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A child in a yellow summer dress playing on wooden stepping stones, with bunting behind
Join us a summer of play at Kingston Lacy | © National Trust Images/Betsy Ogilvie

Family-friendly places in Dorset

There's all sorts of things to do in Dorset with the family, including discovering places to explore in gardens, parks, the countryside and on the beach.

Places to visit with the family

Find all the best places to make a memorable day out for all the family.

Family of four sitting on a log in the woods on Brownsea Island.

Family adventures on Brownsea Island 

A family adventure on Brownsea Island starts from the moment you catch the ferry. There are lots of activities running over school holidays and a wild play area and a café.

Family playing in Corfe Castle

Family fun at Corfe Castle 

Corfe Castle is the perfect place to enjoy a fun-filled family day out. There is always something new to explore and join in with a jam-packed programme of events.

A child on wooden play equipment

Family days out at Kingston Lacy 

Summer is a great time to explore Kingston Lacy. From natural play areas to family crafts or taking your bike for a ride through the woodland trail. A visit here is a great day out.

An adult helping a child across a tightrope on the beach at Studland Bay

Family-friendly things to do at Studland Bay 

With miles of sand dunes, beaches and sea, Studland Bay is the perfect place for a family adventure at any time of year. Find out more and plan your visit.

Summer of play in Dorset

Looking for a day out that'll keep the whole family entertained in the summer holidays? Find the best family-friendly places to visit and discover the fun-filled activities on offer as part of our Summer of Play, sponsored by Starling Bank. From 20 July to 1 September, and at Stourhead from 6 July.

A father and son on wooden play equipment

Kingston Lacy 

There's something for all the family to enjoy at Kingston Lacy this summer. Explore the festival field of fun, dance at the bug ball, put on a performance at the giant puppet theatre and find lots of games and activities and adventures. There are also two wonderful play areas to discover and explore. Other summer events include crafts such as making an Egyptian clay tablet or flower windmill and activities such as Morning Dance Party, children’s yoga, storytelling and bubble play.

Two children play with toy swords in front of Corfe Castle in Dorset

Corfe Castle 

Explore a thousand years of history at Corfe Castle where you'll find six summer play zones to get your legs and minds racing. Try to hit the bullseye in the Archery Zone or use the mini slingshots to fire beanbags onto the target boards. Visit the Obstacle Zone for stepping stones and balance beams or the Music Zone to make some noise. There's also a garden games area and weekend storytelling sessions.

A child and adult plays on a swing from a tree while families play in the sand in the background at Brownsea Island Poole Harbour, Dorset

Brownsea Island 

A trip to Brownsea Island is an adventure from the moment you step on board the ferry. Discover a world of adventure for kids big and small, with games and activities for all. Create, explore, move, wonder or just run around. See who can build the best den, make some wild art, and have a go at the animal yoga poses. At the natural play area you can leap, climb and scamper like a red squirrel - can you match their agility?

Summer of play poster illustration


Just over the border in Wiltshire discover a festival of fun in the play meadow at Stourhead, with games, crafts, music and workshops. Divided into different activity zones, this wide outdoor space has something for everyone. The craft tent always has something to do with exciting new crafts at weekly sessions.. Or construct impressive structures from wooden blocks or build a giant marble run. Find lawn games, or enjoy climbing obstacles or why not explore the maze to find the hidden camp and scale the mighty straw bale fort? 6 July to 1 September.

Outdoor theatre and cinema in the South West

4 people with instruments perform on a stage

Outdoor theatre in the South West 

Come and experience a theatre performance in the great outdoors this summer, with plenty of shows to choose from across the South West. Bring the whole family, a picnic blanket and some popcorn and settle down to watch the show with nature and perhaps a historic house as your backdrop. Browse our programme of shows and find your nearest performance.

'50 things to do before you're 11¾' come rain or shine

The weather can be unpredictable so we've pulled together ideas to help keep the family busy - whatever the weather

Two children in coats and wellies walk along the path with umbrellas up towards East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire

Top ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities to do when it’s raining 

We've compiled a selection of items from the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ list that are perfect for rainy days, so grab your waterproofs and get involved.

Visitor looking for insects with a butterfly net at Crom, Country Fermanagh.

Top ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities in summer 

Enjoy a memorable family day out this summer. Plan your own wild adventures and see how many of our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities you can try out wherever you are.

Family-friendly coastline and beaches in Dorset

Discover walks along the coastline or build a sandcastle on the beach.

A woman and a man with a baby carrier looking out over the Jurassic Coast from Golden Cap in Dorset, on a bright summer's day

Golden Cap 

Visiting Golden Cap is always a big adventure. Discover treasure on the Stonebarrow Smugglers' Trail, take on a big challenge and climb Golden Cap, or try out geocaching on the wider estate.

Couple walk beside the sea at Hive Beach, Dorset in spring

Burton Bradstock 

From bracing coastal walks to views of the Jurassic Coast, a visit to Hive Beach has a number of highlights to look out for.

The shingle beach with the sun rising behind the cliffs in the background at Ringstead Bay, Dorset

Ringstead Bay 

Unspoilt beach, farmland and cliffs on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

near Weymouth, Dorset

Child snorkelling in the sea at Middle Beach, Studland, Dorset.

Studland Bay 

Four miles of beautiful beaches line the sheltered waters of Studland Bay. The area is ideal for family beach trips and coastal walks.

An early morning view across Corfe Castle, Dorset in winter

Discover more in Dorset

Home to everything from an island, ancient coasts and hidden gems to a castle and a house inspired by an Italian palace.