Dorset Travel & Transport

The transport system in the county of Dorset offers visitors a number of ways to get around from public transport such as buses and trains to using the road with car hire and coaches.

Local bus services in Dorset provide services to local areas and across the county, with a number of routes covering local towns including Bournemouth, Weymouth, Dorchester, Poole, Blandford Forum, Christchurch, Lyme Regis and Sherborne.

Details of local bus services and timetables can be found at Dorset Buses

Trains in Dorset serve a number of routes across the county and to other areas. There are several mainline rail routes offering local and regional services. Bournemouth Station has services to London Waterloo station with a journey time of approx 1 hour and 50 minutes. There are local services to Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth from Bournemouth and services further out to Manchester, Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent.

Train services are provided South West Trains and Cross Country Trains

Weymouth station has services to London Waterloo, Gloucester, Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads stations.

Other railway stations in Dorset include Poole, Dorchester South, Dorchester West, Parkstone and Branksome.

For more information please see National Rail Enquiries

Public Transport Safety Tips
Most journeys on public transport in London go ahead without incident, in order to minimise the chances of any incidents, passengers may wish to consider the following safety tips:

- Be aware of your belongings at all times.
- Do not leave your bags and belongings unattended at any time.
- Stay alert and aware of your environment and those around you.
- Do not show valuables including money and jewellery in public.
- If you are carrying a bag/handbag, ensure you use a bag that has a strong good quality strap and wear it across your shoulder (not on your shoulder), with the pockets closed facing towards your waist. Carrying the bag on your shoulder makes it much easier for criminals to snatch the bag or cut the strap.
- Be careful and cautious in crowds and beware of pickpockets, do not leave anything valuable showing in public including wallets in back trouser pockets.
- Sit in carriages with other passengers do not sit in carriages with no/fewer passengers.
- Try not to use smaller/isolated stations especially at night.
- When waiting for buses, trains, boats and taxis stand with other passengers in an area that is well lit, do not stand/wait in isolated areas.

There are a number of car hire firms in Dorset that offer car rental services for both short and longer term car hire offering a range of vehicles from small budget cars to family cars to larger mini-buses and luxury cars.

Dorset is connected to the road network via the M27 motorway and the A338, with London to Bournemouth by car via the M3, M27, A31 and A338 a drive of approx 2 hours to 2 hours 20 minutes hours depending on traffic. Other major roads around the county include the A31, A35 and A354.

Drivers should be aware there are some winding, narrow and steep roads in Dorset including in rural areas and the roads around popular tourist attractions and towns can get busy especially during the peak tourist season.

Parking in Bournemouth centre includes a number of pay and display and pay on exit car parks. Major car parks in Bournemouth town centre are located at the Bournemouth International Centre, Madeira Road, St Peter’s Road, Glen Fern Road and Bournemouth Terrace Road.

There are Park & Ride scheme in operation in Weymouth, Norden and Dorchester, where drivers can park in designated areas in the outskirts of the towns and get a bus in to the town centre. For more information please see: Dorset Park & Ride

Drivers should note there may be driving restrictions in and around the city and town centres. It is recommended visitors ensure they fully understand the local parking rules before parking and help avoid unnecessary fines and worry.

Dorset’s location on the English Channel coast makes it convenient to use ferries to get to the county. Condor Ferries offers services from Jersey in the Channel Islands to Poole. Brittany Ferries offers services from Cherbourg in France to Poole and services from Portsmouth and Plymouth to both France and Spain.

Dorset is accessible by coach with regular coach services available to Dorset from London Victoria coach station, the journey time from London to Bournemouth is between 2 hours 20 minutes and 3 hours 50 minutes depending on the service, time of day & traffic. There are also services from London to Poole and Weymouth in Dorset. Coach services are provided by National Express.

Whilst travelling by coach to Dorset is usually more time consuming than using rail and road, it is usually more cost effective.

Bournemouth Airport is located approx 7 miles from Bournemouth town centre; the airport caters for short haul flights and some longer haul holiday charter flights.

Southampton Airport is located approx a 45 minute drive (35 miles) from Bournemouth, the airport caters for a number of local, regional and international flights.

For more information on public transport in Dorset including information on public transport and timetables please see: Dorset Public Transport from Dorset’s Councils.

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