If you're pining for the pastoral landscapes of Ye Olde England, the county of Dorset is certainly worth a look. Leafy valleys and crumbly castles from the Norman ages converge on the farm-blanketed backcountry here, while the coast is given to sleepy fishing towns and hearty Victorian resorts. Glamping Dorset means choosing a truly rustic stay with a touch of refinement, so you can feel immersed in nature but still keep the creature comforts of home.
What to expect from glamping Dorset
Glamping is a fusion of camping and glamorous accommodation. It can refer to a whole host of stays, but they tend to be swathed in nature and a little quirky, to say the least. Read on to get a feel for what Dorset's glamped-up rentals can offer.
Standard features in Dorset glamping pods
Unlike your usual camping pitch, glamping pads are semi-permanent fixtures. That means you won't need to fuss with pegs and poles when you arrive. You just drop the bags and get to enjoying the vistas of the Jurassic Coast. Glamping also typically means en suite, so you can skip those long queues at the shared bathrooms.
Features in luxury Dorset glamping pods
Bringing the "glamour" into the portmanteau of glamping are the luxury spots of Devon. These places are like the ones that spill onto pebbly beaches by well-to-do Poole and Sandbanks. They come with fitted kitchens and sprawling deck spaces, while plenty also tout swimming pools and hot tubs.
Unique styles in Dorset glamping
Unlike cottage rentals, which tend to champion rustic, traditional architecture, glamping is all about the boutique and the creative. Dorset alone is home to some curious spots, starting with Rift Valley-style tentalows to get you feeling like a Victorian explorer. Throw in beach shacks and shed-like cabanas in the woods, and you start to get an idea of just how eclectic these stays can be.
Dorset glamping by the coast
There's no question that the Dorset coastline is one of the region's main draws. Choose to come glamping in these parts if you're the sort that loves fish and chips, breezy cliff walks and British seaside days.
Glamping, the Weymouth way
Weymouth marks the step between west Dorset and east Dorset. It's an endearing place that's got lots for families and couples alike. Away from its glamping sites you could plan a long, meditative walk across breathtaking Chesil Beach with the other half. Or, head to the Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park with the kids, for seal pools and encounters with penguins.
Go glamping in Sandbanks
Luxury glampers might want to focus their search for stays close to the sea on the well-to-do resort of Sandbanks. It fringes the English Channel just south of Poole and hosts some of the most coveted homes in the UK. Celebrity-led seafood kitchens mingle with yachting schools for budding foodies and sailors in the town itself.
Choose Lyme Regis for fossil hunting
Lyme Regis is a classic resort town where ice cream parlours rub shoulders with cod-frying pubs. Its surrounding area is peppered with some enticing glamping options, while the enthralling UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast extends out to the east and west – get ready for days of searching for pre-historic creatures in petrified rock.
Dorset country glamping
Extending 50 miles inland from the waters of the Channel, this slab of the South Coast offers plenty more than quaint harbour towns and fossil-spotted bays. In fact, it's often up there with the Cotswolds and the Lakeland as one of the picture-perfect examples of pastoral England. To experience that to the full, you could consider a glamping stay in the following places.
Dorset glamping near Corfe Castle
Though you might bag yourself a Mongolian yurt in the area around Corfe Castle, there's no question that it's the mighty Norman fortification that really rules the roost. Not only is it the namesake of the town, but it's also a haunting vision of the formidable forts that were raised by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Head there for history and the occasional military re-enactment.
Where to find Dorset glamping in the Cranborne Chase AONB
The sleepy town of Shaftesbury could be the perfect place to launch expeditions into the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This vast tract of protected land spreads into neighbouring counties, meaning you should be able to check off the half-crumbled rises of Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, not to mention the pre-historic monuments of Stonehenge.
Countryside charms in Beaminster
Chimney-topped Beaminster is a Georgian jewel. It's off the beaten path in the depths of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Glamping rentals here are a good jump-off point to Mapperton House, which is said to have inspired Thomas Hardy, and the vineyards of the Furleigh Estate – one of the county's few commercial wineries.