Wondering how best to spend a day out in Dorset with the kids? You don’t need to worry, Dorset offers so many great days out for all ages.
Whatever the weather, you’ll find plenty of ways to keep the whole family entertained.
Spend the day on a glorious Dorset Beach
If the sun is shining, there’s no better way to relax and while away the hours than on one of Dorset’s stunning beaches. We’ve got a beach for everyone, sandy, pebbly, quiet and secluded or bustling with traditional seaside fun, ones perfect for swimming, great for rock pool rambles, ideal for fishing and beaches where your dog is always welcome!
Spend time making amazing memories, paddle in the cool calm waters, build sandcastles, listen to the waves lapping the shore or sit and watch the boats go by. Stay till the sun sets and enjoy a hearty fish supper fresh from the paper and a delicious Dorset ice-cream!
Explore Weymouth for a packed day of family fun
Weymouth offers a full day of fun packed family entertainment. The golden sands and safe shallow waters of Weymouth Bay are the perfect place to paddle or jump over gentle waves, while donkey rides, Punch and Judy, seaside rides and amusements provide all the fun of the seaside.
There’s a host of attractions such as Weymouth Sea life Adventure Park and Tower, Sand World, Pirate Adventure Mini Golf and so much more.
Away from the beach, the town offers shopping with high street names where teens can shop, bowl, or go to the cinema and a buzzing waterfront harbour where you can dine while enjoying the lovely view.
If you want to uncover the real Weymouth, download a self-guided Treasure Trail; a fun and imaginative way to explore Weymouth with the kids.
Go fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast
Discover Dorset’s world famous Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural World Heritage Site. Head to the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre where you can find out more about the 95 miles of Jurassic Coast and uncover 185 million years of the Earth’s history.
Immerse yourself into deep time and travel back to the age of giant marine retiles and dinosaurs. To get really hands on, pick up a hammer and your safety goggles and join an expert guide on a fossil hunting tour of Charmouth beach. The kids will be fascinated to find their own treasured piece of the ancient past while they have fun, get out in the fresh air and experience a day with a difference!
Enjoy Animal Encounters at Dorset’s Farm Parks
Little ones will squeal with delight at the chance to take a goat for a walk, cuddle up to a fluffy guinea pig or bottle feed a lamb. You can do your bit to save endangered apes at Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre. Pack a picnic and go Llama Trekking or Donkey Walking across the Dorset countryside or watch the comical antics of the Humboldt Penguins at Weymouth SeaLife Adventure Park. Dorset’s animal parks offer all kinds of animal encounters with added frolics such as soft play areas, adventure playgrounds and tractor rides thrown in!
Burn off some energy on a fun forest trail
Looking for ways to tire out energetic little ones? Head to Moors Valley Country Park where you can follow fun walking and cycling trails and discover wooden play structures hidden in the forest.
Feeling brave? Older ones can head up into the tree canopy and really ‘Go Ape’ whizzing down zip-wires, leaping off the Tarzan Swing and tackling the tricky tree crossings. At Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve you can explore 280 acres of countryside bursting with exciting wildlife and follow the four Waymarked Trails. Woodland Explorer Rucksacks are available to hire and are jam-packed with fun activities for families with children aged from 4 to 12.
Fairs, Fetes and Festivals - Check out What’s On
There’s always an exciting event to go to, all year round, in Dorset. Check out our packed Dorset events list.
‘Camp Bestival’is an amazing 3 day family festival in the grounds of Lulworth Castle. With headline acts and some familiar kid’s favourites there’s plenty to entertain all age groups from toddler to teenager!
Watch the Red Arrows in action over Lyme Regis or Weymouth during RNLI Lifeboat Week and Carnival Week, there’s food festivals to tempt you, fossil, arts and folk festivals, the Great Dorset Steam Fair and Dorset County Show to list a few!
Full steam ahead on the Swanage Railway
Enjoy a calming, nostalgic ride on the Swanage Railway. The leisurely 12 mile round trip will take you through the beautiful Purbeck countryside and includes stunning views of the iconic remains of William the Conqueror’s Corfe Castle. Enjoy an ice-cream at the seaside town of Swanage. Steam trains run most weekends throughout the year and daily from April to October. There’s special galas and themed events too.
Explore on two wheels on a family friendly bike ride
For a family friendly, traffic free route, follow the Rodwell Trail, a lovely level, cycling and walking route teeming with wildlife and following the track bed of the old Weymouth to Portland Railway. Discover the four old Railway Stations and Halts along the way. What better way to spend the day than taking in the fresh sea air on a safe, cycling adventure, discovering new places.
Plenty of Rainy day fun
Need ideas of what to do with the kids in wet weather? Don’t worry, Dorset has it covered. Simply head to one of our fun indoor play areas such as Lemur Landings at Tower Park, or a fab attraction such as Adventure Wonderland in Bournemouth, take a ride on an aircraft carrier at the Fleet Air Arm Museum or embrace the weather and get wet anyway at Splashdown, Poole!
Explore Corfe Castle
Encourage your little knights and princesses to explore the past at Dorset’s Castles. Corfe Castle is a favourite haunt for adults and children alike, you can't fail to be captivated by the romantic ruins with breathtaking views across Purbeck. In the care of the National Trust, you can discover 1000 years of Corfe Castle's history as a royal palace and fortress. There are tales of treachery and treason around every corner. Spot the 'muder holes' and count the arrow loops, then relax and enjoy the castle tea-room, garden and visitor centre.
Start planning your perfect family break today. Make amazing memories to last a lifetime. You’ll find somewhere to stay in Dorset that’s just perfect for you. We look forward to welcoming you!