Dorset is a glorious blend of thatched villages, prehistoric earthworks, literary resonances, geological treasures, and sweeping chalk cliffs. One visit is never enough.
If you like traditional Dorset charm – narrow winding lanes, ivy-clad cottages, the Wessex of Thomas Hardy, and invigorating, get-away-from-it-all countryside – you need go no further than our quaint home village of Evershot. There are miles of public footpaths and plenty of quiet country lanes to explore (Wellingtons, cycles, and picnics available from the hotel), and a 16th-century coaching inn, The Acorn Inn (pictured right), that features in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Many footpaths take you into the neighbouring 9,000-acre Melbury Estate. For a glimpse into Dorset's ancient past, see the famous Cerne Abbas Giant, a potent symbol cut into the chalk downland, and the breathtakingly vast Maiden Castle, an Iron Age hill fort.
To go even further back into geological time, try the Jurassic Coast, a 95-mile stretch of heritage coastline. Sites include Chesil Beach (a ruler-straight, 18-mile stretch of shingle), Abbotsbury Swannery, Durdle Door (a natural cliff arch, pictured top), and Lulworth Cove.
Dorchester is a nearby Roman town, little changed since the days of Thomas Hardy. Weymouth, on the other hand, is a lively seaside resort popularised by George III and now loved by watersports enthusiasts. Weymouth will host the watersports events at the 2012 Olympic Games.