Family outings for the summer holidays
There are hundreds of things to do in our part of the world, but we have chosen a handful of varied destinations that you might like to try – some large and well-known, and others less so. Most venues offer a discount if you book tickets online – so do visit their web sites!
First – for those who love country life, Vurlands is a lovely place to visit. Not only stunning country views and walks, but lots of birds and animals large and small to pet – ducks, hens, chipmunks, pigs, goats, donkeys, alpacas and several more, not forgetting Winston the Wallaby!
You can feed the animals all day, and there is pig racing to watch too – just watch those piglets go (but call first if you want to be sure, as they have to be the right age)! You can also enjoy a home-cooked breakfast, lunch or tea at the Eggcup Tearoom using farm produce.
Open daily 10-5; last entry at 3.30; tearoom open 8.30-4. http://www.vurlandsanimalfarm.co.uk/
Bovington Tank Museum
If you are interested in big machines or history, it’s well worth the trip to this museum on the Isle of Purbeck. Lots of themed indoor exhibitions and a covered play area if the weather is wet, as well as a café, restaurant, shop and outdoor playground.
There’s a driven tank display every day at 1pm – will you be one of the lucky audience members picked to take part? You can also take a hair-raising ride in a tracked vehicle with all the family.
Open daily from 10-5; the museum is well-adapted for disabled visitors and a carer goes free. http://www.tankmuseum.org/
Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium
This family-run attraction is located on the historic Cobb at Lyme Regis. Although the aquaria are only small, they showcase a wide range of local sea life, showing just how diverse the Jurassic Coast is. See several kinds of fish, crabs and lobsters, sea urchins and sea mice in their natural habitat.
You can get hands-on by holding a starfish (all those tickly little feet!) or hand-feed the tame gray mullet, who’ll be really pleased to see you. A friendly welcome is guaranteed.
Open daily 10-5. https://www.lymeregismarineaquarium.co.uk
Lots to keep all the family occupied at this attraction in the village of Beer. Dedicated train spotters will be fascinated by all the beautifully-crafted miniature trainsets in the exhibition area, and everyone will enjoy a ride round the site on the “Beer Heights Light Railway” pulled by a third-scale steam or diesel loco.
There are several beautiful gardens to explore as well as stunning coastal views, and an outdoor play area for children of all ages – including zip wires and a fitness trail. For the under-12s, there’s an indoor soft play area on three levels, and a special zone for infants.
If all that activity makes you hungry, there are several formal and informal opportunities for refreshments.
Open daily 10-5. https://www.pecorama.co.uk
This country estate is very convenient for Bridport Cottages visitors, situated just a couple of miles outside Bridport. You can walk to the top of the iconic Colmer’s Hill to get a lovely view of the Marshwood Vale, or enjoy the free mountain bike trails round the estate. Trail maps from the shop.
The Manor Yard is home to a number of local businesses, where you can be pampered in the hair & beauty salon, buy designer fashion, eat locally sourced meals in the café, browse the village shop, or buy items for home and garden.
The walks and trails are open all the time, but other opening hours vary by business, so find out more here: https://symondsburyestate.co.uk/.
Sealife Adventure Park, Weymouth
If you want a fun-filled day out for the family, the Sealife Adventure Park at Weymouth has loads to do. Climbing activity for the children at the Caribbean Cove with its pirate galleon, towers and slides, a swimming pool with lots of play features, mini golf and plenty of places to choose from for family-friendly meals and snacks. The 14-acre site is fully accessible and has thoughtful features like a sensory garden.
But there’s a lot more to Sealife than that – all sorts of aquatic animals and birds to see – turtles and octopus, penguins, seals and otters (don’t miss feeding time); and of course the fishes – venture into the Ocean Tunnel to get thrillingly close to sharks, rays and tropical fish galore.
As well as entertaining you, the Sealife Trust carries out a range of conservation projects, for example, the Wetlands Trail where you can find out how to help wildlife, and feed the ducks!
Open 10am to 5pm every day, with eight feeding sessions and talks. Find out more: https://www.visitsealife.com/weymouth/