Dorset is often listed as one of the most desirable counties in the country, but people have very strong opinions about the best places to live.
Whether the lure of historic countryside is your thing, or sandy shores float your boat, Dorset has it all.
Now eight areas of Dorset have been crowned the ‘best’ places to live according to Muddy Stilettos’ Top 200 Places To Live series.
The publication celebrates the postcard villages and towns of Dorset, the many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Jurassic Coast and the thriving cultural scene.
Some places may make you roll your eyes, but others will surprise you.
Scroll down to see which locations made the cut, ranked from cheapest to steepest.
The “cheapest” of the wanted locations, Muddy Stilettos states that Bridport is “sometimes known as London by the sea, the city has a vibrant community, a rich cultural scene, independent shops and restaurants”.
While Dorset locals may disagree with the London comparison, Bridport is certainly home to plenty of independent businesses and actively working on a range of cultural opportunities.
Mention is made of the Michelin-rated Dorshi for food and cocktails, as well as the Red Brick Cafe, Watch House and Hive on the beach (Burton Bradstock).
Average house price:£322,057 in 2021 with a detached house at £427,385, a terraced house at £258,998 and apartments at £189,452
Described as a ‘sleepy hilltop town’, here at Dorset Live we don’t think the town is ‘sleepy’, but the characterization as an iconic scene full of independent shops, cafes and restaurants is accurate .
Top places to eat listed include The Grosvenor Arms and The Fontmell (Fontmell Magna) as well as The Forester (Donhead St Andrew).
Of course Shaftesbury cannot be mentioned without the word ‘bread’. Yes, this hill. Additionally, there is a wide variety of street and independent shops in the town itself.
Average house price: £326,213, with a detached at £493,481, semi-trailers at £311,962 and a sundeck at £231,026.
Our own capital is not only desirable, it is also steeped in history. Muddy Stilettos says it “is ideal for families with great schools, close to the Jurassic Coast and beautiful countryside”. and we couldn’t agree more.
They are tied to Poundbury as the ‘same place’ in their rating, which depending on your perspective may be reasonable.
Of Sienna’s many award-winning restaurants, Yalbury Cottage and The New Inn (Cerne Abbas) stand out. We are delighted to see our Art Deco cinema listed as a main attraction alongside the many museums and the giant Cerne Abbas nearby.
Average house price: £326,685 over the past year, with detached properties at £503,035, terraced houses at £332,086 and apartments at £224,652.
Named as “probably Bournemouth’s hippest and most cosmopolitan area, packed with places to eat, drink and shop – and just 15 minutes’ walk from the beach”. If you know the Bournemouth area, you know that Westbourne is where the locals really go to shop.
Although there aren’t many High Street chains in Bournemouth town centre, it’s actually a lure for the upmarket area.
Muddy Stilletos makes a special mention of Dot Teas, The Libertine, Tryuleys and Renouf’s… as well as ‘the best chip shop in Dorset Chez Fred’.
Average house price: The average price in the region is shown as £347,509 with detached properties averaging £894,565, semi-detached at £466,583 and apartments at £287,418.
“Postcard market town in North West Dorset with wonderful medieval and Georgian properties, good schools, a wonderful abbey and not one but two castles.” Residents of Sherborne would agree that they are spoiled for choice when it comes to attractive properties and activities.
Nods to good restaurants include The Eastbury Hotel & Spa and The Green.
Of course, Sherborne is home to both old Sherborne Castle and Sherborne Abbey, which comprises a series of monastic buildings.
Average house price: £348,880 with an individual sale for an average of £466,524; terraced £337,638 and semi-finished £326,479.
“A bustling town with pretty streets and courtyards, period buildings, independent shops and huge weekend markets.” Muddy Stilettos hit the nail on the head with Wimborne.
In addition to the town’s attractive features, it has outstanding restaurants and the site mentions Le Petit Prince Patisserie as well as Renouf’s and The Wimborne Pig.
It would be a crime not to mention the model village of Wimborne – which is currently working on a celebratory project to make an even more mini version of itself – as well as the museum in East Dorset and nearby Kingston Lacy.
Average house price: Known for its high prices, this is surprisingly not the most expensive site on the list. The average house price last year was £373,217. Detached properties sold for an average of £439,992, semi-trailers for £367,100 and apartments for £206,237.
Recently named as one of the 12 coolest postcodes to move to in 2022 according to The Times, it’s no surprise that Lyme Regis made the hot spots.
What do the Muddy Stilettos say? “Georgian streets, independent shops and restaurants, an ancient harbor (and even more ancient fossils) are on offer in this pretty seaside town on the Jurassic Coast.”
As many in the area know, the town is home to many award-winning and famous restaurants. SWIM, Tierra Kitchen, The Oyster & Fish House and Alexandra Hotel to name a few.
Credit is given to the high number of independent shops in town as well as nearby attractions such as the entire Jurassic Coast and Sea Theater. Let’s also not forget that this year, Lyme hosted the filming of Wonka where actors Timothée Chalamet and Matt Lucas as well as many others.
Average house price: You plan to spend a pretty penny to buy a house in Lyme. Last year, the average house price was £433,584with individual sales averaging £619,456, semi-trailers for £369,000 and apartments for £250,894.
We all know Christchurch is in demand, but it’s also now the most expensive neighborhood on the Muddy Stilettos list. The site describes it as having “the atmosphere of a fishing village, with a natural harbour, wonderful beaches and the New Forest nearby. It also has excellent schools and good rail links”.
Citing the Harbor Hotel’s Jetty restaurant as the main attraction alongside The Boathouse and the Captain’s Club. Mention is also made of the independent wine store Bodega.
History is never far from mind when you visit Christchurch and the sites of the Castle, Priory, Regent Center and even Stanpit Marsh are also listed as top attractions.
Average house price: The average price of real estate is quite high in £437,054with detached properties averaging £551,192, semi-detached for £383,873 and semi-trailers for £341,498.
Do you think there’s a desirable place that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments below
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