Isle of Purbeck & Dorset Days Out
Old Harry Rocks & Gastro-pub Rewards
- Park your car in the Bankes Arms Pub Car park in Studland and take the coastal path walk with the breathtaking view of Old Harry’s Rocks and finish with a drink back at the Bankes Arms.
Ghostly Tyneham Village & Rare British Seahorses
- Visit ghostly Tyneham Village, (commandeered by the war office in 1943, whose inhabitants never returned) and take a picnic on the coastal path to Worborrow Bay (eat at the weldarms.co.uk) which has Mediterranean quality clear water and a shingle beach with a dramatic backdrop of the cliffs. If one beach isn’t enough for the day, Studland bay is probably one of England’s finest – miles of clean, golden sand and the whole area is steeped in WW2 history, also one of Britain’s top sites for snorkelling as rare British seahorses live here.
Isle of Purbeck Steam Trains & an Inflatable Water Park
- swanagerailway.co.uk offers a ride on the old steam train leaving from Wareham to Swanage passing the ruins of Corfe Castle and a rather spectacular 6 mile trip along this incredibly pretty coastline (puffins to be seen in summer months) If that is too stately, boys can burn off their energy at www.dorsetwaterpark.co.uk which is worth travelling to Dorset alone for! An epic inflatable obstacle course with a full lifeguard on duty at all times.
Jumbo Paddle-Boarding at Sandbanks
- Much of the British coastline has a number of adventure centres where you can go kayaking, abseiling and all sorts of other coastal based activities but this one deserves a special mention because it has an unusual range of activities to boot so if you are looking for something original, try landandwave.co.uk which offers axe-throwing, jumbo paddle-boarding, coasteering and deer butchery. Not for the faint-hearted but certainly a top day-out for boys. Meeting points are at different venues in the area; for example jumbo paddleboarding (for up to 8 people on one board) takes place at Sandbanks, Poole harbour.
Awesome Durdle Door, Lulworth & the Jurassic Coast
- Durdle Door at Lulworth Cove, a natural arch- a geography teacher’s dream….should be visited early because it gets incredibly busy in the summer months especially. Go rockpooling in Kimmeridge …. The gateway to the Jurassic coastline… If you are a competent swimmer, there is nothing at all to stop you swimming through the arch. (Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle is on 27-30th July)
Wild Swimming at Langton Matravers & SW Coastal Trail
- ‘Dancing Ledge’, at Langton Matravers was referred to in Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers and it remains a popular spot for a wild swim. Be warned though, there is a challenging climb down to it and if you have younger members of the family in tow, it may just be you prefer to enjoy this ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ instead of immersing yourselves in it. There is an exceptionally beautiful, circular walk beginning & ending in the Spyway Car Park that takes in a 5 mile snippet of the SW Coastal Trail with its ancient lanes, crumbling walls and wild flower meadows.
Broadchurch Territory & Midsummer Barbecues
- Often overshadowed by its’ neighbours (West Bay of Broadchurch fame & Lyme Regis), Eype beach just outside Bridport is a quiet, shingle beach that is popular with locals escaping the crowds and a stunning spot for a midsummer barbecue or picnic. The Anchor Inn (theanchorinnseatown.co.uk) in Bridport overlooks the beach and apart from boasting a delicious fresh seafood menu much applauded by locals, it has the added advantage of having a well-positioned terrace overlooking the beach.
Cycle Hire on the Jurassic Coast
- Hire a bicycle for all the family at jurassictrailscyclehire.co.uk and follow one of the recommended tours in this awesome party of the country. The Weymouth Trail starts in Overcombe, continues through Lodmoor Country Park, past Weymouth’s popular beach and finishes at the 17th Century fishing harbour.
- Not forgetting, 18 mile Chesil Beach stretching from Portland to West Bay with its extraordinary geological cliffs, the Jurassic coast is a joy to explore for families. Try fossil hunting at Charmouth or Lyme Regis and pop into the ever popular Hive Beach Café (hivebeachcafe.co.uk) for a bite to eat, or for something more upmarket, the Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant, Lyme Regis (www.shellbay.net) is currently one of the top seaside restaurants in the UK.
- From Poole, there are the Red Squirrels on Brownsea Island (Enid Blyton’s ‘Kirrin Island) although it is closed for landing in the winter months owing to the rare bird population here but Harbour Trips are inexpensive or for the more adventurous you could take a kayak tour (http://bit.ly/2Gx5tce). Another action-packed day out could be Wimborne Minster Model Town, Moors Valley Country Park play trail and Go Ape.
Harry Potter in Abbotsbury
- Photograph the jaw-dropping ‘Cerne Abbas Giant’ or download the geocaching app and go on a mystery tour to get up closer. The Abbotsbury Swannery (http://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk/swannery/), the world’s only managed colony of nesting swans is very manageable with young children with plenty to see, a miniature train and some fabulous sights that even little ones would be hard pushed not to be moved by. At certain times you can feed the swans as well. Scenes of Harry Potter ‘s ‘Half Blood Prince’ was filmed in Abbotsbury which keeps it exciting for any older in tow.