DORSET has fought off global competition to be named one of the top 40 places in the world to visit in 2015.

Other locations which made the shortlist of this year’s ‘hot’ destinations in the Guardian newspaper included locations as far-flung as Sri Lanka, Cuba, The Azores, Patagonia in Chile, Milan in Italy, Memphis in Tennessee, Brisbane in Australia and Yosemite in California.

Dorset was one of four locations in the country which made the list, alongside Salisbury, Bristol and Margate.

The county was praised for famous locations such as the dramatic backdrop of East Cliff in Bridport – which features in the ITV series Broadchurch, and places linked to Thomas Hardy, such as picturesque Higher Bockhampton.

The popularity of the Dorset-born poet and novelist is growing in the run up to the release of Far From the Madding Crowd by film studio Fox Searchlight in May.

The reviewer said: “If hit TV drama Broadchurch, which starts a second series tomorrow, hasn’t put Dorset on the map, the release of Thomas Vinterberg’s film of Far From the Madding Crowd in May should have people flocking to this rolling landscape in, well, madding crowds.”

Nick Thornley, on behalf of the Visit Dorset Tourism Partnership, said: “It’s great news for Dorset to be named in the Top 40 holiday destinations for 2015.

“It’s going to be an exciting year for Dorset; the return of Broadchurch to our screens has put the area back in the media spotlight and helped visit-dorset’s website traffic more than double compared with January last year.

“Dorset’s picturesque coastline and countryside is a beautiful place for a holiday at any time of the year.”

Courtesy of the Bournemouth Echo