Discover a car free weekend in Dorset with SWR

A car-free long weekend in Dorset

8 February 2022

Planning a weekend getaway to Dorset? Here’s how you can do it without a car!

Located in the South of England, this scenic coastal county is absolutely bursting with things to do no matter the season, from sightseeing and days spent at the beach to boat trips and delicious dining. And while it can feel like a matter of convenience to take your car away with you, it’s easy to forget the hassles that can come with driving. No one wants to begin their long weekend stuck in a traffic jam, or fretting about finding a parking spot – so why not leave your car behind and make the most of public transport?

Our South Western Railway service is well-connected to destinations all over the South, so you can begin your holiday feeling comfortable and relaxed. Your whole group can make use of our speedy trains to carve out a path along the Dorset Coast, taking in all the amazing sights along the way.

Ready to plan for your Dorset holiday? To help you get inspired, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of the best things to do in Dorset without a car. Use our guide as your packed-out weekend itinerary or pick and choose the parts that appeal to you the most!

Weekend in Dorset without a car: Day 1

Enjoy Bournemouth Beach & Pier

What better way to start your weekend in Dorset than with a coastal adventure in picturesque Bournemouth? With seven miles of sandy beaches to explore, it’s the perfect spot for stretching your legs and taking in the stunning coastal views.

Bournemouth Pier seen from the beach at sunrise

On brighter days, bring along some deckchairs and bask in the sun, or dare to take a dip in the in the refreshing English Channel. Whatever the weather, you’ll want to make the most of Bournemouth’s selection of seafront activities – including Bournemouth Pier, where you can enjoy views of the town from above on Bournemouth Wheel.

From Bournemouth station, the beach is just nine minutes away on the 5a bus.

Stop for brunch at Café Boscanova

The morning’s travel has probably left you feeling peckish, so it’s time to stop off for some brunch at Café Boscanova. With their delicious menu including everything from pancakes to avocado toast, there’s something to satisfy all tastes.

From Bournemouth Pier, the café is a 15-minute journey away on the m2 bus.

Take a trip to Brownsea Island 

Now that you’re nicely fuelled up, it’s time to hop back on the train to continue with your tour of some of the prettiest spots in Dorset – next up, Poole!

Sunrise over Brownsea Island, looking into Poole Harbour

The journey to Poole by rail takes just 11 minutes, and from there, you’ll be finding your sea legs on a quick ferry journey to the stunning Brownsea Island. With beautiful white-sand beaches and incredible views, there’s so much to do here, from bird watching and sunbathing, to archery and mini golf.

Dinner at Guildhall Tavern

After a long day of exploring, you deserve another good feed, and Guildhall Tavern will certainly hit the spot. 11 minutes’ walk from the station, it won’t be long until you’re seated and ready to order!

Embrace the delicious French cuisine and sample some of the Jurassic Coast’s fresh and delectable seafood, before finishing with an assortment of local cheeses. If you’ve more of a sweet tooth, choose from a tempting dessert menu including crème brulées and sweet crêpes.

After-dinner drinks in Tin of Sardines

As the sun sets on a day of fun, what better way to round things off than with some after-dinner drinks? With a great selection of beverages, including over 300 Gins & over 60 Tonics, this quirky joint offers the perfect place for an evening pitstop. Getting here is easy, as Tin of Sardines is only an 11-minute walk from Poole station.

Weekend in Dorset without a car: Day 2

Visit Corfe Castle

Your second day begins bright and early with a trip to the striking ruins of Corfe Castle. At over one thousand years old, this grand old building has served many purposes, from being Saxon stronghold and a Norman fortress, to a royal palace and eventually, a family home. The castle is 15 minutes away from Wareham station on the Purbeck Breezer bus.

Corfe Castle on a summer day

Lunch at The Pink Goat

Make the most of your time in the sleepy village of Wareham and head for lunch at a local gem of a café named The Pink Goat. This modern eatery is located on a local goat farm just a four-minute walk from the castle, and its tempting menu includes homemade pizzas and warming soups, as well as lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Visit Durdle Door

After taking in the beauty of the Corfe Castle ruins, it’s time to visit one of the most iconic natural formations of the Jurassic Coast. Among the world’s most famous stone arches, Durdle Door is quite simply one of the most fascinating sights in all of Southern England – so don’t forget to take some pictures!

Durdle Door on a summer day

If you feel like exploring more of the coast, it’s a 25-minute walk to Lulworth Cove from Durdle Door – with amazing vistas for the entirety of the route, it’s certainly worth the hike.

To get here, catch the train to Wool, before hopping on the X54 Jurassic Coaster towards Weymouth.

Evening walk on Weymouth Beach

Round off your second day and work up an appetite with a pre-dinner stroll along one of the best beaches in Dorset; the picturesque Weymouth Beach. Follow the stretch of coast all the way across, or if you fancy a dip, then the gently sloping seabed makes Weymouth Beach the perfect spot for swimming in.

Sunset over Weymouth Beach

Weymouth Beach is just an eight-minute walk from Weymouth station.

Dinner at Hall’s Kitchen

For an Instagram-worthy eat head to Hall’s Kitchen, a café that’s loved by both locals and tourists alike. With an impressive menu, it’s easy to see why this local hotspot is considered one of the best Dorset restaurants! From loaded burgers to flavoursome seafood dishes, even the pickiest eater is bound to leave satisfied.

This popular dining spot is just an 11-minute walk from Weymouth.

Drinks at The Black Dog

Raise your glasses to a wonderful weekend while sitting in one of the oldest pubs in Dorset! Dating back to 1500, The Black Dog’s cosy atmosphere and impressive selection of drinks provides you with the perfect ending to your trip. And at just an eight-minute walk from Weymouth, you don’t have to walk far to hop back on the train home again.

There are so many amazing places to visit in Dorset – so why not plan your car-free weekend today? Explore our flexible range of ticket types to find the right one for your journey. Make the most of cheap train tickets during your UK weekend trip by train by going off-peak, and those with a Railcard could save even more.