Dorset is located on the coast of the English Channel and was already settled in the Neolithic Age. Chalk cliffs and limestone outcrops characterize its varied landscape, which is one of the most beautiful in the whole of Great Britain. Enchanting coastal towns and two mysterious moorland landscapes, Exmoor and Dartmoor, are the contrasts that make Devon so attractive. The most distinctive area of Dorset is clearly the Jurassic Coast, which has even been declared a World Heritage Site because of its unique character.
Dorset and Devon are unfortunately only “transit countries” during our stay in southern England: We always cross the two counties and stop at the one or other sight. However, we never stay long, so that there is also no tip for overnight accommodations.
With more than nine million tourists every year, Devon is one of the most popular vacation regions in England. No wonder, the county is perfect for an active vacation with hiking, biking, swimming or horseback riding. And with Exeter there is an absolute sightseeing hotspot on top.
The small but more varied county of Dorset doesn't have to hide either: The spectrum ranges from rather old-fashioned seaside resorts with beautiful sandy beaches to rugged limestone cliffs and gently undulating hinterland. Of course cultural highlights are not missing.
Maiden Castle is an Iron Age hill fort near Dorchester in the English county of Dorset. The way up the hills turns out to be quite adventurous, as it is besieged by dozens of sheep and their numerous droppings. It stinks so much of sheep that we only pay the most necessary attention to Maiden Castle.
The picturesque village of Cerne Abbas is located north of Dorchester in the southwestern English county of Dorset. Cerne Abbas, which consists of a village in the 9. The town, which was founded as a Benedictine abbey in the 13th century, impresses us with its beautifully decorated Tudor houses.
Unfortunately there is no time for the inviting pubs, after all we also want to see the club-wielding Cerne Giant! The outlines of the almost 60 meter tall Cerne Giant were already carved into the limestone layer of the mountain in prehistoric times.
Jurassic Coast + West Bay
The Jurassic Coast is the name given to a section of the English Channel coast in the south of England. The 150 km long coastal strip was the first natural landscape in England to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. In addition to the impressive rock and coastal formations, the Jurassic Coast is best known as a fossil site. Large parts of Dorset are protected as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
No wonder the Jurassic Coast made a lasting impression on me: When I discovered the English crime series “Broadchurch” half a year later, I was fascinated every time the rugged cliff face came into the picture. And it does so quite often, as many scenes of the fictional town were filmed in West Bay in Dorset, among other places. From the harbor of the town of Bridport you have a fantastic view of some of the impressive cliff formations of the Jurrasic Coast.
As an avid reader of Rebecca Gable's historical novels, I am of course familiar with Exeter! The capital of the county of Devon used to be even the capital of Cornwall. The city is situated on the river Exe, only a few kilometers north of the mouth of the English Channel. Dartmoor National Park is also not far away.
The cityscape of Exeter, where star author Joanne K. Rowling once went to college, is most notable for its medieval churches. Spiritual center is the venerable cathedral St. Peter, an impressive example of the richly shaped English High Gothic style. We marvel at the brightly shining sandstone façade with its perfectly formed ornaments and the imposing interior: a filigree ribbed vault spans the central nave, which with a length of 105 meters is the longest Gothic vault in the world. Rougement Castle was built on the highest point in 1068 by order of William the Conqueror. In the meantime only the castle wall and a gatehouse are preserved. So the term “castle” seems a bit exaggerated in view of this barren ruin. To the left of the castle grounds is the Rougement Gardens, a pretty park with colorful flowerbeds.
The fact that Exeter was once an important port city is no longer noticeable in the city center. The old docks, the Old Quayside, lie to the southwest of the old city on the River Exe. We don't agree with our guide's statement that the listed customs building, several historic warehouses and pubs provide an atmospheric ambience. Mr. Wallygusto and I feel that the Quayside is too touristy, which is why there are no photos of us here. Actually, we should have known better, but the thought of quirky business made us weak then nevertheless.
Why the English food has such a bad reputation, we can not understand even in Dorset and Devon: Tasty Cornish Pasty can be found on every corner and in Exeter the selection of cozy cafes with small delicacies leaves nothing to be desired.
Exploding Bakery | Central Station Buildings, 1B, Queen St, Exeter EX4 3SB
On the Internet we come across the Exploding Bakery. The fun name and the prospect of homemade cake (baked by some very sexy people ;-)) ensure that we head for the stylish bakery as soon as we arrive in Exeter. Crispy Cheese Toastie, juicy Chocolate Brownie and the good coffee confirm the rightness of our decision!
Cornish Bakery | 6 W Bay Rd, West Bay, Bridport DT6 4EN
It's not that I've grown tired of Cornish Pasty, but varied food is the name of the game, after all. Plus, the sandwiches at the Cornish Bakery in West Bay just look too tempting. And if you have to eat Cornish Pasty in Dorset, I don't know either.