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Holidaying in Dorset has been a great British pastime for just about as long as people have been taking holidays.

Famed for its charming towns, world-class beaches and superb culinary highlights, Dorset has found a way into the hearts of countless souls from across the world. However, it’s the remarkable natural scenery of Dorset which has inspired most highly.

Tens of thousands of artists descend on Dorset every year to study its iconic coastline, sumptuous countryside and idiosyncratic towns and cities. It’s a pilgrimage that some of Britain’s most celebrated artists have completed and as such, Dorset boasts one of the most active artistic communities in the UK.

For those taking holidays in Dorset, we always recommend taking a trip out to see some of the amazing art galleries in the county which cover a diverse range of styles, mediums and settings. Here are some of our favourites:


  • Sculpture by the Lakes, Dorset – Perhaps the most beautiful sculpture park in the country, Sculpture by the Lakes is set among 26 acres of Dorset’s stunning countryside. Created by renowned British sculptor Simon Gudgeon and his wife Monique, the park boasts over thirty large examples of Simon’s work, with dozens of smaller pieces to be found throughout the grounds and in the Gallery Café. It’s the perfect day out for the whole family, with gorgeous gardens and so much to see and do.


  • Sladers Yard, West Bay Highlighting the very best in contemporary British art, furniture design by Peter Southall and craft, Sladers Yard is an art gallery with real purpose. Ever changing, you can expect to find an eclectic mix of ceramics, sculpture, photography, glassware, leather, painting and textiles. Oh, and it’s got a pretty terrific café too!


  • Walford Mill Crafts, Wimborne – Located in the former Walford Mill, Walford Mill Crafts is the flagship contemporary craft gallery in Dorset and a proud host of crafts in a dizzying array of mediums. From innovative pottery, metalwork and embroidery to carvings, painting and more, it makes for an exhilarating and eye-opening day out.


  • Bridport Arts Centre, Bridport – Exhibiting films alongside the best in art from local, national and internationally renowned artists, the Bridport Arts Centre and its art space, the Allsop Gallery, is a terrific day out. Alongside the temporary exhibits, you’ll find there are a number of workshops which make for a wonderful learning experience for kids and parents alike.


  • Artwave West, Morcombelake – Artwave West might well be relatively new to the Dorset art scene, but this independent gallery and its fresh approach to artist selection make for a truly distinctive experience that has to be seen to be believed. Showcasing some of the best artists you may not have heard of, Artwave West has made a name for itself not only by highlighting the next generation but by inspiring them too. How? Through the Artwave West Academy, of course, which teaches everything from how to make a silver ring to how to compose a photograph, screen print or paint abstract art.