12 reasons to visit Studland on your next Dorset holidayPosted by Rebecca Jackson on Updated on
A heavenly location year round
Set on the Isle of Purbeck on Dorset’s spectacular Jurassic Coast, Studland is well-known for its sandy beaches backed by dunes, unspoilt heathland teeming with wildlife and exquisite restaurants serving the best local produce. What’s more, there’s a wealth of lesser known pursuits in the area, including trekking on horseback, wild swimming along the coastline and a Thomas Hardy trail for literary lovers.
To help you discover Dorset’s coastal gems, we’ve put together the top 12 reasons to visit Studland and the surrounding areas.
1. Incredible local beaches
The Studland Bay area is a vast stretch of sandy beaches and pretty coves, including Shell Bay, Knoll Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach. Edged by sand banks and heathland views, this beautiful peninsula is sheltered, serene and unspoilt. Take a dip in the clear waters, try your hand at water sports or simply relax with a picnic.
2. Beautiful coastal walks
With the sweeping Jurassic coastline and the South West Coast Path surrounding Studland, there’s a myriad of routes and paths to choose from. Discover striking geological forms at Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, and don’t miss a hike to the three chalk formations popularly known as Old Harry Rocks at Handfast Point.
3. Exquisite dining options
With pretty views across the water, Rick Stein’s prestigious Sandbanks restaurant offers a variety of incredible seafood dishes for casual lunches or romantic dinners. Meanwhile, just a short walk from the beachfront, The Pig on the Beach restaurant showcases outstanding local cuisine. For al fresco dining, head to the scenic Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant set right on the water’s edge.
4. The historic Corfe Castle
With fallen fortress walls and stunning views across Purbeck, discover 1,000 years of Corfe Castle’s captivating history. The on-site shop and 18th Century tea room are well worth a visit, and don’t forget to sample a homemade Dorset cream tea.
5. Wild and wonderful nature reserves
Lose yourself in the wilderness of Studland and Godlingston Heath. Managed by the National Trust, the sweeping vistas, expanse of purple heather and gently undulating hills are best viewed from Agglestone – a dramatic 400 tonne rock sitting at the top of a hill. Home to the rare sand lizard, smooth snake and Dartford warbler, the lowland heaths are of international importance.
6. The Isle of Purbeck Golf Club
The Isle of Purbeck Golf Club is the perfect spot for seasoned golfers to lower their handicap and enjoy some holiday down time out on the green. With a whole host of courses for a range of abilities, including seasonal twilight golf and family-friendly ‘footgolf’ for a bit of fun, beginners and experienced golfers are all welcome.
7. The Broadchurch trail
Fans of the ITV drama Broadchurch will love exploring the ins and outs of its iconic filming location. From the Jurassic pier and harbour, to DI Hardy’s riverside home, a Broadchurch tour offers a unique opportunity to explore Dorset’s dramatic coastline from an alternative perspective. Pick up a Broadchurch trail map from a West Dorset Tourist information centre, don your walking boots and set off along the coast path.
8. Unforgettable horse riding treks
Situated in the village of Studland and with three miles of sandy beaches and dunes to explore on horseback, Studland Trekking Centre offers some of the most beautiful rides in the UK. With forest, heath or beach rides available for all abilities, you’ll be able to explore Dorset as part of a group ride or with private tuition. The Old Harry Rocks ride will give you breath-taking views of Swanage, Poole Harbour and the Isle of Wight in the distance.
9. Enchanting literary links
The setting for several well-known novels, Studland and the surrounding areas have inspired authors like Enid Blyton, Thomas Hardy and T.E. Lawrence. Just outside Dorchester is Hardy’s Cottage, where the author was born in 1840 and went on to pen Far From the Madding Crowd 34 years later. With roses lining the door and birdsong filling the garden, the cob and thatch cottage has been little altered since the Hardy family left. Enid Blyton fans will love visiting ‘Kirrin Castle’ (otherwise known as Corfe Castle) and wandering around the streets of Studland, said to be the inspiration behind Toy Town in Noddy.
10. Indulgent pampering
For a touch of pampering after long days exploring the coastline, head to the Knoll House Hotel for a spa day package or individual treatments – from aroma massage to luxury facials. The Haven Spa in Sandbanks has an indulgent sea-view hot tub and heated outdoor pool, as well as a sauna and steam room, the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate.
11. Thrilling watersports
For water based pursuits, Studland Sea School offers kayaking, coasteering, snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding for all abilities. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-fuelled day out on the water, or simply interested in hiring equipment, the school’s qualified instructors are happy to help, with guided tours and tuition available across a range of activities.
12. Family-friendly fun
Dorset is a haven for family-friendly activities, whether you’re looking for theme parks, museums or leisurely days in the great outdoors.
Plan a trip to Monkey World to visit the 230 rescued and endangered animals, or opt for something a little more fast paced like a day at Adventure Wonderland, where children will love testing out the rides and meeting Lewis Carol’s iconic characters.
For real country bumpkins, we recommend taking a day trip to Farmer Palmers in Poole. With an indoor play barn and acres of outside space, get the little ones involved in bottle feeding the lambs or lend a hand at milking time – it’s an animal lover’s playground.