What’s new for holidaymakers in Dorset? We asked JESSICA THORNTON of Visit Dorset to fill us in.

So Jessica, what’s new for Dorset in 2015?

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

This year, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens will celebrate its 250th anniversary. The gardens will host lots of extra events throughout the year including a Fair in August, a barn dance in July, tree climbing and a zip wire, as well as other exciting events. Plus they will be offering coach groups extra special deals during 2015.

Photo credit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, © Julien Lightfoot

Dorchester Literary Festival launches in October 2015 and is an exciting new cultural event for a town rich in literary associations. With a programme of events highlighting the latest books by today’s most original authors, this new festival warmly welcomes book-lovers to this beautiful setting. The festival’s main events will be held in the grand hall of the County Museum, a quirky Victorian building filled with a fascinating collection of exhibits to enjoy.

Cut and create your very own vintage inspired frocks in a converted mill a stone’s throw from the sea at freshly opened Sew-La-Di-Da Vintage in Lyme Regis. Home grown glamour at your fingertips! Drawing from a wealth of experience, you will learn tricks of the trade to help you achieve professional results. Hens & party girl workshops available also.

What are you most excited about in 2015 in Dorset?

The release of the new Far From the Madding Crowd movie in May starring Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge and Mathias Schoenaerts. The film was shot largely in Dorset and locations include Mapperton House, Forde Abbey, Beaminster and Sherborne; the streets of which were transformed into an 1870s market square to represent the town of ‘Casterbridge’. It will be tremendously exciting to see the Dorset landscape we know and love broadcast globally on the big screen.

Photo credit: Far From the Madding Crowd, © Fox Searchlight

What is the most unusual event taking place in 2015?

Dorset Knob Throwing Festival

Aside from the annual Knob Throwing and Nettle Eating contests, which Dorset has become famous for, I would say that the Great Dorset Chilli Festival comes in at a close third. If you feel you can take the heat, visit this flaming fiesta this year on August 1st and 2nd at St Giles House, Wimborne St Giles and spice things up with all things chilli. From pepper plants to cayenne condiments; seeds to ceramics; plus cooking demonstrations; artisan food producers; music and dancing; spicy street food; local ice creams to cool the mouth; local beers to slake the thirst, it’s the hottest day out in Dorset!

Photo credit: Dorset Knob Throwing Festival, © Chris Ould & Rupert Cake

Where’s your favourite Dorset beach, and why?

Studland Beach in Dorset

My favourite beach is Studland. It’s hard to beat in the summer with its four mile stretch of soft white sand, views across to Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight, the Knoll Beach Cafe for a spot of lunch or a Purbeck ice cream and wildlife walks through the dunes and heathland behind the beach where you can spot all six British reptile species.

Photo credit: Studland Beach, © Visit Dorset

Is there a Dorset food or drink we must try?

You can’t come to Dorset without trying our famous Dorset Apple Cake. This delightful cake is best sampled in a quaint Dorset tearoom, or whilst soaking up the sunshine from a pretty garden terrace.

We have three nights in Dorset, what must we see?

West Bay, home of Broadchurch in Dorset

Visit West Bay, the filming location of triple BAFTA award winning drama Broadchurch and see for yourself the beautiful rippled golden cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. A Broadchurch Trail to help you discover the filming locations from series 1 is available from www.visit-dorset.com/about-the-area/broadchurch and an update including series 2 locations will be available soon.

Photo credit: West Bay, © Visit Dorset

Sit back and relax with a day of excitement and nostalgia at the award winning Swanage Railway. The 12 mile return trip takes you through the beautiful Purbeck countryside and includes stunning views of the iconic remains of Corfe Castle. As you travel down to Swanage you can appreciate the rich history of the area, its abundant wildlife and fascinating geology as well as the influence the region had on famous authors such as Enid Blyton and Thomas Hardy.

Fossil hunting on the Dorset coast

Lyme Regis and Charmouth are two of the best known beaches in Dorset for fossil hunting. The remains that have been found here since the 18th century represent one of the richest slices of life in Jurassic times anywhere in the world! Join a fossil hunting walk to discover your own prehistoric gem or a Mary Anning guided walk (the girl behind the well known tongue twister “She sells sea shells”).

Photo credit: Fossil Hunting, © Visit Dorset

Ready to visit? Head over to our main site to find a holiday in Dorset: https://www.breakfreeholidays.co.uk/caravan-park-holidays/uk/dorset-and-somerset

Written by Dan at BreakFree Holidays

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