Dorset or as it used to be known, Dorsetshire, comprises of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Dorset borders Devon to the West, Somerset to the North West, Wiltshire to the North East and Hampshire to the East. You could say the 'capital' of Dorset is Dorchester which is in the South. Half the population of Dorset lives in the sprawling conurbation of Poole, Bournemouth, Southbourne and Christchurch. Dorset incorporated the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch in 1974 whilst at losing Ringwood to Hampshire?
Historically, Oliver Cromwell's forces crushed a revolt in Shaftesbury, the doomed Monmouth Rebellion started at Lyme Regis and a group of farm labourers from Tolpuddle started the trade union movement. The large harbours of Portland and Poole were used for the invasion of Normandy during the Second World War. Weymouth was the sailing venue for teh 2012 Summer Olympics. Durdle Door made the news recently with visitors 'tomb bombing'.
Dorset landscape is varied and over half of Dorset is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Three quarters of Dorset's coastline is part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site with notable Dorset landforms such as Lulworth Cove, Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door.
There are no motorways in Dorset but does have 2 main railway lines connecting Dorset to London (including the restored great Swanage railway line with its steam trains!). Dorset has ports at Portland, Poole and Weymouth. There is an international airport at Hurn, outside Bournemouth.
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset.