As regular readers know I am currently doing a series about summer holiday destinations in the UK. So far I’ve looked at Suffolk, South Devon and Derbyshire. Today I am going to look at what there is to do in Dorset and where to stay when you visit. We have been to Dorset several times as a family and have lots of very happy memories of the area. Including a stay in a home from Dorset Cottages part of the Original Cottage Family. Have a look on the website for a lovely overview of things to do in the area. I always think of Dorset as a place for fun family adventure and have great memories of our time there.
What to do in Dorset?
Coastline, Beach & Sea
Dorset has one of the best-known coastlines in England, from the bustling east, there is Lyme Regis where you can find some of the best fudge I have ever tasted! The Dorset coastline has many sandy beaches, perfect for family holidays if you enjoy sand castles and beach time. If you visit Poole it has one of the world’s largest natural harbours and there are many nature reserves and marine parks along this coastline too. Durdle Door is one of Dorset’s most photographed and iconic landmarks.
Maybe it’s my penchant for photography or my love of the coast but Drudle Door and Lulworth Cove are breathtaking. It’s a good idea to visit Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre, where you can learn more about the area before you head there. Both really are truly iconic geological features to see with your own eyes. If you are bringing a dog on your travels then Durdle Door is also one of the Jurassic Coast’s dog-friendly beaches.
Fossil hunting is something that is fun whatever your age. On some of the beaches, you can hunt for fossils, even arrange for a guide to help you. For any beginner, the beaches between Charmouth and Lyme Regis are the best and safest place to try fossil hunting. Please note that not all areas are safe or are you allowed to go fossil hunting, head to the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre for full advice. There you can learn more about the 95 miles of Jurassic Coast and 185 million year history. The Etches Collection in Kimeridge has displays of amazing and fossils and interactive displays to aid learning for both the young and old.
Dramatic ruins of Corfe castle are also a must. Let your imagination run wild and take in the amazing views of the Dorset country side. The castle also hosts lots of great experience days for children and bigger kids to enjoy.
Active adventures for the whole family. Taking cycle and walking routes you can enjoy the landscape together. Make sure you bring a camera to capture the sites you will see. Or how about a boat ride or sea kayaking to see it from another perspective.
Fairs & Festivals
If time allows please look into whether there are any of the local shows on when you visit as Dorset has some brilliant ones. Two that we have visited as a family are the Dorset County Show and Camp Bestival.
Camp Bestival is I think the perfect introduction to festival life. It works well for family groups of all ages, and there is so much to do. In my experience, even the toilets were good! Set in the grounds of Lulworth Castle over three days each year, you can camp or get day passes. Enjoy food and bags of fun activities and shows all day, with acts that should be favourites of the adults and the kids. There are usually Cbeebies celebrities as well as pop and rock acts throughout the evening, even a silent disco and a place to get married! Camp Bestival takes its dressing up seriously as each year has a theme, and you are encouraged to get involved…or like us just add glitter lotsa glitter and sequins!
There are also plenty of carnival and festivals as well as the Dorset County Show which has been around for more than a hundred years. We loved seeing all of the food and craft tents as well as the showcasing of the farm animals and showjumping. It usually happens in spring and late summer. I’d never been to a show like this before with tables and tables of entries to things like the biggest squash for example and it was great fun to look around.
So there you have a brief overview of some things I think I worth a visit in Dorset, please do let me know if there is anything that you recommend.