School Summer Holidays in Dorset

During the summer months Dorset bursts into life with wonderful events, delicious food, fantastic days out and not forgetting the most fabulous countryside to explore. 

Enjoy some of the very best in family attractions, lots of fun-filled activities and some great budget-friendly things to do this summer. 

There's no better time to enjoy a family break in Dorset!

Family friendly events

The Dorset events calendar is bursting at the seams with festivals, fairs, country shows and live performances for everyone to enjoy. Searching our what’s on calendar will help you and your family find exciting events for all ages to enjoy.

If food and drink is your thing Dorset hosts some of the very best in food inspired events. Enjoy one of the hottest days out in Dorset at the Great Dorset Chilli Festival - a glorious weekend of "chilli fiesta"! Why not head over to the Magic of Thailand Festival in Bournemouth, a free family friendly day out celebrating Thai culture with food, music and entertainment. On the coast, Weymouth Food Festival is a 2 day event with food and drink stalls, live music, cooking demonstrations and more.

Camp Bestival the ultimate family festival returns to Lulworth Castle and offers 3 days of the very best in live music and family fun. With a jam packed line up of music comedy and children’s entertainment it not hard to see why it’s so loved by visitors.

Carnivals are always great for families and Dorset plays host plenty throughout the summer. Join the party in Swanage, Bridport, Wareham and Lyme Regis and immerse yourself in the party spirit.

The Great Dorset Steam Fair is an excellent fun and action packed day out for all the family...steam engine exhibits, vintage vehicles, fun fair and much more!

Dorset’s best summer days out

Dorset’s family attractions offer some of the very best days out for all ages.

At Haynes Motor Museum you can take part in a trail to become an Official Museum Explorer and on selected days, get up close and personal with some of their fabulous classic cars.

There's a Fairytale Trail at Highcliffe Castle, along with children's crafts every Tuesday and Thursday plus a Summer Exhibition Cabinet of Marvels.

Durlston Country Park provides events throughout the summer that give you the chance to enjoy Dorset’s breathtaking landscape. From wildlife walks and art workshops to outdoor music and open air theatre, it's a fabulous space for the whole family to enjoy.

The Tank Museum gives you the chance to see their fleet of armoured vehicles in action with live displays, lifelike explosions and expert commentary giving you and insight into these incredible machines history. With a host of exhibitions to explore you’ll find something to interest every age.

Over at Corfe Castle, there's so much going on you won't know what to choose - outdoor cinema, Theatre Thursdays, historic games, Festival of Archaeology and lots of family fun.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s on offer in Dorset - take a look at our family-friendly things to see and do guide for more great days out.

Get active this summer in Dorset

Dorset’s landscape lends itself perfectly to some of the very best activities giving everyone the opportunity to get out and active. Whether its wildlife, watersports, adventure, bush craft or sports, Dorset provides plenty of opportunities to burn off some energy.

Have a go at Stand Up Paddleboarding with Fore Adventure at Studland Bay. Or test your climbing skills and whizz down a zip wire on Bournemouth Pier at Rock Reef.

Discover Dorset's own playground of cliffs, shore, sea, beach, woods and heathland in the stunning Isle of Purbeck with Cumulus Outdoor Adventure.

Take the family for a blast along the Jurassic Coast with Lyme Bay Rib Charter. Seeing the dramatic coastline while skipping across the waves is an experience you’ll never forget, just hold on tight!

Let the kids (big and small!) get wet and muddy at Dorset Adventure Park!  The Mud Trail is an outdoor adventure trail for any age with 50 different obstacles and the waterpark provides wet inflatable fun on two lakes overlooking Corfe Castle.

It doesn’t all have to be a heart pumping thrill, for those wanting to enjoy more relaxed activities we’ve got that too. What about a leisurely row down the river with family with Wareham Boat Hire or enjoy a trip with Dorset Belle Pleasure Cruises?

If you're looking for a low cost option, Dorset is home to miles upon miles of cycling routes and walking trail ways to explore. Prepare your picnic and enjoy a day discovering Dorset’s stunning natural beauty.

Find more great activities to enjoy within our active and outdoor guide.

Budget friendly days out

If you're looking for some low cost or no cost days out and things to do in Dorset, we've got some great ideas for you.

Check out our top ten ideas for free days out. Explore castles, go on a nature trail or ride your bike for a cycling adventure in our beautiful countryside.

If you've got children under 5 years old, they get in for free at Swanage Railway, Abbotsbury Swannery, Museum of Jurassic Marine Life, Highcliffe CastleSherborne Castle and Gardens, The Blue Pool, Dorset MuseumThe KeepSandworldNothe Fort and Lyme Regis Museum.

For children under 3 years old, Farmer Palmers Farm Park, Adventure Wonderland, Monkey WorldThe Tank Museum, Dorset Heavy Horse Farm ParkMuseum of East Dorset, The Rex CinemaHaynes Motor Museum, Wimborne Model Town, Teddy Bear MuseumLyme Regis Marine Aquarium, Lulworth CastleExbury Gardens and Railway and The Dinosaur Museum offers discounted tickets or free entry.

Children under the age of 14 get free entry to Swanage Pier with a paying adult

There are also castles, museums and country parks which offer free admission. You can see a full list of free days out in Dorset within our Things To Do guide.

What are you waiting for?

With all this and more to enjoy it’s not too late to book your Dorset holiday. We’ve got a great range of accommodation to suit all family budgets and we can guarantee you a stay you will never forget. It’s not hard to see why visitors who come to Dorset have been visiting with their families for generations.

Get booking your summer getaway to Dorset and don’t forget to check out our special offers for last minute availability, cheap holidays or discounted days out.


• Caravan and Holiday Parks
• Campsites
• Self Catering
• Hotels
• B&Bs
• Farmhouses
• Pubs & Inns

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