Top 10 Child Friendly Days Out in Dorset

Wondering how best to spend a day out in Dorset with the kids?  You don’t need to worry, Dorset offers many great days out for all ages.

Whatever the weather, you’ll find plenty of ways to keep the whole family entertained.

Cruise to the coast

With the sun shining there really is no better family day out than a day at the beach. Dorset has a whole host of beaches to enjoy from, sandy, pebbly and even secret ones to discover.

Traditional seaside fun, swimming and fishing can all be enjoyed along Dorset’s coastline and even in the summer months some of them are open to our four legged friends.

Explore our Dorset towns

We’ve got a number of fabulous towns in Dorset, each with their own character and charm.

British seaside favourite Weymouth offers a full day of fun packed family entertainment.  The golden sands and safe shallow bathing waters have been a favourite of families for generations. 

Head north to Shaftesbury and enjoy a slice of quintessential Dorset. Home to Gold Hill made famous by the 70’s Hovis TV advert Shaftesbury provides a day out full of history and heritage.

Experience the vibrant events and art scene in Bridport and West Bay. The town boasts a year round events calendar including food and drink, live music and not forgetting the unique hat festival. The vintage quarter is home to a number of local artists’ and creative independent businesses.

With over a dozen towns within Dorset to discover we’re confident you’ll have a fab day out wherever you go.

Hunt for fossils along the Jurassic Coast

Discover Dorset’s world famous Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural World Heritage Site. Fossil hunting is a great low cost day out that everyone can experience.

Comb the shoreline with eagle eyes and unearth your own piece of natural history. Joining in with a professional guided tour can help you to learn everything you need to know to be the next Mary Anning.

Head to the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre where you can learn more about the 95 miles of Jurassic Coast and uncover 185 million years of the Earth’s history.

The Etches Collection in Kimmeridge is home to one of the finest displays of fossils to be found anywhere, with interactive displays you’ll learn everything there is to know about early life on earth.

There’s plenty of fun down on the farm

Little ones can enjoy all the fun of the farm here in Dorset. We’ve got a number of great farm parks such as Farmer Palmers and the Dorset Heavy Horse Centre.

The kids can get up close and personal with the animals helping with feeding and grooming, from Guinea pigs and lambs to horses and Llamas.

Dorset’s animal parks offer all kinds of animal encounters with more than just the animals to enjoy, with soft play areas, adventure playgrounds and tractor rides there’s plenty for kids to enjoy!

Burn off some energy and hit the trail

Dorset has an abundance of parks and open spaces with acres of room for everyone to stretch their legs.

Follow the cycling and walking trails at Moors Valley Country Park and explore the woodland, meadows and waterways. Bikes are available to hire on site or you can take your own along.

At Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve you can explore 320 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

There’s always something going on in Dorset, whether it’s community events or large scale festivals we’ve got it all.

The ultimate family festival Camp Bestival is an amazing 3 day extravaganza held within 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 and even those a little older.

The spring and summer months really see the events calendar explode into life! With carnivals, food festivals, live performances and more! The Great Dorset Steam Fair and the Dorset County Show have been drawing crowds for more than a hundred years with each offering fabulous family fun.

When planning your visit make sure you check out our What’s On guide and find exciting family events happening during your stay.

Nostalgia on the railways

Enjoy a calming, gentle ride back in time on-board 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 and the Purbeck coast. 

Enjoy an ice-cream at the seaside town of Swanage and take in the sights and sounds of seaside life. It’s not hard to see why it’s a favourite location for many visitors to Dorset.

Steam trains run most weekends throughout the year and daily from April to October.  There’s special galas and themed events too. All aboard!!

Active adventures

Dorset is home to some wonderful activity providers that offer fantastic experiences for the whole family.

Hit the trail on foot or bike and follow our endless miles of walking routes and cycle paths. This is a great way to enjoy Dorset’s ever changing landscape and offers a number of incredible photo opportunities on route.

Dorset’s stunning coastline gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy some of the very best watersports and adventure activities. Blistering boast rides, sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and coasteering can all be enjoyed amongst the most stunning backdrop of the Jurassic Coast.

Have a look at our family friendly activities and start planning your next family adventure.

Rain needn’t dampen spirits

We understand that the sun can’t shine every day here in Dorset but that doesn’t mean you won’t find wonderful rainy day family fun.

Head to one of our fun indoor play areas such as Lemur Landings or fly down the waterslides at Splashdown both at Tower Park or reach new heights climbing at Rock Reef in Bournemouth.

Dorset also has an incredible selection of indoor attractions; if its cars, tanks, military history or even dinosaurs you’re sure to find something to keep your gang entertained. Have a look at our full list of wet weather days out in Dorset.

Storm the Castle

Learn more of Dorset’s history dating back to the Bronze Age and the Romans. Encourage your little knights and princesses to explore the past at Dorset’s castles and forts.

Corfe Castle is a favourite haunt for adults and children alike and you can't fail to be captivated by the dramatic ruins with breathtaking views across the stunning Dorset countryside. The castle also hosts an active events calendar with great experience days for children and bigger kids to enjoy.

Start planning your perfect family break today

We’ve got accommodation to suit all budgets right across Dorset, use the links below to find your perfect home from home.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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