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Durde door by Kosala Bandara, flickr, 2015Photo by Kosala Bandara licensed under CC

Explore Dorset from its spectacular coastline and wildlife adventures to grand stately homes and a social calendar filled with dancing. We’ve picked a few unique activities and attractions to inspire a trip to Dorset.

Hunt for fossils on the Jurassic Coast

Listed as a world heritage sight, the Jurassic Coast stretches from Swanage to east Devon. The Jurassic coast gets its name from its fossil filled rocks that date back 250 millions years, making it an important site for the study of geology and palaeontology. The sheer beauty of this region is highlighted in the natural rock arch of Durdle Door and the beautiful Lulworth Cove. Try beachcombing for fossils or taking a guided walk on this picturesque coastline.

Discover the ruins at Corfe Castle

Described as one of the most evocative ruined castles in England it is now a National Trust attraction. Corfe Castle was built on a steep chalk mound between the Purbeck Hills by William the Conqueror soon after his victory at Hastings. Take the guided tour that includes exciting stories about Civil War betrayal and glorious views of the surrounding countryside and coasts. End your visit with a warm meal and a stroll around the quaint medieval village located under the castle.

Visit Monkey World: Ape Rescue Centre

This 65-acre park in the heart of the Dorset countryside is home to around 250 rescued and endangered monkeys and apes. The internationally acclaimed rescue centre reintegrates orangutans, gibbons and chimpanzees that have suffered abuse or were rescued from illegal trade. Enjoy an walk in the charming woodland and don’t forget to attend one of the many interesting talks by the expert keepers and conservationists. You may even meet the stars of TV’s ‘Monkey Life.’

Explore Athelhampton House and Gardens

One of the finest manor houses in England, this 15th-century house is filled with antiques and surrounded by beautifully sculpted gardens. The house is most famous for its dozen 30-foot giant topiary pyramids. Athelhamton house is a lovely day out, complete it with a cream tea at the topiary restaurant and a viewing of a classic film at their atmospheric house cinema.

Have an adventure on Brownsea Island

The birthplace of the Boy Scout Movement, Brownsea Island has been listed by The Guardian as one the most overlooked UK attractions. Brownsea has a magical quality to it and was used as a setting for one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventures. Brownsea Island walkers will discover a multitude of woodlands, lagoons, cliffs and beaches tucked away on the 500-acre island. With its variety of settings the island is a birdwatchers' paradise for avocets, sandwich terns, oystercatchers, kingfishers and even peacocks. A short ferry ride from Poole, Brownsea Island is a must see at any time of the year.

Waltz the afternoon away at Dorset's tea dances

Don’t forget your dancing shoes when you visit Dorset. From waltzes and tangos, to jive and jazz, Dorset hosts a number of tea dances and social dances for all ages. Among others, the Pavillion Ballroom in Bournmouth and the Lighthouse in Poole host colourful dances of yesteryear. Dorset is a top tourist dance destination with many tours and hotels providing dance classes and in-house dancing facilities. Enjoy some tea, cake, live music and a spin around the dance floor.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081