As one of Britain’s most popular destinations for a family holiday, there are certainly a lot of things to do with kids in Dorset, even on a rainy day.
There are some fascinating museums, adventurous soft play centres, indoor waterparks, art galleries and more. But how will you know which ones are worth a visit?
Dorset is famous for its stunning Jurassic Coast – a World Heritage Site. Its string of seaside towns like Lyme Regis, Poole, Bournemouth or Bridport. Its rolling, lush green countryside dotted with dairy farms, ancient castles and pretty villages.
There is so much opportunity for outdoor family adventure, from fun-filled waterparks to dog-friendly hikes and beaches galore.
We’ve done some research left and right and found these great things to do with your kids in Dorset.
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1. The Blue Pool
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Weather permitted, the Blue Pool Nature Reserve is a great place to explore with your kids on your visit in Dorset. This hidden gem has an interesting trail for children where they can walk from A to Z posts but also spot some fairies doors hidden at the bottom of some trees. The walk would take you about 1 hour but there are lots of places where you will stop by to admire the beautiful nature surrounded by you.
This natural reserve site must have different flavours depending on which season you are visiting. We were lucky to spend some time during Autumn with lovely colours on the trees.
If you need some snacks or icecream, the Blue Pool Tearooms is the place to go to with your kids too.
Address: Furzebrook Rd, Wareham BH20 5AR
2. Brownsea Island
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Brownsea Island must be on your to do list things to do in Dorset with kids. You will take a boat from Poole and will arrive 20 minutes later at Brownsea Island which is owned by National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust. On the island, you will be greeted by a small introduction museum explaining the origins of scouts founded by Robert Baden-Powell.
I would advise to spend at least half a day at the island if your children enjoy walking different trails. There is a natural playground too where your kids will have lots of fun and a cafe where you can have lunch too.
If you are interested in birds, the section owned by Dorset Wildlife Trust is a lovely place where you can hide in different cabins and spot different species.
Last but not least, Brownsea Island is lucky to have more than 200 red squirrels wandering around the woods. Why not challenge your children by counting how many red squirrels they will see on your visit.
3. Moors Valley Country Park
Located in the North of Bournemouth near Ringwood, Moors Valley Country Park is a fantastic park for families visiting Dorset. You will find sand pits with lots of playground activities for your kids such as a castle, a train or a house.
There are also lots of walking trails for every age group and you can even try some zip wires and let your children go wild.
With more than 10 playgrounds, a coffee shop and GoApe, Moors Valley Country Park is a great outdoor thing to do in Dorset for the whole family.
4. Poole Park
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If you are looking for a great park in Poole while visiting or staying in Dorset with the kids on holiday, Poole Park is a great option with different play areas, a mini golf and a boating lake where you hire pedal boats or paddle boards.
Your kids will enjoy tirelessly the big playground where they will probably socialise with other children too. No wonder why this park is so popular with the locals especially in the summer where you will see lots of picnics going around.
Address: Poole Park, Poole BH15 2FR
5. Wareham Forest
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Here is another forest where you can enjoy a nice family walk and spot all the different mushrooms appearing in the Autumn season (don’t let your children touch them though, especially the fly agaric. If you have a dog, even better as there is lots of space for him/her to explore.
If you are quiet and look around, you might be able to spot some deers enjoying the wildlife of the forest. Overall, Wareham Forest is a great woodland to visit all year round with different colours depending on the season.
6. Tower Park Entertainment
Boasting a cinema, tenpin bowling, soft play and a range of restaurants. Tower Park is the perfect rainy day attraction for young families visiting Poole in Dorset. Start at Lemur Landings Soft Play to help the little ones burn off some energy.
After that refuel with a lunch, then relax in the afternoon with a movie! There’s something for everyone and every age here.
Opening Hours: Open daily, 9:30am – 6pm
7. Splashdown Waterpark
An indoor water park in Poole offers fantastic fun for all the family, and this is one of the UK’s best. Offering 13 indoor and outdoor rides for older kids and three ‘splash zones’ for young ones (under five yrs).
Chill out with the kids as you glide down the lazy river, or choose the Infinity flume, which is accompanied by dance music and laser beams. Don’t forget your camera for some great action snaps!
Address: Tower Park, Poole BH12 4NY
Opening Hours: Opening times vary, check the website for more info.
8. Sea Life
This is one of the most popular indoor attractions in Dorset. Sea Life is a beautiful aquarium with lots of species to explore inside the venue in the seaside town of Weymouth. There is a huge and fun playground to check out outside too with slides, boats, sand pits and so much more.
Expect to see lots of vivid colourful fishes among other sea creatures. And don’t forget to play a the Pirate Adventure mini golf which is part of Sea Life too.
9. The Tank Museum
A must visit for any children who love history or tanks! This museum in Bovington is home to the largest collection of armoured fighting vehicles from around the world. From the world’s first tank, the German Tiger to the ultra modern Challenger 2. That is to say, there are a huge amount of models on display. Also a unique interactive experiences where you can delve into their engineering and escapades around the world. And poignant accounts from the veterans who fought in them.
Don’t miss the ‘Tanks in Action’ Displays during the School Holidays. Your kids will watch in awe as tanks roll into action in the arena, with thundering engines and life-like explosions!
Address: Bovington, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6JG
Opening Hours: Open daily, 10am – 5pm
10. Wild Thing at Adventure Wonderland
A family theme park for children under 12. Adventure Wonderland in Christchurch has loads to keep your little ones entertained all day, even if it’s wet! Wild Thing is their popular Aztec themed adventure play centre that’s open all year round. It will keep your brood entertained for hours, with its rope bridges, canons, slides and ball pits.
If the weather brightens up you can head out to the park’s numerous other rides. Including a miniature railway, a maze and teacup rides with favourite childhood characters like Alice in Wonderland.
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 6pm
This all weather, undercover attraction is a really unique day out for the family in Weymouth. An art gallery like you’ve never seen before, here you will encounter huge lifelike sculptures crafted entirely from sand. There are different themes each year, but you are sure to meet some of the kids favourite characters.
You can even have a go at sand carving yourself, with helpful staff on hand to assist in your artistic creations!
Opening Hours: Open daily, 10:30am – 3:30pm from April to November.
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