Top 10 Sunny Day Ideas in Dorset

Wondering how best to spend a sunny day in Dorset

With so much on offer it can be difficult to choose, but look no further, we’ve got plenty of inspiration for a fantastic day out in Dorset. 

You can be assured that whichever one you eventually plump for, you’ll be sure to have a fab time and make wonderful memories to look back on.

Pack a picnic and follow a cycle or walking trail

Pack up your lunch and explore by bike or on foot on one of Dorset’s many walking or cycling trails

Seek shade and explore the forest at Moors Valley Country Park, there’s no entry fee, you just pay for your parking. There’s play trails to follow where you will uncover play structures en-route, a tree-top trail, fun play areas and even a miniature steam train. Older ones can really challenge themselves to ‘Go Ape’ in the tree canopy! 

Or why not follow the Rodwell Trail, a lovely level cycle and walking route teeming with wildlife following the track bed of the old Weymouth to Portland Railway. There are no less than four old Railway Stations and Halts along the way.

Visit a castle

A sunny day in Dorset is a great opportunity to get out and about and explore one of Dorset’s many fascinating castles

If you have kids in tow, they can have great fun re-enacting a medieval battle, playing Knights and Princesses or putting parents in the stocks! 

Discover tales of treachery and treason, fantastic views, and wildlife havens at some of Dorset’s castles. 

Corfe Castle, Sherborne Old Castle, Sherborne New Castle, Portland Castle, Lulworth Castle, Sandsfoot Castle; they’re all just waiting to be discovered. 

Or head to a castle that needs a little more imagination such as Maiden Castle, Lamberts Castle or Eggardon Hill Fort…these are the ancient hillforts of Dorset. While you won’t find an actual castle, you will find an absolutely stunning view!

Uncover a beautiful garden

A sunny day is the perfect opportunity to wander the manicured lawns and admire the stunning borders of some of Dorset’s finest manor houses and gardens

Get planting inspiration for your own plot from the head gardener or why not pick up a new plant to remind you of your visit.

When you’re full of inspiration, head to the teashop to fill your boots with a delicious light lunch or afternoon tea and cake. 

There are gardens of all shapes, sizes and styles from the grand and formal to the down right sub-tropical, ones with giant topiary and ones housing the National Waterlily Collection. 

Many of Dorset's gardens host special events too, so remember to check what’s going on when you visit.

Go for a delicious Dorset lunch

Enjoy the sun’s warm rays while relaxing over a delicious leisurely lunch or supper. 

What better way to spend the day then relaxing in a pub beer garden tucked away in the rolling countryside, dining alfresco alongside one of Dorset’s pretty harbours as you watch the sun on the sparkly sea or sampling the best of Dorset’s larder in one of the many award winning restaurants or bistros. 

You will be truly spoilt for choice, there are so many delicious places to eat out.   

Local food is a way of life here.

Go for a wander along our stunning World Heritage Coast

Dorset’s World Heritage Coast is part of the epic 630 mile South West Coast Path. 

Pick up this National Trail anywhere along the Dorset coast and your guaranteed to tick off one of our jaw-dropping coastal views such as Old Harry Rocks, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Golden Cap or East Cliff at West Bay (still enjoying its TV fame as the ‘Broadchurch’ cliffs of the award winning ITV hit drama). 

There are so many walking routes and trails to follow to help you explore. 

Take your time…stop awhile at one of the delicious local pubs or seaside café’s, all serving up delicious lunches or seafood suppers using the local freshly caught catch of the day! 

With the setting sun, sea air and gentle ebb and flo of the waves, take time to enjoy one of the locally brewed ales or glasses of wine. 

Sheer perfection!

Check out what’s on

There’s always something going on all year round in Dorset, but a sunny day is great for getting out and about and heading to a fantastic event. 

Whatever you’re into, Dorset’s sure to please with food festivals, Art Weeks, fossil festivals, Lifeboat Weeks, Fairs, Fetes, Carnivals and County Shows. 

We’ve got it all going on!

Camp Bestival is a 3 day festival with headline acts, favourite family entertainers and everything from the bizarre to the hilarious, all in the grounds of the impressive Lulworth Castle. 

Check out our events list for inspiration of what’s on and where to go.

Take a boat trip

boat ride along Dorset’s awe-inspiring Jurassic Coast is a must on a sunny day. 

Take a leisurely cruise and view 185 million years of the earth’s history from the sea. Thrill seekers can take an exhilarating fast RIB ride or how about a fun fishing trip hunting for Mackerel, Portland Bill seabass or West Bay turbot. 

Catch a ride from Lyme Regis, West Bay, Weymouth, Swanage, Poole or Christchurch, or practically anywhere along the Dorset coast! 

A variety of trips leave Poole Quay or Sandbanks Jetty for cruises around Poole Harbour, over to the National Trust's Brownsea Island, out to sea and along the Jurassic Coast to Swanage or along the River Frome to Wareham.

Fancy a punt along the river? Hire a rowing boat at West Bay and head up the River Brit or catch a ride at Wareham Quay and head along the River Frome or out towards Poole Harbour.

Visit one of our fantastic, fun attractions

If you’ve got kids to entertain, there’s something for all ages on a sunny day in Dorset. 

Head to one of our fun, farm parks such as Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park to ride tractors, cuddle the guinea pigs and play in the barns.

Or how about a gentle ride on the Swanage Railway, passing through Corfe Castle and onwards to Swanage to enjoy delicious ice-creams on the promenade?

Weymouth offers so much fun in the sun from paddling in the gentle waves to exploring under the waves at Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park.

At many of our seaside resorts you’ll find the everlastingly fun game of adventure golf on offer!

Play a round

There are more than 30 golf courses in Dorset. 

Choose from stunning clifftop courses with spectacular views to perfectly manicured, quiet courses hidden deep in the Dorset countryside. 

There’s a course for all levels of play and most clubs are open for visitors to play a round or two. 

A perfect way to get out and about in Dorset, take in a breath of fresh air and get some exercise.

Find your perfect Dorset beach

Dorset has a beach for everyone, whether you prefer the sand between your toes, or pebbles to skim. Ones perfect for crabbing or rock-pool exploration or ones where you can catch a boogie board wave. Ones with safe shallow waters to wander along or ones where you can just sit, take a deep breath and listen to the waves crashing onto the shore as the sun sets. 

There’s one perfect for you - take time to explore and find your perfect Dorset beach

We’re lucky enough to have established seaside towns like Weymouth, Swanage and Lyme Regis which have all the facilities you'd expect from a coastal resort, including RNLI Lifeguards. Alternatively discover quiet little bays where you can laze the day away and make your own fun, such as Ringstead, Mudeford Sandbank and Church Ope Cove. You might visit beaches which don't have litter or recycling bins, so prepared to take all your rubbish away with you.

Take a picnic, enjoy a delicious seafood supper straight from the wrapper or fine-dine in a restaurant with a view; it’s all just waiting to be explored along our spectacular coastline.

Feeling inspired to book your next break in Dorset? 

Places to stay

What’s on

Things to do

Eating Out

You may also like...

Top 10 Walking Routes

Walking is one of the best ways to see beautiful Dorset. Discover our top walking routes.

What does your Dorset look like? Adventures on our epic coastline? Visiting attractions with family? A walk through the beautiful countryside? Or perhaps a chilled out evening eating and drinking with friends? Discover a sample of your #VisitDorset images below and share your love for Dorset using the hashtag on Instagram.