Tue 07 Apr 2015
We’ll let you be the judge.
With miles and miles of sandy beaches, some of the best weather in the UK and the longest life expectancy in Britain, Dorset makes for a happy home. And along with our picture postcard villages, the vibrant towns of Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth are bursting with places to eat, drink and shop.
Business is booming too, with household names such as Animal, RNLI and Clipper Teas having their HQ’s in the county.
Here are some of Dorset’s delights.
1. A natural beauty
With over half the county designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, no one can deny that Dorset is truly something special.
Dorset’s amazing natural features include Durdle Door, Pulpit Rock, Golden Cap, Lulworth Cove and Chesil Beach. The county also boasts 5 country parks too.
Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour was voted Britain’s favourite nature reserve in 2013 and the area around Wareham is recognised as the most botanically rich in the UK.
2. Beaches and harbours
Dorset has nearly 100 miles of coastline with award winning, golden sandy beaches at Bournemouth Sandbanks, Christchurch, Swanage and Weymouth.
Poole, Portland and Christchurch Harbours are great for a variety of watersports from kite surfing to paddle boarding.
What can be better than ending a day at the office with a swim at the beach! Dorset’s great outdoors provides a green gym that will keep even the keenest of fitness fanatics happy.
3. The weather
Dorset has 364 more hours of sunshine throughout the year in comparison to the UK average.
Kick back with a beer or an ice-cream and soak up the sun .
4. Live long and prosper
Want to know the secret of a long and happy life? It’s official – live in Dorset.
According to the Office for National Statistics, Dorset has the highest life expectancy in Britain.
On average boys born in the county can expect to live to 82.9 years. It’s even better for girls at 86.6 years – almost four years longer than the national average.
5. Thriving businesses in a unique environment
Dorset is home to international and national businesses in tourism, environmental technologies, advanced engineering and defence. Magellan Aerospace, Sunseeker, Siemens, Farrow and Ball and Dorset Cereals to name a few.
But it’s not all about being big. Balsons the Butchers in Bridport is Britain’s longest running family butchers – opened in 1535.
6. We’re well connected
The relaxed pace of life in Dorset makes you forget that London is only a two and half hour drive away.
Let the train take the strain – there is a direct line from Waterloo to Weymouth, calling at Bournemouth, Poole, Wareham and Dorchester. In 2015, Swanage Railway will be reconnecting to the mainline, so you will be able to travel direct from London to the seaside town of Swanage.
Not forgetting Bournemouth International Airport or the ports at Poole and Weymouth, connecting to the Channels Islands, Europe and beyond.
7. The Jurassic Coast
Stretching for 95 miles, the Jurassic Coast is the only natural World Heritage Site in England.
Hunt for fossils at Charmouth or Kimmeridge and see if you can discover a dinosaur!
If you fancy climbing the highest point along the south coast of England, head for Golden Cap – owned by the National Trust.
8. Inspiration for the arts
Over the centuries, the Dorset landscape has inspired artists, writers and scientists to produce outstanding work.
A few of the literary giants include Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and Enid Blyton with acclaimed artists such as Fra Newbury, Paul Nash, Turner and Charles Rennie Mackintosh all drawing inspiration from Dorset.
More recently, West Bay was the backdrop to the award winning TV drama Broadchurch, written by Dorset resident Chris Chibnall.
9. The Olympic legacy
Dorset truly had a summer to remember in 2012 with Weymouth and Portland hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events. The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy hosts international events and offers world class facilities for training the sailing stars for the future.
The legacy has led to improvements in transport, jobs, roads, infrastructure, arts, sports, sailing and tourism.
Dorset is full of festivals. Take your pick from Dorset knob throwing, nettle eating, fossils, kites, waistcoats, arts, film, literary, walking, food, drink, music, flowers, hats, Christmas trees, Tolpuddle Martyrs and Camp Bestival.
With Dorset’s mild climate and fertile soil, the county is home to some of the finest local produce and coupled with fresh seafood, Dorset has a winning combination for fabulous food and drink.
Our local produce draws in celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Lesley Waters and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Dare to tickle your taste buds with a Dorset Naga – one of the hottest chillis in the world.
Holly Lagden, Monday 12 May 2014, www.metro.co.uk