We both have two girls aged 2 and 8 years so we know how hard it is to keep the kids entertained, especially throughout the school holidays! Here’s our TOP TEN PICKS on places to go with the kids in our local area of Dorset….
Moors Valley Country Park We come to this place all year round since there are loads to do and it’s great having everyone out in the fresh air! We usually start the day with the Play Trail which is a great walk, filled with wooden play equipment located all over the forest (you might even lose the kids in here if you’re lucky haha!!). I would say it takes approx 2 hours to get through the whole lot…..depending on the mood of your children. My kids often build camps as there are logs everywhere for them to use, so great for some fun with friends. Be prepared, the park area can get super busy if the suns out!
There’s also lots of other things to do such as the Cycle Trail, Sand Park, Fitness trail, Go Ape and also a Cafe… Not forgetting the authentic steam train !
COST: There is no entry fee to the park only a parking fee which in the summer the price is quite high at £7.50 for 1 to 2 hours. If you think you will go a few times it’s definitely worth getting the car park season ticket which is £50 for the year.
Weather permitting you can rent a self-drive motor boat on an hourly basis to take down the river. So grab a take away coffee and drive up the river with the kids, they will love it.
At Tuckton Tea Gardens there is also a small crazy golf and a pretty garden with Picnic tables where you can sit and grab an ice cream.
COST of Boat trip:
- £20 for half hour
- £30 for an hour
We have been coming here for years even before the kids. There is a cycle path which takes you around the head and is great for scooters and bikes… this takes you around to Mudeford spit around the nature reserve where your met at the end with some beautiful brightly coloured beach huts …although we do get Beach Hut envy walking past these!
A great day out is to catch the land train which goes from the Hungry Hiker Cafe to the end of the spit. There is also a delightful restaurant ‘Beach House‘ situated on the harbour side of the sand pit which has great seafood and other delicious food on the menu, but I would advise you to book in the summer months since it always gets very busy. There is also a beach cafe/shop which is only open in the summer months where you can buy all your beach necessities, they also offer a selection of hot and cold food/drinks and ice creams. Fab day out if it’s lovely and sunny, don’t forget your buckets and spades…..
- £2 per Adult
- 60p for a child
- Children under 3’s are FREE
4. Kington Lacy National Trust
We joined the national trust last year for £10 a month, you can visit all their historic buildings around the UK which most of them are now geared up for kids with fun things to do.
At Kingston Lacy there are some beautiful grounds and woodland trails surrounding the Kingston Lacy House. My girl’s love The Kitchen Gardens, which are a short walk from the main house. There is also a play park with ride-on tractors for the kids and of course an ice cream shop….
TIP: Remember to bring cash as they don’t accept card. They also do lots of seasonal activities there such as the Easter Egg trail which is a favourite with the kids.
COST: £10 monthly fee to join for a family pass!
OR: £13.60 for a Single Adult Ticket, £6.80 Child Ticket
We love this place and especially the Pirate Park! You have the ringos and ski bobbing for the older kids (3 years plus), and there is a lovely big open park at the bottom of the woodland area called the Alpine Adventure park. There are lots of large picnic tables so you can sit and (try to) relax while the kids play around you. They have an overhead cable ride, slides, trampolines and of course the Pirate Ship which you can also hire for birthday parties.
- Park £2.60 per adult but you get a FREE drink voucher with this.
- Child £3.95
6. Monkey World
This is located in Wareham, about a 40 min drive from Bournemouth, depending on traffic!
It’s a great place for the kids if the monkeys are in a good mood…:) There are also parks dotted around for the kids with picnics tables to stop and have some lunch or a quick pit stop before moving on to the next area.
- Family Ticket 2 adults 2 children £38
This Farm is located out near Wimborne, it’s not as big as Farmer Palmers but that’s why we like it as its spacious and is all in one big field. The kids LOVE visiting the animals, especially as they can have a cuddle with the rabbits. Also, there is a bumpy tractor ride which takes you over the meadows, this is £1 per person. The park is a great place to stop as again it has lots of picnic tables which are located in the middle of the field so you can watch the kids play around you.
- Babies under 2 years – FREE
- Toddlers 2-3 years – £5.95
- Over 3 years – £7.45
- Adults – £7.40
Located in Christchurch…..We are never keen really on in-door play centres but since we live in England and our weather is so unpredictable we do sometimes have to give in and let the kids run riot inside with hundreds of other kids. But as for indoor play centres Monkey madness has to be our favourite since its light and airy and very safe for the kids since its gated around the play areas. It also has a dedicated area for under 4s. Since we have 8-year-olds and 2-year-olds it works quite well as there is plenty to do for both ages – there is a huge 4 lane astra slide into a ball pit, a spiral tube slide, aerial runway, tunnels, obstacles. They also have plenty of comfy sofas, tables and chairs to go round so that you can relax and have a coffee whilst the children have lots of fun! on a rainy day be prepared for it to be busy !!
- Babies FREE
- Aged 1-2 £3
- Aged 3 £4.50
- Aged 4-9 £5.50
- 9+ £6.50
- Adults £1.50
9. NEW FORSET
NOW this is more like it… a humungous field with lots of wild horses surrounding you and a bat and a ball to play a game of rounders with! There are so many open spaces in the New Forest to set yourself up for the day, streams with river swings and open land to set yourself up with a picnic blanket. Most car parks in the summer also have an ice-cream van too. Our favourite spot is Wilverley Plain enclosure which has a BBQ spot, toilets and an empty field opposite.
Wilverley barbecue is also available to hire for large parties and family get-togethers. Freestanding barbecues are permitted here providing they are not of the disposable kind.
There are so many lovely forest pubs to pop into on your way home. Our favourite is the White Buck in Burley, it has a lovely garden area and a park situated at the back.
10. THE BEACH
Yes, this place is our favourite and the best thing about coming here is it’s FREE!!!! We visit the beach come rain or shine…. We are lucky to have miles of golden sandy beaches on the South Coast so we want to make the most of it as much as possible! We have so many good memories from days at the beach and hopefully many more to come. Our favourite day out is to walk down from either Southbourne or Boscombe Pier, then carry on walking on to Bournemouth Pier (lots of pitstops), catch the land train back and then have a BBQ (summer time) on the beach in the evening (after 6 pm) with our friends and family! Great way to spend a day/evening and the kids love it!
Thanks so much for reading our blogs. Please comment below and let us know your fav places to go….