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The wide-open, wind-blown inland county of Wiltshire offers a sharp contrast to the tame, sequestered villages of Hampshire and Dorset and the bustle of the port cities of Southampton and Portsmouth. Spend your nights in the more compelling towns of Salisbury and Winchester instead of these cities.
One draw outside Salisbury is Stonehenge; you're also near the stone circles at Avebury. From there you can swing south to the New Forest. The southern coast of Dorset has a couple of popular vacation resorts, Bournemouth and Weymouth, and ancient sites: Corfe Castle, Maiden Castle, and Cerne Abbas. Lyme Regis, at the center of the wide arc of Lyme Bay, is a vacation favorite. It provides a gateway to the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site that stretches between Swanage in the east and Exmouth in Devon.
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