Dorset is a county in the South of England, where the West Country begins.
The long coastline contains much of what is now known as the Jurassic Coast, and includes well known beauty spots such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, as well as unusual natural features including Chesil Beach and Portland Bill.
Thomas Hardy's novels were set in Dorset, making use of features like Blackmore Vale and Cranborne Chase. The Tolpuddle Martyrs also came from Dorset.
Features from the pre-Roman age are the Giant of Cerne Abbas and the impressive ramparts of Maiden Castle.
Two "islands" which are not islands at all are the Isle of Portland and the Isle of Purbeck.
Blandford Forum received an elegant Georgian rebuilding after a disastrous fire.
Bournemouth is one of England's most popular seaside resorts.
Bridport was once famous for rope making.
Corfe Castle was the scene of the murder of King Edward the Martyr in 978.
Dorchester is the county town. Dating back to Roman times, it has a museum devoted to dinosaurs.
Lyme Regis is an outstanding seaside resort with plenty of history. The Cobb is well known as the setting for scenes from the film "The French Lieutenant's Woman", starring Meryl Streep.
Poole is a bustling town set on the enormous natural Poole Harbour.
Portland is famous for its stone, which was used for many important buildings, including St. Pauls Cathedral.
Shaftesbury is a fine old market town, once famous for buttons.The photogenic Gold Hill is remembered as the setting for a famous Hovis advertisement.
Sherborne is a lovely old town, with two cvastles.
Swanage was a mediaeval fishing village that became a fashionable seaside town.
Wareham is an ancient town founded in the Anglo-Saxon period.
Weymouth is a seaside resort and cross Channel port, and a favourite of George III.
Wimborne MInster has an excellent and impressive church.