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10 reasons to visit Dorset

In association with Haven Rockley Park

There's something for everyone in Dorset. Whether you love fossil hunting, long walks along the beach or eating great local food, it's all here on the Jurassic Coast.


Swanage1. Best thing about the coast

Great to enjoy all year round, Dorset boasts beautiful beaches, amazing scenery and vibrant resorts. And best of all, it's very family-friendly! 

2. Best beach

One of our favourites is Blue Flag Holder, Swanage, with its golden sand and clear water. Mudeford Spit is also popular - children love riding the Noddy Train from Hengistbury Head, while adults can enjoy great views across the Solent - as well as catching a glimpse of the UK's most expensive beach huts. At Kimmeridge Bay, the whole family will enjoy exploring rock pools and fossil hunting. 

3. Best child-friendly café

Pop into Flirt Café Bar in Bournemouth's Triangle area. Toys, books, high chairs and baby changing facilities are available and there's a great menu for kids and adults alike. The milkshakes and waffles come highly recommended! 

The Alice Lisle4. Best pub

In the heart of the New Forest, The Alice Lisle is one of the most family-friendly pubs in the area. There's an outdoor play area and a bespoke menu for children. Adults will appreciate the lake views and award-winning locally sourced food. 

5. Best child-free night out

Ashley Cross, close to Poole Town Centre, retains its village vibe and has an eclectic mix of pubs, bars and bistros. There's also a live music venue, Mr Kyps, where you can watch the latest up and coming bands. 

6. Best outside space

Spend a day exploring ancient woodlands in the New Forest, then, after you've worked up an appetite, stop off at one of the picturesque villages for lunch and a spot of souvenir shopping. Fancy a boat trip instead? Hop on one of the Poole Quay ferries and take a trip around the harbour. Jump off at Brownsea Island and enjoy beautiful walks whilst looking for the famous red squirrels. It's the perfect place for a picnic, just make sure you take lashings of ginger beer - Brownsea inspired Enid Blyton's Whispering Island.

7. Best hidden gem

Take a day trip to the Victorian seaside resort of Swanage. Ride the Swanage Steam Railway past Corfe Castle, stroll on the 150 year old pier or visit Durlston Country Park. Explore the quirky shops and family friendly cafes –make sure you pop into Chococo to stock up on local handmade chocolate.

8. Best free visitor attraction

Family friendly and informative, at Poole Museum and The Red House Museum in Christchurch you'll discover fascinating facts about the history of the area. While you're in Christchurch, make sure to explore the ancient ruins and pay a visit to the popular riverside Splash Park.

Peppa Pig world9. Best days out

For animal lovers, no visit to the area is complete without a trip to Abbotsbury Swannery where from mid-May to late June you can see the baby swans. Monkey World and the Oceanarium are also popular attractions. Thrill seekers have the choice of two theme parks, with Adventure Wonderland and Paultons Park, which includes Peppa Pig World.

10. Best place to shop

The market town of Dorchester has a variety of high street and independent shops. It's also a great place to spend the day sightseeing, with four museums and historical walks. Poole Town Centre hosts a weekly street market and famers' market. It is also home to The Dolphin Centre, Dorset's largest indoor shopping centre, with over 100 stores and a soft play area.


Click here to find out more about Haven Rockley Park.



Last updated: over 3 years ago