On our doorstep
Moonfleet Manor is in the perfect location for exploring West Dorset sitting as it does on the remarkable Chesil Beach which runs 18 miles from West Bay near Bridport to the west all the way to Portland to the East.
The coast road provides a wonderfully scenic drive and the view above nearby Abbotsbury shows off to great advantage Chesil Beach and the Fleet behind stretching to Portland in the distance.
While in Abbotsbury, it is worth noting this charming village is also home to Abbotsbury Swannery, home to some 600 swans and you can walk through the heart of their nesting colony. Also in Abbotsbury is a magnificent 20 acre sub-tropical garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world, while the under 14s all enjoy the Abbotsbury Children's Farm.
Known as the Jurassic coast, Moonfleet is pretty much in the middle of a fossil-rich, 95-mile-long World Heritage Site. This geological ‘walk through time’ depicts 185 million years of the Earth's history spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and there's even a free iPhone app for a complete panorama of the Jurassic Coast from the sea. (link?)
A little way inland, near Dorchester, is Maiden Castle, an Iron Age hill fort with impressive ramparts and ditches and used in the famous scene from the 1967 film Far from the Madding Crowd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB82bgwHh_g Another, equally impressive, hill fort is Eggardon, located on chalk uplands four miles east of Bridport. Standing 252 metres (827 ft) above sea level, it provides panoramic views and is usually deserted, not being on the usual tourist trails. Both are free and make ideal picnic spots.
To the east of Weymouth, Lulworth Cove is a remarkable, naturally-formed cove, while nearby Durdle Door, Stair Hole and a fossilised forest attracts geology students from all over the world.
For those keen on sailing and windsurfing (not to mention kitesurfing, diving and angling), Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour provides a safe environment with excellent facilities for a wide variety of water sports and played host to the sailing events of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
There is so much in west Dorset to see and do that we can only give a taste of what is on offer. For more information on activities available you can click here to go to our page dedicated to local attractions, but again, this is by no means a complete list. If you have a specific area of interest, talk to a member of staff who will be happy to help you find what is available locally.