Popular lifestyle website, Muddy Stilettos have just announced their top ten places to live in Dorset and we were very pleased to see that the home of our Northover and Gilbert HQ, Bridport made the list. Are your favourites included too?

Canford Cliffs

Close to Poole Harbour, Canford Cliffs is close to some beautiful walks and golden beaches.

Schools: According to Muddy Stilettos the schools here are excellent: State Manorside Primary, Parkstone Grammar (girls), Winton Academy, Glenmore Academy are all Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’, Poole High School and Poole Grammar (boys), are ‘good’. The best independents include Bournemouth Collegiate Prep School Bournemouth Collegiate School, the girls-only Talbot Heath and Yarrells Prep School & Nursery.

Transport links: Bournemouth to London Waterloo from 2 hours (from Poole it’s another half hour). France – in around four hours on the ferry.

House Prices: While the average house price last year was £788,556, a detached house will set you back on average around £1.5m (but can go for a lot, lot more), flats around £423,590 and terraced £485,571.


According to the site, Beaminster is a laid-back, pretty town with an arty feel.

Schools: State primaries and the secondary Beaminster School have been rated ‘Good’. The independent Perrott Hill Prep is about seven miles away.

Transport Links: It is five miles to Crewkerne station then London Waterloo in about 3 hours.

House Prices: Lots of period properties around the centre of the village and new, attractive, areas of housing. The average selling price over the past year was £422,512, with detached properties, selling for an average price of £632,174, terraced for an average of £324,077 and flats £154,495.


Muddy Stilettos describe our home town of Bridport as ‘London-by-the-Sea’ with a vibrant community, rich cultural scene, indie shopping and eateries. Surrounded by stunning countryside, it’s also just a mile and half to the sea. Yes that sounds about right. Maybe less pigeons than London and no underground system but it’s certainly an interesting place to live!

Schools: Several primaries, Sir John Colfox Academy is ‘good’. Nearest independents include Sherborne SchoolSherborne PrepSherborne Girls, Leweston School and Perrott Hill Prep.

Transport Links: 2 miles to Crewkerne station then London Waterloo from 2 hours 4 mins.

House Prices: Average selling price is around £333,299 over the last year, with detached at £514,304, terraced £309,235 and flats £170,957.


The historic county town of Dorchester in Dorset is great for families with very good schools, it is close to the Jurassic coast and situated in glorious countryside.

Schools: The schools here are great.. Several state primaries close by are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and the Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester is rated ‘Outstanding’. Independents within easy reach include Sunninghill Prep in the town, and then Sherborne School (all boys), Sherborne GirlsSherborne Prep (mixed), Leweston and Exeter School.

Transport Links: Dorchester West to London Paddington in 2 hours 32 mins; Dorchester South to London Waterloo in around 3 hours.

House Prices: Average house price last year was £326,685 over the last year, with detached properties fetching £503,035, terraced £332,086 and flats £224,652.


​Nestled within the glorious Blackmore Vale in North Dorset, Shaftesbury has a range of shops, cafes and restaurants and of course one of the UK’s most recognisable street scenes at Gold Hill, made famous by an iconic Hovis TV commercial.

Schools: State schools Shaftesbury School and nearby Gillingham School are both ‘good’. Nearby independents include Port Regis, Clayesmore, Bryanston and Bryanston PrepSherborne School (all boys, established in the 12th century), Sherborne Girls, and Sherborne Prep (mixed).

Transport Links: Gillingham (5 miles) or Tisbury (9.5 miles) to London Waterloo from just over 2 hours.

House Prices: The average house price was £328,034 over the last year, with detached at £516,887, semis at £285,293 and terraced at £260,279.


Sherborne is a market town in north west Dorset, with a stunning mix of medieval and Georgian properties, with an eclectic collection of independent shops, cafes and restaurants, excellent schools, a magnificent abbey and two castles.

Schools: State Sherborne Primary and secondary The Gryphon School are Ofstead ‘Good’. The independents Sherborne School (all boys, established in the 12th century), Sherborne Girls, and Sherborne Prep (mixed) are the centre of town; Leweston School is just outside and Hazlegrove Prep and its glorious 200 acres is a few miles away.

Transport Links: London Waterloo from 2 hours 28 mins; go to Castle Cary for London Paddington in about 90 minutes.

House prices: Home to lots of period properties as well as new builds, average house prices were £341,023 over the last year, with detached selling for an average of £496,890; terraced £309,983 and semis £316,900.


​Wimborne features pretty streets and courtyards, period buildings, independent shops and weekend markets.

Schools: A large number of Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ primaries including Colehill First School, Hayeswood First, Merley First, Allenbourn Middle School, St Catherine’s Catholic and many more. Secondary Queen Elizabeth’s is ‘Good’. Nearby independents include Dumpton SchoolCanford SchoolBryanston School and Bryanston Prep, Yarrells Prep & Nursery and Castle Court Prep.

Transport Links: There’s no station in town so you’ll need to drive 30 mins to Bournemouth to get to London Paddington or Waterloo in just under 2 hours – or take the slightly shorter drive to Poole for Waterloo in just over 2 hours.

House prices: Lots of period properties in the centre of town, spreading outwards. The average house price last year was £380,593. Detached properties sold for an average of £506,000, terraced £362,677 and apartments £236,124.


Unpretentious and family friendly seaside town, Muddy Stilettos say that Swanage is a great place to live all year round – especially if you love the outdoors, music and the good life.

Schools: Swanage Primary, Swanage St Mark’s C of E Priamary and secondary The Swanage School are all rated Ofsted ‘Good’. Independent Schools include Bournemouth Collegiate School and PrepBryanston School and PrepCanford School and Clayesmore School and Prep.

Transport Links: You can catch a train at Wareham or Poole for trains to London Waterloo from around 2 hrs 20 mins.

House Prices: Last year, the average house price was £404,831, with detached properties selling for an average of £553,861, terraced for £378,955 and flats for £272,069.


A suburb of Bournemouth, popular with young professionals and families.

Schools: Local state primaries are rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted. Bournemouth has two state grammars Bournemouth School for Girls and Bournemouth School and there are two more in nearby Poole. On the independent front, you’ve Bournemouth Collegiate Senior School (co-ed day and boarding for 11-18s with the Prep in nearby Poole), Talbot Heath (girls’ day and boarding) and Yarrells Prep & Nursery (nursery, pre-prep and prep) in Upton, Poole.

Transport Links: You’re a short bus ride to Poole or Bournemouth for trains to London Paddington and Waterloo in around 2 hours. If you are travelling further afield, Bournemouth has its own airport.

House Prices: The average house price in the area was £411,316 last year, up 14 per cent from the previous year. Detached properties sold for an average of £629,317, semi-detached properties for £430,845 and apartments for £250,189.

Lyme Regis

Muddy Stilettos says that Lyme Regis is utterly charming with its Georgian streets and alleyways, independent shops and eateries, excellent local schools, fossils and the Cobb (an ancient stone harbour).

There are all sorts of festivals throughout the year, including the Lyme Regis Folk weekend, Lyme Regis Jazz and Blues weekend, Guitars on the Beach and the Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival Week.

Schools: State secondary The Woodroffe School in Lyme and the high-achieving Colyton Grammar, are both Ofsted ‘Outstanding’. Independent Perrott Hill Prep is about 13 miles north, just outside Crewkerne.

Transport Links: Five miles to Axminster for a train to London Waterloo from in just over 3 hours.

House prices: Last year the average house price was £454,419, with detached selling for an average of £698,781, semis for £354,809.and flats for £259,431 – around 4 per cent up on the year before.

Ready to make your move to one of these special Dorset towns? Get in touch with us today for a detailed quote. We can help you downsize (or right-size), Pack it, store it, move it… whatever you need. We also have some really useful free moving resources on our website to help you plan ahead and make sure that your move to Dorset (or anywhere else) goes as smoothly as possible.

House prices, transport links and Ofsted rating as of November, 2022.

Picture credit: George Hiles on Unsplash