Welcome to Dorset – a county of contrasts, offering the very best of countryside, coastline, events and attractions. It's perfect for families - there are so many days out in Dorset that you really need more than one visit to take it all in!
There are loads of great places to visit in the area. The stunning sandy beaches of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch are all near by. The pretty Minster town of Wimborne and the Purbecks hills are on the doorstep. Why not enjoy a boat trip to Brownsea Island from Poole Quay and take in the whole harbour with views of the Sandbanks peninsula. There are so many exciting places to go. Children will love Monkey World, the internationally-acclaimed ape rescue centre in Wareham – home to over 250 rescued and endangered monkeys and apes of 20 different species. Younger children will love Honeybrook Farm, set in acres of beautiful Dorset countryside. They offer tractor and trailer rides, pet corner sessions, pony rides, wild skills courses and numerous indoor and outdoor play areas, as well as a cafe/restaurant. Farmer Palmer’s near Poole is another ‘must visit’ destination, designed specifically for children aged 8 and under. Head east to the beautiful New Forest national park with it’s free roaming ponies and picturesque villages. Perfect for picnics and walks. Small children will absolutely love Peppa Pig World and the new Dinosaur Theme Park ‘Lost Kingdom’ at Paultons Park, for a memorable family day out.
Moors Valley Country Park with its forest adventure play trails and miniature steam railway is one of the top tourist destinations in Dorset and is right on the doorstep, being a 10 minute drive. Go Ape – the UK’s number one Tree Top Adventure is also based at Moors Valley; head there for fun in the trees, taking on zip wires, tarzan swings, rope ladders and a variety of obstacles and crossings. Honeybrook Farm (see above) and Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park and Rescue Centre are both less than 15 minutes drive away.
The beautiful market town of Wimborne Minster is less than 15 minutes drive away and you’ll soon see why it’s drawn visitors for centuries. Hidden courtyards, an elegant square, a wonderful selection of independent shops and cafes, with a picturesque setting on the banks of the River Allen and Stour. There’s a vibrant events scene here too – a Chilli Festival and the Wimborne Folk Festival to name a few! It has it’s own museum (Priest’s House) and Model Town & Gardens. Badbury Rings and Kingston Lacy National Trust house and gardens are also nearby.
Nestled in a stunning sheltered bay, there are seven miles of coastline to explore whatever the weather or time of year. With a coastline of watersports, attractions, activities and dozens of restaurants and cafes, there is so much to see and do. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the coastline, explore by foot, by bike, a trip on the seafront land trains or cliff lifts, sea trips and local bus tours.Discover more »
Purbeck, or the Isle of Purbeck as it is often referred to, covers a large area that is renowned for the quality of its environment, with much of it designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or recognised as being Sites of Specific Scientific Interest. One of it's most famous landmarks is Durdle Door: this rock arch in the sea was formed as a result of the softer rocks being eroded away behind the hard limestone, allowing the sea to punch through.Discover more »
The New Forest is England's smallest National Park and everyone can visit this special area, shaped and preserved by the unique uses and traditions for which it has become famous. The Forest covers approximately 219 square miles, of which less than half is actually tree covered. Lowland heath, coastal lagoons and grassland make up a large part of the forest and these habitats support a rich variety of flora and fauna.Discover more »
Poole famous for its pottery, with glorious sands, a glorious coastline and magical island hideaways is the jewel of the South. Be charmed by the cobbled streets or be tempted into the water by the vast array of watersports on offer. Many of Poole's main activities and attractions are positioned on the bustling quayside, with a beautiful old town and fascinating seafaring history waiting to be explored.Discover more »
5th-6th May 2017: Bournemouth Gin Festival
13/14th May 2017: Spring Auto Jumble – National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
19-21st May 2017: Poole Harbour Boat Show
19-21st May 2017: Poole Harbour Boat Show
9th-11th June 2017: Wimborne Folk Festival
17th-26th June 2017: Bournemouth Food & Drink Festival
18th June 2017: Hot Rod & Custom Drive in Day – National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
24th/25th June 2017: Tank Fest – Bovington Tank Museum,nr Wool
7th-8th July 2017: British Beach Polo Championships – Sandbanks Beach, Poole
14th-16th July 2017: Swanage Jazz Festival
26th-27th July 2017: The New Forest Show
August 2017: Summer Breeze with Fireworks on the Beach – every Thursday 7pm, Sandbanks
12th August 2017: The Ellingham Show – Somerley Estate, Ringwood
24th August – 28th August 2017: The Great Dorset Steam Fair
29th August – 5th Sept 2017: Swanage Regatta and Carnival
31st August – 3rd Sept 2017: Bournemouth Air Festival
2nd/3rd September 2017: International Auto Jumble – National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
2nd/3rd September 2017: Dorset County Show – Dorchester
10th September 2017: Bournemouth International Triathlon – Bournemouth Pier