Those looking to escape to the seaside for a relaxing break may opt to avoid Cornwall due to hoards of other tourists, so why not try this county which is just as beautiful?

Dorset is packed with all the sandy beaches and picturesque seafront scenes you would expect from its much busier counterpart but with less than half the tourists.

One of the county’s larger towns, Weymouth, offers the stunning Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens which features rare and exotic plants from around the world, with dogs welcome on their leads.

Social media addicts will love the small town of Shaftesbury, which offers an array of Instagramable scenes, such as Gold Hill, which is also known as Hovis Hill due to the well-known Seventies bread advert.

One of the county’s most breathtaking sights is its Jurassic Coast, which runs from Exmouth in Devon to Dorset’s Studland Bay. The coastline was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

History lovers will find a home at the Lyme Regis Museum, based in the small town which shares its name and features a collection from famed female fossil fanatic Mary Anning. The museum also hosts a variety of fossil walks for those looking to hunt for their own treasure.

And once visitors are tired of fossils, they can refuel at some of the town’s highly-rated eateries such as the Oyster and Fish House owned by local celebrity Mark Hix, and the intimate, eight-tabled Robin Wylde, which offers a selection of natural wines.

Foodies are also well-served in other parts of the county, such as Poole, which is home to Rick Stein’s restaurant that offers local seafood in view of the town’s marina.

Literature lovers can visit the historical Corfe Castle ruins in Wareham, which served as the inspiration for Enid Blyton’s Five on a Treasure Island book, where it was renamed Kirin Castle.

For those visiting with children, there are plenty of attractions in the county to keep them busy for hours, such as Monkey World near the village of Wool, which features the largest group of chimpanzees outside of Africa.

Weymouth’s Sea Life Centre also offers children an opportunity to get up close with exotic sea creatures with Fairy Penguin Island, which was the first place in Europe to breed the smallest species of penguin.

Those wishing to visit Dorset can stay in relatively central Poole’s Hotel du Vin for £79 per night in January.