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Built in 1755 originally as a mansion, Highcliffe castle has been home to many celebrities in the History world. In the 1950's, the Stuart-Wortley family (who lived in the castle at the time) sold all of the furnishing, and transformed the castle into a children's convalesce home. In 1977, Christchurch Council purchased the castle, and since then, funding has been provided and raised to restore the castle so that parties such as wedding receptions can be held here. Talk about a dream wedding!.
With sheltered waters filled with marine life, Kimmeridge bay is perfect for swimming, diving and windsurfing. Natural jetties, made from large ledges, mean you are able to walk right out into the action and explore the beautiful bay.
Dorset Wildlife Trust runs a marine centre which is open every day in summer – 01929 481044.
Bournemouth Beach is voted the UK's best beach, and the fifth best beach in Europe.
TripAdvisor said: “Bournemouth’s seven mile stretch of sandy beach has something to offer everyone with its traditional seaside attractions, famous beach huts for hire, water sports and stunning views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks. The bay also boasts its own micro-climate, giving it some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK.”
Councillor Pat Oakley, Portfolio Holder for Tourism in Bournemouth, said: "We’re especially thrilled with our international ranking. As the UK’s Best Seaside Town, we’re immensely proud to offer world class beaches on British shores without the need to travel abroad.”
Swanage Bay, named 'Knollsea' in Thomas Hardy's 1875 novel 'The Hand of Ethelberta', is an attractive and friendly traditional seaside town nestling in a sandy bay at the foot of the Purbeck Ridge.
There is an opportunity for sailing and water sports, and safe bathing, which makes the bay perfect for family holidays.
Holding over 450 vessels and a few minutes walk to the town and seafront, Weymouth Harbour has been a port for many Centuries with evidence showing Roman Galleys that sailed up the River Wey as far as Radipole, where they would beach and unload cargo to transport to the Roman Town of Durnovaria (Dorchester).
The fascinating history of Weymouth Harbour includes inclusion in the 17th century civil war between Charles I and Parliament.
Portland Lighthouse has been functioning since its first famous four flashes of light on 11 January 1906 and stand 135 ft. from the ground. It's range reaches 25 nautical miles, guiding passing vessels through the waters around Portland Bill. It also acts as a waymark for ships navigating the English Channel.
Entry to the Lighthouse & Visitor Centre costs from £5.00 per person, with onsite parking, picnic sites and a cafe. Educational Visits are also accepted and are guided by staff at the centre.
Durdle Door is one of the most famous stone arches in the world. It was created by the piercing action of the sea against the Portland limestone around 10,000 years ago.
From camping to rock-pooling, walking to coasteering, photography to nature walks, or just to enjoy the stunning views, Durdle Door has a wide range of family activities to take part in.
Partially filmed in Bournemouth, Dorset, the Durrells are a family adapted from Gerald Durrell's "My Family and Other Animals". Widowed Louisa Durrell, moves her family from England to the Greek island of Corfu in 1935, and the story begins!
The British comedy chat show presenter Alan Carr originates from Weymouth, Dorset, and is known for the TV show, Alan Carr: Chatty Man.
Harry Redknapp lives Poole's Sandbanks, and has managed many football clubs over the years including AFC Bournemouth, West Ham United, and Portsmouth. His son, Jamie Redknapp is a retired professional football player. He is also Frank Lampards uncle, a retired professional footballer.
The beautiful coastline of Dorset stars in the popular ITV1 Drama, Broachurch. David Tennant and Olivia Colman feature in this crime drama written by Chris Chibnall and produced by Kudos Film and Televsion.
A 2017 drama/thriller movie based on the Second World War and directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk was partially filmed at Swanage Railway in Dorset. The film features former One Direction member, Harry Styles.
Lead singer and co-founder of the rock band, Coldplay, Chris attended Sherborne School for Boys in Sherborne, Dorset and then the University College London. He was married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow and father to Apple and Moses Martin.