Dorset is famous for its stunning Jurrasic Coast – a World Heritage Site. Its string of seaside towns like Lyme Regis, Poole and 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.
BabyBreaks has done the hard work for you and put together a selection of the best family days out in Dorset.
1. Day at the Beach
There are so many fantastic beaches along the Dorset Coast, which spans for over 100 miles. We’ve listed three of our favourites below.
West Bay: The iconic, looming cliffs at West Bay (used as the backdrop to the BBC’s award winning drama, Broadchurch) are an inspiring sight to behold. The beach is backed by the pretty town of Bridport that’s full of shops, cafes and restaurants. The wide, sandy beach is perfect for kids. Dogs are allowed on some areas.
Lulworth Cove: This much-photographed white pebble cove is small and sheltered, and at low tide there are rockpools teeming with marine life for the kids to discover. Walk up the steep path behind the cove and on towards Durdle Door (Dorset’s most iconic landmark) and Man O’ War Beach, for incredible views. The walk is only around 1 mile but some of it is very steep, so unsuitable for buggies.
Sandbanks: Winner of the prestigious Blue Flag award for over 30 years, this stretch of sand is undoubtedly one of the best in the country. The facilities here are excellent, including watersports, showers, a beach cafe and even DIY Barbeque areas. Dogs are welcome at specified times only.
2. Walk the South West Coast Path
Covering four counties (Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall) and 630 miles, The South West Coast Path is the longest National Trail in the UK. Walkers from all over the world come here to witness it’s famous beauty, and the Dorset portion offers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery. Whether you fancy an afternoon stroll or a challenging hike, there’s a walk that will be suited to your family’s abilities and needs. If you’re travelling with a pram, check out the website below which lists easy access walks – a selection of routes free of stiles and steps along firm and level paths.
3. Corfe Castle
The kids will be enthralled by a visit to these one thousand year old castle ruins. Sitting majestically atop a hill with breathtaking views across Purbeck, the castle is one of the most iconic remnants of the English Civil War. They can practise shooting their arrows through ancient lookout points, play hide and seek in shadowy corners and stand proudly on the walls of this fallen fortress.
Opening Hours: Open daily 10-4pm / 6pm (Winter / Summer)
4. Dorset Adventure Park
Slip, slide, squeal and squelch your way around this amazing adventure course -rated one of the most popular family days out in Dorset. Choose from the Waterpark or the Mud Trail, and tackle a range of obstacles with your brood, surrounded by acres of woodland and two beautiful large lakes. You can always choose to skip certain obstacles, so it’s suitable for the whole family. Reward yourselves at the Snack Shack at the end, or bring your own picnic to enjoy in the grounds. A really fun day out, especially for energetic children!
Please note: Participants must be aged 6+ for the Waterpark and 3+ for the Mud Trail.
5. Highcliffe Castle
A beautiful Grade 1 listed building which is arguably one of the most important representations of Romantic and Picturesque architecture. Look around the ornate rooms which have been restored to reflect the lavish style they would have sported in the18th century. On a sunny day, the beautiful grounds are perfect for a relaxing stroll or a family picnic on the lawns, and there is direct access to the sandy beach below and the nearby nature reserve, Steamer Point.
The castle is also just 3 miles from pretty Christchurch which is nice for a wander around in the afternoon, if you have more time to kill.
Address: Rothesay Drive, Highcliffe BH23 4LE
Opening hours: Castle open daily 10am – 5pm. Grounds open daily from 7am – dusk.
At BabyBreaks, we have kept a limited choice of activities, restaurants and hotels. We hope you will enjoy your family days out in Dorset.
The post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.