There are so many reasons Dorset is a safe place to visit this summer. And we are so looking forward to welcoming you back!
The good news is that from mid-May Dorset will be opening up for those long-awaited holidays and short breaks, with COVID-19 restrictions already being eased allowing local people to get out and about more.
Because of the Covid virus, we all understand that some things will be different. If you’re looking for reassurance about your safety, rest assured that all our Best of Dorset Attractions and businesses and communities throughout Dorset have been putting measures in place to keep us all as safe as possible.
This means that you’ll need to book your accommodation before you travel. Similarly, leading attractions may have introduced advance, pre-booked tickets, and most restaurants and eateries will require a reservation. Put simply, you will need to do more research, planning and pre-booking for your stay or day out.
As restrictions begin to ease we know that many of you will be keen to visit our beautiful county and we are looking forward to welcoming you back with open arms, but we ask that you follow the Government roadmap towards easing of restrictions and follow the guidelines of Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air.
And here our Top 10 reasons that Dorset is a safe place to visit this summer!
- Beaches – lots of them!
- Countryside – plenty of room to spread out
- Attractions – something to suit everyone
- Places to Stay – book early
- Food and Drink – picnics, pubs, pizzas…
- Small Towns – great shopping
- Dorset’s Good to Go
- Plan ahead
- Respect Dorset
- Protect Dorset… and ENJOY!
Beaches – lots of them!
With 100 miles of coastline, Dorset’s beaches alone are reason to visit. Whether it’s sandcastles to build or dinosaurs to find, there is plenty of space to breathe that sea air.
The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site has millions of years of history to show off. Stretching for 96 miles from East Devon to Purbeck, there are geological marvels and wild and undeveloped beaches along Chesil Beach. TV’s famous Broadchurch cliffs are actually at West Bay – Bridport Harbour.
There’s some useful information and guidance on visiting this part of the coastline here from the Jurassic Coast Trust including travel restrictions, car parks, amenities and other facilities for key locations.
To the east of the county, Bournemouth’s incredible sandy beaches have been drawing seaside fans for generations. Check in at the Know Before You Go website page at bournemouth.co.uk to see the latest guidance and information.
Countryside – Plenty of room to spread out
Did you know that more than half of Dorset is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)?
That means that there are miles and miles of unspoiled countryside, ancient landscapes, forests and heathland to explore.
Natural England has updated the Countryside Code on how to use outdoor spaces in Dorset respectfully and safely during these challenging times. The Code urges you to ease respect other people and protect the natural environment by:
- leaving no trace of your visit and taking all of your litter home
- not using barbecues as they risk causing wildfires
- keeping dogs under effective control and on a lead when you are around farm animals
- leaving gates as you find them and following instructions on signs
- keeping to footpaths and following signs where they suggest alternative routes
Wildlife may have moved into areas where it hasn’t previously been found, including nesting birds. Land managers may have taken action to provide extra protection of wildlife. Be vigilant and comply with these protective measures to ensure you do not disrupt the local wildlife.
Attractions – The Best of Dorset
The beautiful attractions that make up the visitor experience we at Best of Dorset Attractions offer here in Dorset are all raring to go for the 2021 season. There is something for everyone, from the young family looking for fun, to those wanting to learn more about the unique culture and history which Dorset has to offer.
Check out our choice of days out, from getting up close and personal with a herd of swans, to water-park fun, ancient castles to explore and steam trains to ride – and so many more! All the teams have been working incredibly hard to get everything ready for visitors and taking all the precautions necessary to ensure safety for visitors and staff members.
Owing to the Coronavirus outbreak, many of our attractions will have changed their opening times and may have altered some elements of the entertainment they offer. Please check with each individual attraction before visiting. Best of Dorset Attractions is updating details with new information as soon as we have it, but please do check with the attraction before travelling in the coming weeks and months.
Places to Stay – book early
The rule of 6 or two households still applies. From 17 May (no earlier) you will be able to holiday in all accommodation in Dorset. Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants and pubs will re-open along with indoor attractions. The rule of 6 or two households applies indoors and 30 people outdoors.
For everyone’s protection, hospitality businesses have applied higher standards of cleaning and changed their procedures to comply with the new Government advice.
Top advice – book your stay now. People have gone “Staycation” crazy and accommodation in some areas is already hard to find. Don’t just turn up and find you have nowhere to stay. Visit Dorset has accommodation listings where you can check availability.
Food and Drink – picnics, pubs, pizzas…
Dorset is truly a foodies’ paradise. Great pubs, with wonderful food; gorgeous restaurants, pop-up street food; fish and chips (of course) and independent delis and grocers mean that you won’t go hungry.
In response to the Covid-19 situation, many of Dorset’s pubs, restaurants and cafes began offering a takeaway service for collection or delivery.
From wood fired pizzas, French cuisine and sushi to roast dinners and homemade puddings – it’s all on offer. Many establishments are offering picnic-ready takeaways to eat on the beach and they’ve got really good at providing delicious food and drink safely, even when their main premises have had to close.
Check out Dorset Food & Drink’s Member Directory to see what’s on the menu where you are.
Small Towns – great shopping
Dorset has a wonderful selection of historic, quirky small towns. Think Sherborne, Lyme Regis, Wimborne, Bridport, Wareham, Blandford, Dorchester and Shaftesbury, to name but a few!
Across the county town centres, highstreets and shopping centres continue to follow Government guidelines. Non-essential shops will be opening up again after 12 April.
Things may be a little different when you visit later in the year, including measures in place to support social distancing and the new processes which our businesses are using to help keep customers safe during the pandemic.
But be assured that by supporting local businesses in these challenging times, you will be helping keep these communities alive and vibrant. So, Know Before You Go when planning a visit.
Dorset’s Good to Go
Visit England have launched a UK-wide “Good to Go” industry standard and supporting mark to provide a ring of confidence for visitors.
Many businesses across Dorset have signed up to the scheme demonstrating that they are adhering to the respective Government and Public Health guidance and have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment ensuring that they have the required processes in place.
Check out this Good to Go Dorset guide providing more information about the scheme and detailing all of the Dorset businesses that signed up to it. Keep a look out for business displaying the ‘We’re Good to Go’ logo to help you to plan your future visit to Dorset with the confidence that our tourism businesses have the correct procedures in place.
Behind the scenes, Dorset tourism and hospitality businesses have carried out risk assessments, prepared their premises and put measures in place to ensure that everything is ready to welcome you back for an enjoyable and safe visit.
All visitors are urged to plan ahead and always book overnight accommodation and entrance to attractions. If government COVID restrictions change, you might need to be prepared to be flexible in your holiday plans.
Respect our great outdoors
Please, when you visit Dorset:
- Respect our beaches and country parks. If they are busy, please turn around and return at a quieter time. Have a Plan B at the ready.
- Respect our local communities. Stick to public rights of way, keep dogs on leads and don’t picnic or camp on private land without permission.
- Respect the environment. Be prepared to take your litter home with you and use public toilets, which are open and available to use.
- Respect any specific guidelines laid down to make us all safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Protect Dorset – and ENJOY!
During the COVID-19 pandemic all visitors to Dorset are being asked to help us stay safe.
- Protect yourself and others – Hands, face, space.
- Protect our local communities by following government advice
- Protect our landscape by behaving safely and responsibly and being extra careful when using barbecues or campfires.
- Protect your own safety by checking tidal conditions and following advice about rockfalls, landslips and water safety.
Dorset is a safe place to visit this summer
For all the above reasons Dorset is a safe place to visit this summer.Lots of preparation has gone into keeping us all safe and ensuring Dorset remains as beautiful as ever. So above all, ENJOY Dorset!
There’s so much to see and do and plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten track – we look forward to welcoming you again soon.