points of interest
The Isle of Purbeck is overflowing with pretty points of interest and beautiful landmarks to discover. Don’t miss out on a holiday to a fantastic region. Take the family, take the camera and enjoy discovering the sights of this stunning holiday destination.
If you feel inspired to travel to these places yourself, take a look at our collection of cottages and find the perfect place from which to start exploring the Isle of Purbeck.