Dorset is a county in the southwest U.K., locked the seaside. What makes Dorset county so special is its beautiful coastline and the so-called “Jurassic Coast” situated on the English channel. Camping in Dorset is a delight, regardless of whether you’re there to explore fossils or enjoy the South Coast of England.
Dorset coast offers it all, from the countryside to beach campsites. Once there, you can enjoy an area of outstanding natural beauty. Visit Lulworth Cove, Lyme Regis, or Corfe castle. This article will tell you all about camping in Dorset, how, when, and where to do it.
Is it Legal to Camp in Dorset
Camping in Dorset is legal only if you have the permission of the owner of the land to wild camp on their property. This means, if you don’t have permission, you might as well consider it illegal. Wild camping is banned in the U.K., just like lighting a fire during the summer months.
Even wild campers sleeping on the Bournemouth beach face wake up to find officials handing them a £1,000 fine. If you decide not to leave the property after the owner or police asked you to, you might face a fine too. This one could be for up to £2,500 or imprisonment.
Locals say it’s OK: “Just find a bit of forest, go in late and leave early. I have fires wild camping all the time, just make sure it’s under control, find some rocks and make a ring or use some thick logs instead.” – Reddit.
Weather in Dorset
Weather in Dorset is a humid and maritime climate, with temperate summers and cool winters. It is home to the Natural World Heritage Site called Jurassic Coast. Here, it is possible to encounter all four seasons in one day, especially during Spring and Autumn. The weather in Dorset is unpredictable. From snow to rain and wind, Dorset has it all.
Winters in Dorset do see some snow but are mostly very humid and full of rain. Temperatures range from 6 to 8°C or 42 to 46 °F. The mid-seasons are also humid but much brighter and sunnier than in the rest of England, with temperatures between 9 and 19°C, or 44 and 66°F.
Summers in Dorset are much lighter and sunnier than the rest of the U.K. Dorset has a maritime climate, and most big towns and cities are near the coast. Daily summer temperatures are around 21°C or 69°F. Occasional rain and windy weather are bound to happen, so be prepared for this as well.
When to Camp in Dorset
When to visit Dorset, the mildest climate region of England, is up to you. We recommend summer for the highest temperatures and mildest climate for camping, but if you want to enjoy some alone time, late spring and early fall are also recommended. Winter is great for the occasional Christmas fairs and markets. Be sure to take the proper gear and invest in a cozy winter tent.
If you want to visit one of the many campsites in Dorset, here is the gear you shouldn’t forget:
- Rain gear: Jacket, pants, and hat
- Double-sided tent for rain and wind
- Waterproof hiking shoes
- Extra tarps and waterproof gear
If you’re camping in Dorset during summer, here are the must-sees:
- Jurassic Coast – World Heritage Coastline and dinosaur museum in the open
- West bay beach and Chesil beach – Two of the most popular beaches in the U.K.
- West Dorset countryside – Gentle grassy slopes and beautiful countryside
- Lyme Regis – The pearl of Dorset
- Old Harry Rocks – Three chalk formations on the sea
Where to Camp in Dorset
Dorset is full of beautiful coastlines, beaches, and coves. If you’re looking for a family-run park that is perfect for our camping holidays, Dorset is where to look. Dorset campsites mostly have outdoor swimming pools or are just a stone’s throw away from the beach. The children’s play area, local beaches, and local attractions will keep your family entertained.
Here are some of our favorite southwest England campsites in Dorset county that will have the whole family happy:
- Charmouth Camping and Caravanning Club Site – This is a dog-friendly, quiet site for motorhomes and caravans. It’s a family-friendly park with flush toilets, Wi-Fi, and showers. All of the facilities are in excellent shape and spotlessly clean.
- Dorset Farm Camping at Dewflock Farm – This family-owned farm shop camping pitch is straight from a movie. The camping site is located on a farm, including laundry rooms, local amenities, and a stunning location. The location had pre-set bell tents and all the facilities you need for an unforgettable camping vacation.
- Golden Cap Holiday Park – Just in between the sea and hills lies this glamping spot. It’s a very relaxed site with toilets, electric and gas hookups, and showers. What we loved the most was the grass pitches and amazing view.
Wild Camping Tips and Gear
Here is the gear you might need when wild camping in Dorset:
- Sleep setup: tent, sleeping bag and pad, quilt.
- Insulation: Down jacket, hat, gloves, long johns.
- Rain layers: Rain jacket and pants, poncho, and backpack cover.
- First aid, toiletries, and cooking gear
- Spare set of clothing and sleep clothes
- Powerbank, phone, lighter, headlamp, GPS.
Also, if you plan on camping in the wild in Dorset, here are some tips to stay off the radar:
- Don’t choose private campsites. Look for patches that are public and near the footpath.
- When in Dorset, it’s recommended to stay in one place only for one night.
- Dorset police officials tend to search beaches during the summertime, so stay away from any crowded or obvious wild locations.
- Pitch your tent late and leave early, be respectful of the countryside or backcountry.
- Leave no trace and light no fires
We hope this article helped you in choosing the right place and time to visit or go camping in Dorset. The stunning countryside and the Jurassic coast are two of the many Dorset attractions to keep the whole family happy.