Things to do in Dorset

Recently booked a holiday to Dorset? We’re here to help you create the perfect itinerary for your getaway. From the best animal attractions to visit, landmarks, outdoor activities, beaches and places to eat, we’ve collated a list of the best things to do in Dorset below: 

Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park
Address: Wareham Road, Organford, POOLE, Dorset, BH16 6EU
Description: This farm park is a perfect day out for families with young or older children. There are different animal activities held every half-hour such as goat talks and chances to bottle feed lambs and see the cows being milked. Older children can have fun on the pedal go-karts or jump around on the bouncy castle. During the summer, families can attempt the maize maze, venturing through twists, turns and tunnels but make sure you don’t get lost! Adults and Children 3 and over cost £14, Children aged 2 costs £7 and Under 2’s go free.

Dorset Treasure Trails
Address: Brewers Quay, Hope Square, WEYMOUTH, Dorset, DT4 8TR
Description: This self-guided Murder Mystery themed Treasure Trail is great for any wanting to discover Weymouth. Look for clues at monuments and in buildings along the trial to eliminate suspects and discover whodunit? The trail can be sent to you in the post or it can be downloaded in PDF. The trail is approximately 2 miles long and takes around 2.5 hours to complete. All correct answers are entered into a monthly draw where you have the chance to win £100.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
Address: Abbotsbury, WEYMOUTH, Dorset, DT3 4LA
Description: Winner of the silver medal at Chelsea and silver-gilt at Hampton Court Show, this magnificent garden spans over 20 acres of woodland valley. Discover rare and exotic species from around the world thanks to the fascinating microclimates. The gardens also host a range of music and drama events throughout the year available for visits to enjoy. A children's adventure play area on sites for little ones to enjoy as well as a splendid colonial-style teahouse with a veranda overlooking the sunken garden. They also frequently have new themed trails around the garden such as 2020’s Wonderland Sculpture Trail, where beloved characters such as Alice, the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit are hidden along the trail cast in enchanting bronze sculptures for you to spot. 

Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park
Address: Lodmoor Country Park, WEYMOUTH, Dorset, DT4 7SX
Description: Come and see over 2,000 creatures such as friendly seals, playful otters and reduced sea turtles. With the recently opened, state of the art Night & Day attraction, experience the spectacular coral reef as it moves from night to day in the re-imagined Ocean Tunnel display. Journey underneath turtles and tropical fish - but keep an eye out for the Sharks! Don’t forget to meet the world’s smallest penguins, the colony of Fairy Penguins became the first ever to be bred in Europe and this year the park welcomed six more of the fluffy residents. Kids can climb aboard the Caribbean Cove play area and during the summer, they can cool down at the Splash Zone in the outdoor pool and fountains. There are three outlets serving sandwiches, drinks, snacks and ice cream as well as pizza and fresh waffles perfect for a bite to eat.

Corfe Castle Model Village and Gardens
Address: The Square, CORFE CASTLE, Dorset, BH20 5EZ
Description: Visit Corfe Castle at 1/20th of the size! See what the village looked like before its destruction by Cromwell’s troops in 1646 during the English Civil War, when it was home to Lady Bankes. There is plenty more to see than just the model village though, The gardens are a haven for wildlife with an array of birds visiting frequently throughout the summer months. A selection of giant games are available for the whole family to enjoy such as draughts, Jenga, Connect Four or try your hand on the Croquet Lawn. For little children, the Enchanted Fairy Walk and Garden is a magical experience that will fire their imaginations. 

Swanage Railway
Address: Railway Station Approach, SWANAGE, Dorset, BH19 1HB
Description: Located in the Isle of Purbeck, the award-winning, rebuilt railway is a perfect way to enjoy the idyllic landscape of Dorset's Jurassic Coast. The 12-mile return trip takes you through the stunning countryside of Purbeck and has stops at Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Herston. Refreshment buffets are available at Norden and Swanage with plenty of tables around, perfect for a picnic and soaking in the atmosphere. The station shop at Swanage is filled with souvenirs, model railways and gifts for all ages, great for remembering the day. 

Monkey World - Ape Rescue Centre
Address: Longthorns, BOVINGTON, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6HH
Description: Home to stars of TV’s ‘Monkey Life’ and ‘Monkey Business’, the 65-acre park provides sanctuary for rescued and endangered primates from around the world. Currently, there are 54 chimpanzees at Monkey World and rescued from countries such as Spain, Greece, Dubai, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and more. The keepers provide educational talks throughout the day sharing information about the parks residents and their story on getting to the rescue centre. The park runs an amazing variety of family-friendly events throughout the year, including the Easter Egg Extravaganza where the first 100 children that enter the park receive a chocolate treat.

The Tank Museum
Address: BOVINGTON, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6JG
Description: Visit the world’s best collection of tanks and witness explosive live displays at Dorset’s Tank Museum. With nine incredible exhibitions featuring over 300 military machines, discover over a century of history being brought to life. Last year, the museum opened the brand new Second World War exhibition, sharing the story of the British tank crewman through artefacts and interviews with war veterans. A not to be missed event for any history lovers! Also on offer are trails and quizzes, interactive, indoor and outdoor play areas and free talks and tours throughout the day. The museum holds numerous special events throughout the year such as Tankfest and VE Day Anniversary celebrations.

Brownsea Island
Address: Poole Harbour, POOLE, Dorset, BH13 7EE
Description: Located in the centre of Poole Harbour, this island wildlife sanctuary is home to some thriving wildlife such as red squirrel, kingfishers and peacocks that can be seen wandering near the 19th-century church. The island has had many purposes throughout history from cattle and daffodil farming to pottery, shards of ceramics that were once crafted there can still be found around Pottery Pier. Explore the island using the free trails perfect for nature-loving children. With new natural plays and perfect picnic spots, the island is a perfect adventure for all the family.

Burngate Stone Carving Centre
Address: Kingston Road, Langton Matravers, SWANAGE, Dorset, BH19 3BE
Description: Located on the Isle of Purbeck, this Educational Charitable Trust provides expert tuition on traditional stone carving skills. The centre also offers a range of art and craft courses along with activities for families and children throughout the year. Use tools to create your stone design and learn about the quarrying history of Purbeck surrounded by the stunning scenery over the Swanage Bay towards the Isle of Wight. 

For more information and inspiration on where to stay visit our dedicated Dorset page. 

Published on April 12th, 2021

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