Delightful Dorset has it all. Classy, unspoilt soft, sandy shorelines, chic family-run boutiques, holiday cottages, and glorious weather. That is, the best of Great British weather, at least. If you live down by these parts, you’ll know just how much fun can be had simply crabbing with the kiddies at Sandbanks.
While building sandcastles and taking boat rides sure does make for a fab family day in Dorset, there’s a whole lot more to discover. Of all the counties across the UK, Dorset is arguably one of the most family-friendly areas on offer. Known for its stunning Jurassic Coast – which, as the name suggests is brimming with prehistoric marvels – Dorset makes for a particularly fantastic trip for parents with young dino fans.
If you do find yourself heading down to the southwest coast, here are five of the best family days out in Dorset that are absolute must-dos.
Five of Dorset’s favourite family attractions
Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park
If you thought that Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park was nothing more than an aquarium centre, you can think again. This family attraction invites you and your youngsters to take a fascinating journey from the coast to deepest depths of the ocean, through 16 entrancing marine-themed zones.
In addition to hands-on creature talks and experiences, from the teeniest, tiniest of seahorses to the every-popular penguins, Weymouth SEA LIFE is larger than life aquarium cum zoo that incorporates a little bit of mini golf and a splash park fun for good measure.
A relatively new attraction, opening in Weymouth in 2012, the JURASSIC Skyline is a 360 degrees observation tower. Situated on the seaside town’s pier, the tower’s enclosed gondola takes two entire rotations, offering unbeatable, breath-taking views of the Jurassic Coast.
Scoping the entirety of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, JURASSIC Skyline looks out over 26 kilometres, across Portland, Lulworth, and beyond.
Paultons Park home to Peppa Pig World
If you’re looking for traditional fairground fun with a theme park feel, there’s no better place for it in Dorset than Paultons Park. Honoured with the ‘Dorset Attractions’ top spot on Trip Advisor, Which, and Mumsnet, Paultons Park makes for a super fun family day out, filled with thrills and spills.
If you have little ones in tow, don’t be put off. Paultons Family Theme Park has over 70 rides and attractions, many of which can be found within the park’s highly-acclaimed Peppa Pig World. From tot to teen, Paultons Park is awesome for all ages.
Based in Wareham, Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre is a rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary for primates from around the world. If your youngsters are mad about monkeys, this 65-acre centre homes over 250 creatures and 20 various ape species. The animal experts here really know their stuff, providing super interesting and detailed info during scheduled talks.
As always, there’s a play area, but Monkey World really goes that extra mile, providing a Great Ape adventure park, the biggest play space in the south of the country.
If you heard waterpark and assumed slides, shoots and pools, you’d be way off the mark. When imagining Dorset Waterpark, think It’s a Knockout… but on water. Located on Arfleet Mill Lakes, Dorset Waterpark is a floating inflatable obstacle course, nestled in gorgeous woodland.
Split across two lakes, you and your family can tackle trampolines, monkey bars, flip bags, and more. You’re sure to get wet, so why not start your day with the adjoining Dorset Mud Trail. Just so you know, children can’t do this alone and must be accompanied by an adult aged 18+.