Beaches and Seaside
There are some great family beaches from sandy Knoll Beach to tacky ‘kiss me quick’ swanage. The latter has a fantastic Thomas the Tank Engine style Swanage Railway service that runs to the majestic ruins of Corfe Castle (above). Charmouth, a world heritage beach, has a visitor centre and Lyme Regis and Lulworth are also great places to take children all year round. There are some quirky beaches like at Tyneham Village – evacuated in 1943 during WWII. There is also dingy sailing at Poole and Shell Bay.
Historical Places of Interest
The place is an open history book. Salisbury Cathedral has its own copy of the Magna Carta. Nearby Stonehenge is worth seeing at sunrise, entirely possible if you live near. The majestic Wardour Castle lies peacefully in the woods south of Tisbury, still scarred by its attack during the civil war. There are plenty of stately homes to nose around in and some run family events throughout the year from leaf collecting at Stourhead in the autumn to Easter egg hunting at Kingston Lacey in the spring. Longleat is a must for young children wanting to see Santa at Christmas. In the summer months Wilton House has an adventure playground open to the public. Many towns have small bijoux museums but Dorchester is a miniature Cromwell Road with a Dinosaur museum, a tutankhamun exhibition. There is even a Fine Art collection at the Dorset County Museum. Boy soldiers (and girls) will love the exhibitions at nearby Bovington tank Museum and Fleet air arm Museum.
Horses and Other Animals
Wessex is horse mad, they even carved pictures of them into the hills. There are pony clubs camps and hunts for all ages including the Portman Hunt. If you have a dog then there are miles of public footpaths that weave their way through an almost infinite variety of terrain from the high dry chalky downs to dense boggy woodland, home to rare species of both wild flowers and butterflies. The floor of Duncliffe Wood erupts into an azure blaze as bluebells spread like a wild carpet in early spring.
Popular family days out locally include Peppa Pig Land, Go ape, Poultons Park, Moore’s Park and Beaulieu Motor Muesum. All are a day trip away.