If you're into marine wildlife then have a look at cottages around Kimmeridge Bay. You might even find somewhere with a stunning sea view. Kimmeridge's extended low tide and shallow shelving makes for good rockpooling. The Kimmeridge marine centre offers information about the rich marine life found on the numerous rocky ledges in the bay. The centre also offers guided rockpool rambles and live underwater camera footage. In warmer weather, the bay is good for swimming and snorkelling, and several excellent dive sites make this a hotspot for professional divers.
Studland Bay is a popular place for holidaymakers. The bay is sheltered by the Old Harry Rocks, which jut out from the chalk headland. There are wide sandy beaches spanning five miles of the coast, which are great for swimming in the summer. The sand dunes and heathland behind the beach make up the Studland Nature reserve. The reserve provides a habitat for many rare birds including the Dartford Warbler and a colony of Ring-necked Parakeets. There are plenty of footpaths in the area and a woodland nature trail. You can also climb up the mound to the Agglestone, a mysterious 400 ton rock which is perched on the hill for no apparent reason! Studland was used as a training ground for the D-Day landings and is therefore home to an important relic of the Second World War: Fort Henry has three-foot thick concrete walls and a recessed observation slit. A walk on and around the fort gives great views of the bay.
Studland Bay also marks the start of Dorset's stretch of the 'Jurassic Coast', which runs right along South West Dorset and into Devon. The coastline here has official status from UNESCO as a 'World Heritage Site' and therefore ranks alongside the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon in providing "an outstanding example, representing a major stage of earth's history and the record of life".
The area around Lulworth Cove has some textbook examples of geographical features, which make for impressive scenery. Lulworth's heritage centre explains how this part of the coast has evolved over millions of years. The crescent shaped cove has some fantastic beaches for swimming and snorkelling, and can be explored by boat. Durdle Door, the famous rock-arch, is just a short and pleasant walk away. The fossil forest has specimens from over 130 million years ago, including doughnut shaped 'burrs' formed when algae and mud have collected around tree stumps and fossilised. Lulworth Castle, set in extensive parklands, was destroyed by fire in 1929 but has now been restored to its former glory. Inside there are interesting displays, artefacts and activities for children which tell the story of the castle and its occupants.