With the weather warming up and with school out for summer in just a matter of weeks (eek!), today I thought I would share some of my favourite kid-friendly attractions in Dorset.
Many of the places I list in this round-up are ones that I enjoy or have enjoyed in the past, with my own children. And I’ve included cheap and completely free options.
So, there should be no need to feel panicked about what you are going to do once the children are finished school for the summer.
We really are spoilt for choice here in Dorset – what with both the beach and forests on our doorstep and all these wonderful, fun places. So, whether you are a local or visiting Dorset during the holidays, hopefully, you’ll find something here that’s of interest.
This HAD to be my number one. We have the most amazing beaches on our doorstep – seven miles of sandy beach to be exact, stretching from Hengistbury Head in the east to Sandbanks beach to the west. Kids of all ages love the beach.
If the weather is good, settle down for a day making sandcastles, digging holes and burying parents or younger siblings in the sand(!), paddling and swimming in the sea, and then wash it all down with a picnic and ice cream. The epitomy of the perfect British summer!
A great destination for kids under 8yrs. Farmer Palmers in Organford is an award-winning farm park with animals, tractor rides, playgrounds, soft play and lots of space for your little ones to burn off some energy! There's also lots of free parking.
Entry price Family £33. Under 2yrs are free. For more information visit http://farmerpalmers.co.uk
Durlston Castle is located on the cliffs in Swanage, d offers fantastic sea views. You can walk around the site of Durlston Castle and learn something new at the visitor centre. For weary mums and dads, there is a café where you can get drinks and food afterwards!
Entry price: £5 for parking.For more information visit http://www.durlston.co.uk
This is a good option for older kids. They’ll be learning at the same time as exploring this collection of ancient history artefacts. And there’s also a Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester too – both small but worth a look.
Entry price for the Tutankhamun Exhibition: Family £28.99 For more information visit https://www.tutankhamun-exhibition.co.uk
Entry price for the Dinosaur Museum: Family £22.99 For more information visit https://www.thedinosaurmuseum.com
Furzey Gardens in the New Forest is a magical place where young children can explore and seek out up to 40 fairy doors which are located throughout the beautiful grounds. If you’re lucky you’ll also see wild New Forest ponies around the borders of the site.
Entry price: FREE for children under 3yrs. Adults – recommended donation of £8.50
For more information visit https://www.minsteadtrust.org.uk/Pages/Category/Furzey-Gardens
Located within the beautiful Poole Harbour and just a short and inexpensive boat ride from Poole Quay, Brownsea Island is great for a full day out with the kids. Don’t forget your picnic! And keep your eyes open for red squirrels, resident peacocks and other wildlife.
Brownsea Island family entry price £16.75
For more information visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island
Venture across to the Purbecks and climb aboard the brilliant Swanage Railway, for a trip to the seaside resort of Swanage. You’ll travel through the picturesque village of Corfe Castle, past the castle ruins and the gorgeous Purbeck countryside. There’s also a Miniature Model Village at Corfe Castle which is worth a look.
Fare price Family £35 return
For more information visit http://www.swanagerailway.co.uk
Wimborne Model Village is also a sweet little attraction in the heart of the town. Little kids will love the miniature hourses and shops, which are based on how the town looked in the 1950s. There is also a nostalgic model railway, gardens and tea room.
Entry price: FREE for children under 3yrs. Family £20
For more information visit http://www.wimborne-modeltown.com
Monkey World is great place to visit with kids of all ages and is an ape rescue centre. The huge grounds are home to a large variety of gorillas, chimpanzees, gibbons and orang-utans, and there are outdoor playgrounds and picnic spots, as well as an indoor soft play, within the café, for the babies.
Entry price: Family £38
For more information visit http://www.monkeyworld.org
Moors Valley is a great option for all ages. Access to the huge forest walks, including the popular Gruffalo trail is free – you’ll just pay for parking (around £9 for a full day). There are play areas, a play trail, picnic areas and an authentic miniature steam railway.
The ‘Go Ape’ tree top and Segway adventures (available at an extra cost) are ideal for entertaining bigger kids.
Parking Charges: Summer all day £10
For more information visit http://www.moors-valley.co.uk
I’m squeezing in an extra suggestion since this new adventure park is proving to be a great hit with families of all ages. It is a huge woodland water park spread over two lakes and overlooking the beautiful Corfe Castle. Each lake features different inflatable obstacles for you to tackle. Have you taken your kids yet?
Entry price: £15 per person
For more information visit https://www.dorsetwaterpark.co.uk
So, these are my recommendations of kid-friendly attractions in Dorset! I would love for you to share any other places that you would also suggest in the comments.
For further ideas or information visit www.visit-dorset.com.
And if you’d like an on-location photoshoot with me this summer, at either your favourite park, woodland or on the beach, contact me today to book. I’m available on 07749 270431 or email me at email@example.com or complete this contact form.
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