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Family Days Out Within an Hour of Dorset

You could experience a different action-packed day out with your family every week of the year in and around Dorset! There's so much to do in Dorset for all hobbies and ages.

We've listed a number of Dorset's top attractions, museums, parks and more to help you keep you and your family occupied and exploring the fantastic array of attractions in and around Dorset.

Dorset is home to some of the best beaches in England, but you can enjoy a family day out here no matter the weather. Here's our top spots for enjoying a family day out within an hour of Dorset.


insanity arcade

Insanity Arcade

Where: Insanity Arcade

About: Insanity Arcade in Poole are one of the pioneering pay-per-session free-play arcades in the South of England! With over 60 machines spread across two floors, it offers an unparalleled gaming experience!

This is a great spot for celebrations, rainy days and just fun trips out! And make sure to head over to their in house bar and grill for a great selection of food and drinks! 

Menu: View their House Bar and Grill menu, here.

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Buddens Activity Centre

Buddens Activity Centre

Who: Buddens Activity Centre 

About: Buddens Activity Centre is located right by the historic and famous Jurassic Coast, with nearby spots of Corfe Catsle, Lulworth Cove and more; making it a great day out! 

Activities offered: Similar to Rockley's other centres; Buddens hosts a wide variety of activities for you to enjoy. Have a day of watersports fun with activites such as kayaking, canoeing and getting stuck in with some raft building! If watersports aren't your passion, then Buddens have a whole host of non-water based activities. 

Try your hand at abseiling, clibing and archery and gain a new skill! 

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swanage railway

Swanage Railway

About: Swanage Railway offer a variety of family days out and themed railway trips! Each station along the route tells its own story. The railway features stations at Corfe Castle and Harman’s Cross, along with a halt at Herston on the outskirts of Swanage.

Swanage Railway host a variety of themed events, view here.

Fun Rating: 5/5

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Bournemouth International Centre

About: The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) is one of Bournemouth's hotspots for live entertainment! Enjoy a range of live music events, comedy shows and performances; there will be a range of different events running for everyone! View their list of events below.

Events: View here.

Address: Bournemouth International Centre, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth BH2 5BH

Telephone: 0300 500 0595

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The Pavilion

About: The Pavilion in Bournemouth Town Centre is a great spot for both local and famous talents! Enjoy a range of live music events, comedy shows and theatre; there will be a range of different events running for everyone! View their list of events below.

Events: View here.

Address: Bournemouth Pavilion, Westover Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 2BU

Telephone: 0300 500 0595

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Poole Quay

Poole Quay

Poole Quay

About: Poole Quay will deliver a varied and actioned packed full day out. Unlock the history of Poole by visiting the Old Town and Poole Museum (where entry is free), or take a harbour cruise from the Quayside to delve a little deeper.

There is a approx. 90 minute Cockle Trail where you can follow the brass plaques on the pavement displaying Poole heritage and to see how Poole has evolved over the years.

And of course a free firm favourite is crabbing on Poole Quay; just don't forget your bucket, line and bait!

All this will have worked up an appetite and you're in the right place as Poole Quay has a large array of restaurants, cafes and pubs.

TGt Recommends:  Keep an eye on our events calendar to see all the upcoming events across Poole Quay as it is host to a number of fantastic events; especially through the summer months.

Address: Poole Quay, Poole BH15 1HJ

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Kingston Maurward Animal Park & Gardens

Kingston Maurward Animal Park & Gardens

About: This family-friendly animal park provides a fun day out for all ages, from babies, toddlers, to bigger kids and adults, there is so many activities and things to see that you'll all certainly love.

Kingston Maurward Animal Park allows you to feed their sheep, alpacas and goats, miniature Shetland ponies, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and many more! Once you've had fun visiting all the animals and taking a stroll around their gardens, you can then relax at The Barn Café. The Barn Cafe serves lovely fresh barista coffee and a wide range of teas. Serving delicious locally made sandwiches with generous fillings and hot pastries, along with scrumptious hand made cakes.

This animal park and garden should definitely be at the top of your list to visit, plus admission is FREE!

TGt Recommends: Call ahead to ask about their opening times before making a trip there, as their opening times vary depending on the weather.

Address: Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park , Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8PY

Tel: 01305 237581

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Paultons Park Home of Peppa Pig World

Paultons Park Home of Peppa Pig World

About: Paultons Park is ony 45 minutes away from Poole and provides a great day out for toddlers and adults! This theme park has a selection of incredibly thrilling rides for all ages. From roller coasters, water rides, to train rides and flat rides, this amusement park provides an unforgettable day out. 

They have an array of themed worlds but one in particular we think your toddler would love is Peppa Pig World. From Peppa's Big Balloon Ride, George's Dinosaur Adventure, to Grampy Rabbit's Sailing Club and Daddy Pig's Car Ride, your little ones will have a blast in this park.

TGt Recommends: If your little one is a massive Peppa Pig fan and you can see yourself spending considerable time at this part of the park then we highly recommend getting the Peppa's Early Play Pass. 

This then gives you the special opportunity to meet Peppa Pig and George personally before the Park opens between 9.00 - 10.00am on selected dates and enjoy 30 minutes early access to the rides in Peppa Pig World from 9.30am, with Peppa's Early Play & Ride Pass.

Address: Ower, Romsey, SO51 6AL

Tel: 023 8081 4442

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Location: Situated within Dorset, in Poole.

VenuesRockley Point or Poole Park

About: Cool off from the hot weather that summer in Poole brings with it by taking to the water and having fun trying out a range of adrenaline-thrilling watersports activities.

Recognised as the largest commercial sailing business in the UK, Rockley offers a range of watersports activities for you to turn up and try out including paddleboarding, sailing, kayaking, and more along with a range of land-based activities.

Price: Various

Activities offered: Engage in a range of watersports from kayaking and canoeing at both locations, to raft building at Poole Park or windsurfing at Rockley Point.

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Outdoor Activities

Outdoor Activities

About: South Coast Adventures are a watersports centre who run a variety of activities from climbing to kayaking, with something for everyone. They are based in the perfect location of Hamworthy Park, which has 180’ views of Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island.

They offer a variety of guided water based trips, adventurous days out and instructor personal development courses.

They provide the following activities:

  • Climbing Wall - £10 p/p per 30 mins.
  • The Cave - £5 p/p for 2 rounds. 
  • Paddleboarding - Lessons are £25 p/p for 2 hours and hires cost £10 p/p per hour.
  • Kayaking - Lessons are £25 p/p for 2 hours and hires cost £10 p/p per hour.

Book online to ensure your space!

Address: Hamworthy Park, Lulworth Avenue, Poole, Dorset, BH15 4DH

Telephone: 07507 718612

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Farmer Palmer's Farm Park

Farmer Palmer's Farm Park

About: Farmer Palmer's Farm Park will keep you and the kids entertained all day with their fantastic indoor and outdoor play areas, farm animals, woodland trails and seasonal events. And you won't go hungry either as they have the 'Hen House Restaurant' serving delicious home-cooked food. 

Donkeys, Guinea Pigs, Goats, Chickens, Ducks, Deer, Cows, Sheep and Pigs; there are so many animals to meet. And every half an hour, there is a chance to feed, stroke and cuddle some of the animals.

TGt Recommends:  There are seasonal events and activities throughout the year so there's always a reason to re-visit Farmer Palmer's Farm Park. Keep an eye on their website for updates.

Address: Wareham Road, Organford, Poole, Organford, Poole BH16 6EU

Tel: 01202 622022   

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Longleat Safari Park

Longleat Safari Park

About: Renowned for being the first Drive Through Safari Park outside of Africa, Longleat invites you to wind up the windows and hide all the sandwiches because… you’re going on an adventure that’s wilder, furrier and growlier than you ever dared imagine. Count cheetah spots, wave at wolves and have a giraffe. Just watch out for the monkeys!

And don’t forget to put your walking shoes on to meet furry, scaly and feathery friends on foot. From snoozing Southern koalas to snapping Cuban crocodiles, see how many animals you can spot on the Walking Safari.

Address: Longleat Safari Park, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7NW

Telephone: 01985 844400

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monkey world wareham

Monkey World

About: Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre is conveniently located just a short 15 to 20 minute drive from Poole and there is plentiful free parking.

This is a fun day out for all ages and you're sure to leave with a smile. The primates living at Monkey World include Chimpanzees, Orang-utan's, Gibbon's (who love a good sing-song!), and Marmoset's.

It's really easy to get around and it's all buggy friendly. There are regular keeper talks and the option to have a guided tour and there are three fantasic play park for the kids to enjoy while parents can relax and refuel in the Tree Tops cafe situated right by the parks.

TGt Recommends:  We love hearing the Gibbon's sing so make sure you keep your ears peeled or ask the staff the best time to catch their chorus.

Address: Longthorns, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6HH

Tel: 01929 462537

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City Cruises

Take a Cruise with City Cruises

About: City Cruises offer a variety of different cruises, routes, destinations and themes leaving from both Poole Harbour and Salisbury! Take you little ones onto the sea to explore the Jurassic Coast. City Cruises offer fun and unique cruises for you to pick from, including Birdwatching cruises and Fish and Chips dining cruises!

View a list of all their cruises and events here.

Website: View here.

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Sandbanks Beach

Sandbanks Beach

Sandbanks Beach is one of the most well-known beaches and areas of Poole - for good reason too. With it's long stretch of golden soft sand, clean waters and blue-flag status, it is the perfect place to soak up the beauty of Poole and for children to safely enjoy beachside fun.

It's not just great for summer days either; Sandbanks Beach is a special place to enjoy walks and taking in the views all year round. There is a promenade with plenty of shops, cafe's and restaurants and there is a fun little road train along the seafront too.

TGt Recommends: Food and drink prices can be pricier in this area so take along a picnic or pre-book a barbecuse on the western end of the beach.

Address: Sandbanks, Poole, BH13 7QJ


Hamworthy Park and Beach

Hamworthy Park and Beach

Hamworthy Park and Beach can sometime's be overlooked as it's not right in the heart of Poole but it is such a gem and well worth a visit.

There is plentiful free parking, a fantastic children's play park, stunning and safe beach for the kids (it can also be a good spot for water sports and kite-surfing when the conditions are right too!), there are beach huts, a fishing pier,  and a seasonal paddling pool.

It's also open all year round to dog-walkers but dogs must be kept on a lead on the promenade.

TGt Recommends: Take along a picnic or visit the park cafe and make a full day of it, there's plenty to enjoy at Hamworthy Park.

Address: Lulworth Ave, Hamworthy, Poole BH15 4DH

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Adventure Wonderland Bournemouth

Adventure Wonderland Bournemouth

About: Adventure Wonderland provides a wide range of exciting rides and attractions that create the perfect family day out. Whatever the weather, Adventure Wonderland guarantee a fun day out.

This ward winning, family run theme park, aimed primarily towards families with children aged 3 - 10 have 30 rides and attractions all included in the entry price. Plus, your get to see some park characters walking around.

TGt Recommends: If you visit them during the winter your get to enjoy their huge indoor Aztec Adventure Play Centre that provides an array of jungle themed rides and restaurants.

Address: Merritown Ln, Bournemouth, BH23 6BA

Tel: 01202 483444

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