Harbour

Bridport and West Bay, Dorset

Ideally located for both short breaks and drawn-out retreats, the West Dorset duo of Bridport and West Bay offer the perfect mix of activities and attractions, from history to fine-dining to coastal escapades.

Bridport 

Set between rolling hills carpeted in velvety grass, the coastal gateway town of Bridport is idyllic. Established in the 9th Century by Alfred the Great, its rich history has witnessed a varied catalogue of personalities, industries and events over the centuries. Particularly shaped by its rope-making heritage, the town has produced ropes, cables, nets, cargo restraints and more since the 1200s. Even today, the town’s rope and net traditions continue to flourish and products are shipped all over the world.

If you visit Bridport today, you will see its proud history reflected in the form of over 1,000 listed buildings and various museums and heritage sites. If you want to learn more, you can orientate yourself towards the Bridport Tourist Information Centre on Bucky Doo Square or head straight to the Bridport Museum on South Street. Dating back to the 1600s, the museum houses artefacts from across the ages, from millions of years-old fossils to Iron Age coins to the Bridport Dagger of Henry VIII fame. 

Not just impressive for its history though, Bridport provides visitors with a wealth of events, activities and attractions throughout the year. There are several markets each month, including buzzing street markets, farmers markets and vintage markets, and the town is full of shops and galleries. There are also some great restaurants, with the area being a popular hotspot amongst foodies for its award-winning eateries. For the best views of the town, the 417ft Colmers Hill offers a wonderful vantage point. 

West Bay

Popular with those who love getting back to nature without having to venture too far off the beaten track, West Bay village is the perfect complement to Bridport’s historic market town. Set between Eype and Burton Bradstock, the picturesque bay with its plentiful local amenities, small harbour and fishing boats lures visitors of all generations looking to make the most of the location. Met by an expansive shingle beach that slopes into the sea, West Bay’s most famous feature has to be its amazing golden cliffs that shimmer in the sun.

If you wander down onto the beach itself, you may well find yourself retracing familiar steps. Having captured attention far and wide for its dramatic sandstone cliffs, West Bay has been used as the backdrop for many popular film and TV locations, including ITV’s Broadchurch. You may also recognise the bay for featuring on documentaries about the history of this incredible stretch of coastline – the Jurassic Coast – which records millions of years of the earth’s history through crumbling cliffs and intricately preserved fossils. 

During your holiday near Bridport and West Bay, you should make time to visit the West Bay discovery centre and also check out the water-based activities on offer. As well as great boat trips, you can also hire canoes for paddling along the River Brit and get on board with organised scuba diving excursions. Brilliant for diving opportunities, West Bay has access to more than 60 wrecks and superb reef and drift dives. On land, the South West Coast Path and West Bay golf course may also pique your interest. 

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