A great base from which to explore gorgeous Dorset
We chose Bridport as our base for our time in Dorset, and were very happy with our choice. Its location in the west of the county allows the visitor to explore not only Dorset, but also neighbouring Devon and Somerset.
Bridport is a small, bustling market town, which also has a small port. It doesn't seem to have much in the way of established tourist infrastructure (or if it does, we forewent these in pursuit of Dorset's many other attractions), but it's a picturesque place with a vibrant air which reminds you of how market towns would have been before mass urbanisation. I suspect that it attracts more tha its fair share of well-heeled retirees, and there is a distinct air of affluence.
Other than the accessibility, we were attracted to Bridport as there is a good selection of farm-based self-catering accommodation in the area. Travelling with small children (then 4 and 1), it is a boon to be able to open the door and let them tumble out into a safe and car-free environment where they can run wild and expend energy: ours were enchanted to discover that the converted milking shed that we rented (much more comfortable than it sounds!) had an adjacent walled orchard, and by the end of the week, our daughter was an accomplished apple scrumper! For the uninitiated, 'scrumping' is the fine art of (unauthorised) fruit pilfering from orchards, much practiced by children in Enid Blyton books!
If you are self-catering, Bridport has an excellent Morrisons supermarket where you can stock up on everything you could possibly need (not something that you can necessarily rely on if you base yourself in smaller centres). It also has a few interesting looking speciality food stores, including a butchery on the main road that specialises in local produce. We were there in autumn, and there were all sorts of local game on offer as well as homemade faggots! Before you get too offended at my lack of political correctness, I should explain that a 'faggot' is a substantial British meatball made of meat offcuts and usually containing some offal (such as liver and heart) - precisely the sort of traditional fare that is in danger of disappearing in an onslaught of mass produced pizza, pasta and chicken tikka. How these unassuming meatballs ever acquired a gay male connatation is quite beyond me ... answers on a postcard, please!