Bridport is a market town in Dorset, England, situated approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) inland from the English Channel near the confluence of the small River Brit and its tributary the Asker. Its origins are Saxon and it has a long history as a rope-making centre, though many of its buildings date from the 18th century.
On the coast and within the town's boundary is West Bay, a small fishing harbour previously known as Bridport Harbour.
In the 21st century Bridport's arts scene has contributed to the town becoming increasingly popular with people from outside the locality. It has an arts centre, theatre, library, cinema and museum, and several annual events. It features as Port Bredy in the fictional Wessex of Thomas Hardy's novels.
In the 2011 census the population of Bridport's built-up area was 13,568. The town is twinned with Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, France.
Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town on the south coast of England directly to the east of the Jurassic Coast, a 96-mile (155 km) World Heritage Site. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 183,491 making it the largest settlement in Dorset. With Poole to the west and Christchurch in the east, Bournemouth forms the South East Dorset conurbation, which has a total population of over 465,000.
Before it was founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell, the area was a deserted heathland occasionally visited by fishermen and smugglers. Initially marketed as a health resort, the town received a boost when it appeared in Dr Granville's book, The Spas of England. Bournemouth's growth really accelerated with the arrival of the railway and it became a recognised town in 1870. Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset with the reorganisation of local government in 1974. Since 1997, the town has been administered by a unitary authority, giving it autonomy from Dorset County Council although it remains part of the ceremonial county. The local council is Bournemouth Borough Council.
The town centre has notable Victorian architecture and the 202-foot (62 m) spire of St Peter's Church, one of three Grade I listed churches in the borough, is a local landmark. Bournemouth's location has made it a popular destination for tourists, attracting over five million visitors annually with its beaches and popular nightlife. The town is also a regional centre of business, home of the Bournemouth International Centre or BIC, and a financial sector that is worth more than £1,000 million in Gross Value Added.
Dorchester is the county town of Dorset, England. It is situated between the towns of Poole and Bridport on the A35 trunk route. A historic market town, Dorchester lies on the banks of the River Frome, in the Frome Valley, just south of the Dorset Downs and north of the South Dorset Ridgeway, that separates the area from Weymouth, 7 miles (11 km) south.
Dorchester was the home and inspiration of the author Thomas Hardy, whose novel The Mayor of Casterbridge was based on the town.
In the 2011 census the population of Dorchester was 19,060.
Weymouth is a seaside town in Dorset, England, situated on a sheltered bay at the mouth of the River Wey on the English Channel coast. The town is 11 kilometres (7 mi) south of Dorchester and 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of the Isle of Portland. The town's population is 52,323 (2011). The town is the third largest settlement in Dorset after the unitary authorities of Bournemouth and Poole.
Weymouth is a tourist resort, and its economy depends on its harbour and visitor attractions; the town is a gateway situated halfway along the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site on the Dorset and east Devon coast, important for its geology and landforms. Weymouth Harbour is home to cross-channel ferries, pleasure boats and private yachts, and nearby Portland Harbour is home to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, where the sailing events of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games were held.
The A354 road bridge connects Weymouth to Portland, which together form the borough of Weymouth and Portland. The history of the borough stretches back to the 12th century; including involvement in the spread of the Black Death, the settlement of the Americas, the development of Georgian architecture, and preparations for World War II.
Lyme Regis is a coastal town in West Dorset, England, situated 25 miles (40 km) west of Dorchester and 25 miles (40 km) east of Exeter. The town lies in Lyme Bay, on the English Channel coast at the Dorset–Devon border. It is nicknamed "The Pearl of Dorset." The town is noted for the fossils found in the cliffs and beaches, which are part of the Heritage Coast—known commercially as the Jurassic Coast—a World Heritage Site.
The harbour wall, known as "The Cobb", features in Jane Austen's novel Persuasion, and in The French Lieutenant's Woman, a novel by British writer John Fowles, as well as the 1981 film of the same name, which was partly filmed in Lyme Regis.
The town was home to Admiral Sir George Somers, its one-time mayor and parliamentarian. He founded the English colonial settlement of the Somers Isles, better known as Bermuda. Lyme Regis is twinned with St. George's, Bermuda.In July 2015 Lyme Regis was also 'tripled' with Jamestown,Virginia to form the Historic Atlantic Triangle between Lyme,St George's and Jamestown.
In the 2011 Census the town's parish and the electoral ward had a population of 3,671.