Things To Do during Winter in Dorset

Dorset has some fantastic attractions and activities which are open throughout the winter months.

So, if you are visiting during November, December, January or February, there are still over 200 things to see and do during your trip.

Family days out

If you’re wanting a bit of fresh air but still want to keep warm, get the kids running about on a game of Laser Tag. Or for older children, why not try some bushcraft and survival skills where they’ll learn to make their own fire to keep warm.

For younger members of the family there is indoor soft play at Seals Cove in Bridport or Lemur Landings in Poole. Both have cafes where parents can enjoy something to drink as the little ones play to their hearts content.

The county town of Dorchester is home to some great family friendly museums. At the Dinosaur Museum, there’s fossils, skeletons and life-sized dinosaurs for a hands-on and interactive experience. There are hundreds of teddies to be seen at The Teddy Bear Museum or go back in (Egyptian) time at the Tutankhamun Exhibition.

Poole’s Tower Park and Splashdown Waterpark offers lots of fun for all ages in one complex. Choose from indoor flume rides, a 16 screen cinema, ten pin bowling or arcade games, plus lots of places to eat out.

Budget friendly

A day splashing about in the pool is always fun for the kids and easy on the wallet. There are indoor swimming pools at Wareham, Dorchester, Bridport and Christchurch.

The beaches at Charmouth and Lyme Regis are some of the best in the county for finding fossils of the marine creatures and dinosaurs that once lived here millions of years ago. And you’re in luck because winter is one of the best times of year to find fossils on our beaches, especially if you’re fossil hunting after a storm.

At the Lyme Regis Museum you can learn about 185 million years of the earth’s history as well as the story of Mary Anning – a famous fossil collector who lived in Lyme Regis and contributed to the world’s knowledge of prehistoric creatures. There is a small entry fee to go into the museum with children under 6 years admitted for free.

If you've got children under 5 years old, they get in for free at Museum of Jurassic Marine Life, The Blue PoolDorset MuseumThe Keep and Nothe Fort.

For children under 3 years old, Adventure WonderlandMonkey WorldThe Tank Museum, Museum of East DorsetThe Rex CinemaHaynes Motor Museum, Teddy Bear Museum 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

Wet weather days

No matter what the winter weather throws at you, there are always options for staying indoors.

Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park is home to over 2,000 creatures, including otters, rescued sea turtles, sea lions, Fairy Penguins and Humboldt Penguins, Blacktip reef sharks, seahorses, jellyfish, rays, a beautiful array of tropical fish species and lots more.

At the end of Bournemouth Pier, you’ll find Rock Reef – an indoor climbing centre with 28 themed climbing walls suited for beginners and experienced climbers. The Stairway to Heaven will test your balance, and the HighLine aerial obstacle course will test your courage. If you make it around the course first time, take on the challenge again, this time blindfolded!

Cinemas are always a good option for rainy days and you can choose from Wareham, Dorchester, Swanage or Wimborne Minster.

Wildlife Watching

You might think that wildlife will be hibernating in winter but there are more than 20,000 over-wintering birds who migrate to Britain’s shores every year from harsher climates such as Scandinavia, Iceland and Russia.

Migrant species include Bewick Swans, Brent Geese, Avocets and the unusual looking Spoonbill which attracts wildlife enthusiasts from far and wide.

The best places to see these winter visitors is on the wetlands of Poole Harbour, The Fleet which backs onto Chesil Beach and the RSPB reserves at Arne, Radipole and Lodmoor.

You can also take a winter boat trip with Greenslade Pleasure Boats and the experts from The Birds of Poole Harbour who will tell you all about the birds and where they have migrated from. Join them on one of their wildlife safaris with a chance of seeing the Big Five - White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier and Goshawk.

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.