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Dorset holidays: our complete guide to campsites in Dorset


Often overlooked by people heading further south into Devon and Cornwall, Dorset has plenty to offer for a short break or a week-long holiday

For camping holidays in Dorset there are a variety of stunning landscapes, from the sweeping beaches and rugged cliffs of the world-famous Jurassic Coast to the rolling countryside and picturesque chocolate-box villages inland.

When choosing campsites in Dorset, for walkers there are over 300 miles of marked trails, including part of the South West Coast Path, with views that will take your breath away.

Some of Dorset’s many big draw destinations include Weymouth (with its Georgian town houses), nature-rich Brownsea Island (reached by boat from Poole Harbour), the extravagant mansions in Poole's pricey Sandbanks area, and Swanage (pure nostalgia with a steam train railway and Victorian pier).

A county with some much to see and do, there’s a selection of Dorset campsites to choose from. Why not use our Campsite Finder search tool to easily help you find the perfect place for your Dorset holiday?

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Words by Claire Tupholme


Best local features

Durdle Door in Dorset

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Dorset’s Jurassic coastline is iconic. Put Dorset into a search engine and invariably an image of Durdle Door will appear. This natural limestone arch jutting out into the sea is a world-famous feature of Dorset's World Heritage Jurassic coastline and well-photographed.

Created when the sea pierced through the limestone around 10,000 years ago, Durdle Door forms part of a host of coastal attractions along this stretch of the South West Coast Path, which also includes the turquoise-watered bay of Lulworth Cove.

The Jurassic Coast actually begins in Devon and stretches for 95 miles towards Dorset’s Studland Bay, where you’ll find another iconic Dorset feature, the chalk-white cliffs of Old Harry Rocks.

Another option for your coastal fix is to head to the Isle of Portland, where Portland Bill Lighthouse stands proud on the cliff edge, and then walk along the shingle barrier of Chesil Beach (which is 18 miles long) with the sea one side and the unique habitat of the Fleet Lagoon on the other.

There are of course plentiful beaches along Dorset’s coastline, from sandy coves to pebbled shorelines with fossils to be found. Ones to note include Lyme Regis, Charmouth, and Golden Cap (the highest point on the south coast of England). VisitDorset’s beach guide will help you find the perfect beach for you.

Stutland Bay in Dorset

(Photo courtesy of Pitamaha stock.adobe.com)

Chesil Beach in Dorset

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Best attractions

Dorchester museum

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

It’s not just the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and the county’s inviting beaches that deserve to be explored. If staying on a campsite in Dorset these attractions are worthy of your time, too.

The riverside market town of Wareham has a history going back more than 2,000 years and, until the fourteenth century, it was a busy port. These days Wareham is somewhere to relax, have something to eat, or take a trip along the river.

Dorchester is a typical market town that has five excellent museums and exhibitions. The Dinosaur and Teddy Bear museums and the Terracotta Warriors, Tutankhamun, and Mummies exhibitions are all within walking distance of each other.

Dorchester is also Dorset’s county town and birthplace of famous author and poet, Thomas Hardy. There are a variety of places to eat out here, with the best place to head being Brewery Square. In the summertime, many of the eateries have al fresco dining, giving a feel of London’s Covent Garden to Dorset.

Famed for the commanding castle that overlooks the village, Corfe Castle is also a picturesque place to take a stroll. There are two main streets, linked at the village square. Around the square is a small collection of shops, tea rooms, pubs and a church.

You can enjoy sitting outside one of the cafés, with views of the castle high on the hill above the village, or watch the steam trains on the Swanage Railway as they make their way down from here to the Victorian seaside resort at Swanage. Of course, a visit to the castle ruins is also a must – with fallen walls and secret places, these romantic ruins have 1,000 years of history to share.

Evacuated in 1943 during World War II, the village of Tyneham has been deserted ever since and, over the years, nature has begun to reclaim the empty homes. The fact that Tyneham is now owned by the Ministry of Defence, and is only accessible to the public at weekends and select dates throughout the year, all adds to the mystery of this very unique and unusual place.

No matter the time of year, catch the cliff railway down to the beach at Bournemouth and you’ll find holidaymakers making the most of the seven miles of sands. As well as the traditional seaside attractions, Bournemouth’s pier has a range of high-adrenalin activities on offer, including a highline obstacle course and a terrifying-looking zip wire. Bournemouth also has plenty of shops and restaurants.

One of England's 10 designated National Parks, The New Forest is not actually located in Dorset, but lies on the western edge of Hampshire which borders east Dorset. This means the New Forest is easily accessible from several campsites in Dorset.

Known for its many trails, wild heathland and native ponies, the forest is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. Don your walking boots, or hop on two wheels, to discover the diverse wildlife and natural beauty, or wander the cobbled streets of the pretty towns and villages. For wet weather days there are several museums to explore, including the renowned National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, housing over 250 vehicles telling the story of motoring through the ages.

Corfe Castle in Dorset

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Tyneham village

(Photo by Warners Group Publications)

Campsites in Dorset near the beach

For anyone wanting a beach holiday in Dorset there are a selection of campsites on the Dorset coast offering access to glorious sandy beaches for a family trip to the seaside.

If you're looking for a campsite in Dorset near the beach, you’ll find seaside resorts of varying sizes and styles, from genteel Lyme Regis to more lively Weymouth. Fossil hunters can head for the pebbled sands of Charmouth Beach, or if sunbathing and sandcastles is more your thing, spend a day on the golden sands of Bournemouth.

Bagwell Farm Touring Park


Bagwell Farm Touring Park

(Photo courtesy of Bagwell Farm Touring Park)

This family-run campsite is set in a quiet valley yet within five miles of Weymouth's sandy beach and harbour. With just a short walk from the park to the South West Coast Path and Fleet Lagoon, it's an ideal base to explore Dorset's Jurassic coastline.

This award-winning campsite has super pitches with 16A electric, water and drainage, plus a TV point. The campsite is open all year, with heated facilities as well as a warm water dog wash. There’s an on-site shop open daily, and The Red Barn bar and takeaway is open nightly from March to October. There's a bus stop within half a mile, making it easy to tour the attractive coastline.

Find out more: Bagwell Farm Touring Park  

Monkton Wyld Holiday Park


Monkton Wyld Holiday Park

(Photo courtesy of Monkton Wyld Holiday Park)

Three miles from both Lyme Regis and Charmouth on the Jurassic Heritage Coast, Monkton Wyld can offer the best of beach and countryside. Why not combine both and walk through quiet meadows and woods and catch the bus back from the seaside? Monkton Wyld has been awarded the highest accolades for conservation work within and surrounding the holiday park.

The campsite is known for its genuinely spacious pitches, all with 16A electric hook-up, plus a great children’s play area, dog walk, and separate paddock where you can let them off the lead, and dog wash. The shower blocks are large and spacious. Electrics bikes are available for hire.

Find out more: Monkton Wyld Holiday Park  

East Fleet Farm Touring Park


East Fleet Farm Touring Park

(Photo courtesy of East Fleet Farm Touring Park)

East Fleet Farm is a beautiful location set in the heart of Dorset, based on the shoreline of the Fleet Lagoon overlooking Chesil Beach. Running along the shoreline at the edge of the campsite is the World Heritage Jurassic Coast footpath. It is wonderful to stroll along the shore of the Fleet, admire the sunsets and enjoy stargazing. For a traditional seaside resort day out, Weymouth’s golden sands are only three miles away.

The campsite has a range of pitches, including hardstandings, alongside fully serviced pitches with water, drainage and electric hook-up. On the campsite there is a bar and restaurant, an entertainment venue, toilets and showers with individual cubicles, plus an accessible shower room.

Find out more: East Fleet Farm Touring Park  

Campsites in Dorset with pools

Newlands Holiday Park


Newlands Holiday Park

(Photo by Iain Duff)

For owners of larger units, this Dorset campsite has easy access direct from the main road. Set in the countryside, the campsite is within walking distance of Charmouth, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Sand and sea lovers will be pleased to note that the beach is less than a mile away. The village has a selection of shops, pubs and restaurants. The pretty seaside resort of Lyme Regis is also only three miles away.

Newlands Holidays has hardstanding pitches with electric hook-up set on terraces. There are also premium pitches that are fully serviced. The extensive facilities comprise toilets, showers, a bar and restaurant, a launderette, a shop, plus indoor and outdoor pools.

Find out more: Newlands Holiday Park  

Ulwell Holiday Park


Ulwell Holiday Park

(Photo courtesy of Ulwell Holiday Park)

Nestling under the Purbeck Hills, Ulwell Holiday Park is surrounded by beautiful countryside and a coastline of dramatic cliffs and clean, safe beaches. The Victorian seaside town of Swanage has many attractions for all the family to enjoy, including a Blue Flag beach, restored pier, watersports, boat trips and the Swanage Railway to name a few. There are also plenty of walkways and cycle paths to explore Purbeck’s countryside and the Jurassic Coast.

Facilities on the campsite include hardstanding and grass pitches with electric, and some fully serviced pitches. There are toilets, showers, an indoor pool, shop, play area and WiFi.

Find out more: Uwell Holiday Park  

Campsites in the New Forest

Set in Hampshire, bordering the county of Dorset, the New Forest makes for an ideal place to visit during your camping holiday to Dorset.

Choose a campsite in, or near, the New Forest and be surrounded by nature and wildlife. You can also easily access the many walking trails of the forest within a few miles, or some almost direct from your pitch.

Harrow Wood Farm Caravan Park


Harrow Wood Farm Caravan Park

(Photo courtesy of Back of Beyond Touring Par)

On the Dorset/Hampshire border, Back of Beyond is an adults-only, dog-friendly campsite spread over 30 acres. The campsite has extensive private woodland for walking and where dogs can roam free. The site also supports wildlife and has a lake in a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Back of Beyond’s location means that the New Forest, Bournemouth and the south coast are all accessible.

There are electric hook-up pitches, and hardstanding and fully serviced pitches are available. There’s a nine-hole pitch and putt on the campsite, a licensed shop, plus Monty’s bar with covered outside seating. If heading off the campsite, a pub and country park are less than two miles away and a cycle route is nearby. For anyone travelling to Dorset with non-camping friends, the site also has various glamping units for hire.

Find out more: Harrow Wood Farm Caravan Park  

Back of Beyond Touring Park

St Leonards

Back of Beyond Touring Park

(Photo courtesy of Back of Beyond Touring Park)

Harrow Wood Farm Caravan Park is set in 80 acres of farmland on the edge of the New Forest just inside the New Forest National Park. It has hardstanding pitches with electric hook-up and some grass pitches for camping. This small family campsite is in the village of Bransgore, from which you can explore the New Forest and surrounding areas. The campsite is situated just five miles from Christchurch and two miles from the open forest.

There is an on-site coarse fishing lake and a one-mile circular farm walk to enjoy the animals and surroundings. You can explore pretty villages with country pubs, head to the famous Beaulieu Motor Museum or spend a day at the coast.

Find out more: Back of Beyond Touring Park  

Dorset holidays: FAQs

Where to camp in Dorset?

For anyone thinking of a holiday in the southwest, there are a selection of Dorset campsites to choose from. There are rural retreats for adults only, holiday parks with lots to do for families, dog-friendly campsites – there is a lot of choice to suit everyone.

Can you wild camp in Dorset?

Wild camping is not permitted in Dorset, so find yourself the perfect campsite in Dorset instead using our Campsite Finder tool. Holiday parks and campsites in Dorset offer a variety of pitches and accommodation options to suit every type of holiday. You can choose from pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes, or try glamping, lodges and static caravans. Whatever you’re looking for you can find the ideal break in Dorset for you.

Can you camp at Durdle Door?

Durdle Door is a popular tourist attraction in Dorset, but as you are not allowed to wild camp in Dorset, you also can’t camp at Durdle Door. There are a selection of campsites close by, though, and you can use our Campsite Finder tool to find the one for you!

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