Dorset Holiday in the Summer - things to do please!

(23 Posts)
pinkpainter Fri 27-Dec-13 12:23:28

I have just booked a holiday to Dorset with my 2 girls (3 and 5), my husband and my parents. We'll be staying in Shipton Gorge which is very near the coast between Lyme Regis and Weymouth.
It would be great to have some recommendations of places that we should visit, beaches, nice places to eat (child and non- child friendly - hoping to get some time child-free time out with my husband). We all have National Trust passes so it would also be good to know if the NT places around that area are worth visiting.
Thanks in advance!

Corfe Castle
The Blue Pool
Durdle Door if you are quite brave (it reduced me to a blubbering wrech!)

VivaLeBeaver Fri 27-Dec-13 14:54:55

Monkey world is fab.
Sea world place in Weymouth is very good.
I went to a great pub called The Smugglers at Osmington Mills.
The swan place at Abbotsbury is meant to be good but we didnt visit.

juneau Fri 27-Dec-13 15:19:50

We had a fabulous holiday in Lyme Regis in 2011 - I'd go back in a heartbeat! Lovely beaches in and around Lyme. Monmouth Beach has amazing fossilised ammonites right on the beach (its the one to the right of the Cob and marina). Nice shops to browse on the High St too and sandy beaches in town. We did the Seaton tramway, which was fun on a sunny day, Hive Beach in Burton Bradstock is lovely and has a great cafe, Weymouth has an aquarium for rainy days, Poole is a nice town, Corfe Castle. A really great book to get is the Footprint guide 'Britain with Kids'. We've used it for several trips and it really helps you to find the kid-friendly places to go.

juneau Fri 27-Dec-13 15:22:12

Oh and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's restaurant is in Axminster. I breastfed DS2 in the dining room and offended an old bag who was having dinner with her equally ancient companion grin I didn't even flash my boob, so I'm not sure why she found it so shocking.

albionica Fri 27-Dec-13 15:57:40

Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour is great fun for children and adults and you can use your NT passes.
Corfe Castle (also NT) is really pretty and you could also go on the nearby Swanage steam railway.
Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park has soft play, animal feeding etc.
The Studland beach and Nature Reserve area is ideal for small children, especially Knoll beach.

MaisyMoo123 Sat 28-Dec-13 18:22:48

You've picked a lovely part of the country for your hols! I'm a Dorset girl though so very biased. Weymouth is great for British seaside fun but if you fancy something smaller head to Swanage on the isle of purbeck. Pretty bay, gorgeous sandy beach, safe swimming and all the usual seaside attractions but just on a smaller (and in my biased opinion) prettier scale. There's also a steam railway which pootles back and forth to Corfe castle - oh, and stunning cliff walks too. You'll be well placed to head into Devon too - Beer is a really pretty harbour/beach, Seaton is fun and has a tram. There's also a donkey sanctuary somewhere in that direction though I forget exactly where it is!

pinkpainter Sat 28-Dec-13 22:28:44

Brilliant!! Thanks so much for all the comments - I have added the book that juneau suggested to my Amazon wish list, and I'll start to put together a list of all the things suggested on this thread.
My 5 year old will absolutely love hunting for fossils and I'm looking forward to photographing all the pretty landscape in the area. Sounds like there is loads to do to keep us all busy.
I take it Durdle Door would be something to do whilst my parents babysit?

MaisyMoo123 Sun 29-Dec-13 09:14:31

You can do Durdle Door with kids - they'll just need to hold hands at times! My 2 love it there. You can walk right over the cliff from Durdle Door and down into Lulworth Cove which is lovely too - but it's quite a stretch for little legs. Up above the bay at Lulworth cove is Stare Hole which is fun (hand holding also required!) - it's a weird geological formation (a hole in the rock basically) which the waves come crashing through!

That coastline is of course famous for being the Jurrasic coast so if you have a ds into dinosaurs he will be in his element! There are museums in Dorchester if weathers not up to much too!

Durdle door is okay with littlies, I just have a fear of steep steps, plush at realy busy times you get people charging up while you are trying to come down.

Tralala24 Sun 29-Dec-13 18:37:20

Instead of a lot of driving ,there are two good children's parks at Burton Bradstock and West Bay , both within a couple of miles of Shipton. The Hive on Burton beach and the Old Watch House in West Bay offer good food on the beach. Go to the Bull in Bridport for adult evening - a taxi ride from Shipton.

inamerrymuckingfuddle Sun 29-Dec-13 18:40:45

We had one of our best ever holidays at Weymouth when dtds were 3.8, saw the swans went to a nice farm park, durdle door, lulworth cove, lovely seaside holiday - thinking of doing it again this summer!

Marne Sun 29-Dec-13 18:44:06

Moors Valley is a great day out (and doesn't cost a fortune) its my dd's favourite place closely followed by Studland beach, we also enjoyed Lulworth cove last summer and the dd's loved the boat ride with views of Durdle door, Portland has some nice views and the light house (Portland Bill) is nice if its not too windy.

Monkey World isn't far either and bovington tank museum (better for older children).

EBearhug Sun 29-Dec-13 18:52:09

I think they've replaced all the coast path that fell into the sea round Lulworth/Durdle, but might be worth checking.

Lots of walking - Golden Cap and so on. Please pay attention to any warnings about diverted paths and so on - bits of cliff have fallen off quite badly (and sadly fatally in one case) in the last couple of years.

Most of the NT stuff down west Dorset is coastal/landscape stuff like Pilsdon Pen (great views if it's clear, but steep), where you don't have to pay - Corfe and Kingston Lacey are the main payable ones, but they're east Dorset.

If the weather's good, then you've a pick of beaches, though not all the ones along Chesil Beach are so good for just sitting (bit pebbly - you can tell whereabouts along the beach you are by the size of the shingle, they say. Can't say I can...) But there are some nice places like Eype. And you have to do some fossil hunting round that way. Well, actually, there are lots of good fossil areas - it's not the Jurassic Coast world heritage site for nothing.

Abbotsbury has the children's farm as well as the swannery. There's loads to do in Weymouth for children.

If you go west from Lyme and cross the border into Devon, there's the tramway at Seaton.

You can always go and run round Maiden Castle at Dorchester, and if the children need to burn off energy, make them do it the hard way, by running up and down the ramparts like invading Roman legionaries.

(Feeling a bit homesick now.)

Marne Sun 29-Dec-13 18:52:16

If its raining then theres the poole pottery shop near poole harbour where the kids can paint pottery.

Kingston Lacy (NT house) near Wimborne is a easy one to do with small children as its nice and flat (not much up hill walking) and they have childrens games on the lawn of the main house as well as a childrens nature walk where they have to find doors that are hidden in trees (pictures of animals are behind the doors).

Sea life Centre is great but we never spend a whole day there so its quite expensive for half a day (but there are often money off vouchers around).

Sharkeys indoor play is good for rainy days (I havn't been but apparently its good).

As you can probably tell I live in Dorset smile, we have been on many uk holidays but have not found anywhere as good as Dorset, one year we went to Devon and came home early to go to Moors Valley as we couldn't find anything as good in Devon.

LocalEditorBournemouth Sun 29-Dec-13 19:04:38

Hi pinkpainter,

If you are planning on coming over Bournemouth & Poole way while you're in Dorset please have a look at our local site. The attractions page might be helpful.

DH and I had a weekend in Lyme Regis recently. It was lovely. Make sure you visit the Cheesemongers. smile Also The Town Mill Bakery should be a hit with you and the DC.

MrsGasMan Sat 04-Jan-14 14:16:30

pinkpainter do you mind me asking where you have booked to go? I am looking for somewhere in this area to stay with my parents and our 2, so would be great to know! Hope you have a great holiday - this thread has made me certain that we should book in this area now!

BikeRunSki Sat 04-Jan-14 14:19:10

Lovely beach and cafe at Burton Bradstock.

Liveinthepresent Tue 07-Jan-14 19:45:40

Hi OP would it be rude of me to resurrect this thread with a hi jack ?
Can any of you with such good knowledge of the area recommend some lovely accommodation to suit a group of 2 over 70 PILs, 1 BIL , me my DH and DC 1 and 3,?
Had another thread about where we might go and I think DH is really keen on Dorset - so am I after reading all these ideas!

meeliesmum Tue 07-Jan-14 22:02:39

My two love Nothe gardens and fort in Weymouth. We have holidayed in Weymouth for the last four years and have always had a fantastic time. the swannery, Monkey World, Swanage, Lyme regis Bridport,West Bay all great. Weymouth beach and harbour fantastic. We stay in a caravan and eat out every night- the Smugglers at Osmington is a favourite.

cestlavielife Wed 08-Jan-14 22:25:41

Aroma cafe in Lyme Regis www.aromalymeregis.co.uk/

bachsingingmum Thu 09-Jan-14 14:49:36

We had a lovely week there in September. Walked to Durdle Door which is stunning via Scratchy Bottom (yes, really). Youngsters will love that.
We also ventured a bit further afield to Stonehenge and Salisbury. Stonehenge is English Heritage, but they have some kind of joint arrangement with the NT so you can get in for free.

pinkpainter Mon 20-Jan-14 20:29:44

Great idea about the pottery painting (esp if it's raining one day) - my eldest DD would love that.

MrsGas man - I will find the details of our accommodation for you.

Liveinthepresent - no problem with using my thread for info for you too.

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