Dorset’s seafood is some of the best the UK has to offer. Its coastal waters are brimming with excellent mackerel, lobster, mullet and much more. So it stands to reason that this rural part of the West Country has some superb seafood eateries. The whole 50-mile length of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove, is a treat for fishermen and foragers alike, while inland you’ll find verdant farming land, which gives foodies further cause to celebrate. From the steep chalk hills and wide clay valleys full of small dairy farms, to the hop fields, grazing lands and orchards, it’s a landscape that lends itself to food production. The Hall & Woodhouse Brewery and Palmers of Bridport brew fantastic ales, and there’s been resurgence in the production of cider too, with artisan brewers, like the Purbeck Cider Company, making their presence felt. This being the West Country, cheese makers are many, creating such delicious varieties as Dorset Blue Vinny and Dorset White.
There’s also no shortage of talent in Dorset’s kitchen: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s famous River Cottage HQ is located near Bridport, Lesley Waters has set up a cookery school in Abbot’s Hill, Alex Aitkin has The Jetty in Christchurch and Mark Hix’s famous Hix Oyster and Fish House is located in Lyme Regis. Hop on a steam train and enjoy a fantastic meal courtesy of the Swanage Railway, or explore Hardy’s much-loved countryside, the seaside resorts of Bournemouth, Weymouth and Poole and the historic county town of Dorchester. If you’re feeling brave, you can even attend the annual Dorset Chilli Festival and discover another Dorset passion.