The Area

"Dorset is Picture Postcard Perfect"

Ellie, Countryfile (November 2015)

Dorset is a stunning county, offering an ambundance of beautiful places to visit and explore. Here are just a few in the vicinity that will make your visit an unforgettable experience:

Poole Quay –

Poole is a town rich in history and the beautiful “Old Town” remains largely unchanged. The bustling Quayside is a wonderful mix of tourist attraction and working port, and there are plenty of restaurants and pubs to choose from. Take a stroll and view the millionaires’ Sunseekers, the home of the RNLI and view Brownsea Island, the birthplace of the Scout movement. An assortment of boat trips depart from the Quay and can take you to Brownsea, along the coast, around the harbour or up the River Frome to Wareham. The National Trust have recently started a fully wheelchair accessible landing craft for trips to Brownsea Ialand, which was previously off limits for those with mobility considerations. Other charity run accessible boats conduct trips around the harbour. Enquire for more information. Shore-side you can choose between delights of the Poole Museum or Poole Pottery or enjoy some fish and chips by the water’s edge.

Poole and Bournemouth Beaches –

Poole’s resort beaches are around 4 miles east of the town centre. The beach at Sandbanks has been awarded both the European 'Blue Flag' and Tidy Britain Group 'Seaside Award'. There is a level promenade that stretches from the Shore Road beach all the way to Bournemouth (approx. 3 miles). Stunning soft sandy beaches are ideal for sunbathers, sandcastle makers and swimmers. Perfect on a sunny day any time of year, but get there early in the summer to reserve your spot!

Bournemouth Centre and Gardens –

The vibrant cosmopolitan town of Bournemouth has it all - a vast variety of shops, bars and restaurants, a buzzing nightlife and endless countryside with beautiful award winning gardens and watersports galore. The Upper, Central and Lower Gardens are maybe the most famous of Bournemouth’s gardens and retain much of their Victorian character and are Listed Grade II. You can take a beautiful walk from the seafront through these gardens for 1.5 miles and take in the many trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials from around the world, planted to provide interest throughout the year.

Wareham – 

Becky’s childhood home! Wareham is a charming characterful town. It’s an historic Saxon market town, set between two rivers; River Piddle and River Frome. Take a walk around the historic walls; the grass mounds bordering its edge or a boat from the Quay or browse the shops to discover the delights of the local produce. The Discover Purbeck centre is set just off the Quay and can open up a whole new world of possibilities to explore and savour.

Corfe Castle –

Discover 1000 years of the castle’s history as a royal palace and fortress. With fallen walls and secret places, there are tales of treachery and treason around every corner. Spot the ‘murder holes’ and count the arrow loops. Feel history come to life and see the wildlife which has set up home in these fascinating castle ruins. The picturesque town, built largely from the Purbeck stone, quarried locally has an array of gift shops, pubs, and ice cream parlours. The Purbeck ice cream is yummy – a definite must!

Swanage and Durlston –

Take the Steam Train along the railway from Corfe Castle to arrive in the heart of this quaint sea-side town. Durlston Country Park, National Nature Reserve and Castle, situated 1 mile from Swanage in Dorset, is a fabulous 280 acre countryside paradise, consisting of sea-cliffs, coastal limestone, hay meadows, hedgerows and woodland. With stunning views, walking trails, the historic Great Globe, superb geology, fascinating wildlife and the newly renovated Durlston Castle, there is always something different to see and do.

Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door

Two jewels of the Jurassic coastline are must-see locations for any visitor to the area. Lulworth Cove is accessed from the village of West Lulworth. Follow the path past the array of shops, cafes and restaurants. Peer over the wall to see the wild watercress growing in the stream that accompanies you to the shore-line. Make sure you visit the Heritage Centre next to the car park for all kinds of information about the area and the Jurassic Coast. Durdle Door beach with its famous limestone arch is only accessible on foot via a steep path and steps over the hill from Lulworth Cove or down from the Car Park, located on the cliff top at Durdle Door Holiday Park.

Monkey World -

Monkey World is an internationally acclaimed ape rescue centre, in 65 acres of beautiful woodland, and home to over 230 primates - including the largest group of chimpanzees outside Africa. Opened in 1987 to provide abused Spanish beach chimpanzees with a permanent home, the site is now a sanctuary for monkeys and apes from all over the world. It’s located near to Wareham and the Tank Museum.

Weymouth & Portland -

The host town of the sailing for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Weymouth is your quintessential Georgian seaside town. A drive around Portland is worth the trip for its breath-taking views along the Jurassic coastline, Chessil beach and out across the Channel. Stop for lunch in the sailing academy café, as you never know which Olympian you may meet. Alternatively, soaring high above Weymouth’s Festival Pier, the new Sea-life Tower, turns through a full 360 degrees and climbs to 53 metres above sea level is an experience to behold!

The New Forest –

Situated just over the border in Hampshire, there is something for everyone in the New Forest. Whether you're looking to relax, explore or just enjoy, there is a wealth of places to visit from award winning gardens, museums, leisure and wildlife parks and farm plus much, much more. The New Forest is a beautiful national park which boasts stunning views across the coast, rolling heathlands and dense majestic woodlands. Explore the map and booklet in the annex to plan a day out, where Kings and Queens once roamed!

Other Attractions for Children

Farmer Parmers – Located just 10mins away in Organford, Farmer Palmer's Farm Park's play & entertainment begins at 10am, an ideal family day out. You’ll get close to all sorts of farm animals, learn about them and have fun doing it.

Tank Museum - The Tank Museum, close to Wool, brings the history of tank crews to life, boasting action packed live displays and supported by the world’s best collection of tanks. Explore 6 large halls and come face to face with over 200 tanks; from the very first to the very latest.

Moors Valley Country Park - Set in 1000 acres of parkland and forest, near Ringwood, you can explore the way marked trails, tree-top walkways and tackle the high wire adventure.