Fun facts on Dorset

  • Dorset is famous for its stunning coastline, which is often termed as the Jurassic Coast
  • Dorset boasts many rolling hills, breathtaking countryside, quaint villages and sandy beaches and the Jurassic coastline
  • Charles 2nd escaped to France in the 17th Century
  • Corfe Castle was ruined in the Civil War (17th Century)
  • Abbotsbury Swannery was part of a Benedictine Monastry built in the
  • 1040s and the monks farmed the swans to produce food – the Swannery is also the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans.
  • The Bouncing Bomb designed by Barnes Wallis was tested on the Fleet in the Second World War (1942).
  • Dorset has several Iron Age Hill Forts (Hayley mentioned Maiden Castle – others include Badbury Rings, Hambledon Hill, Egardon Hill

Places to see in Dorset

Abbotsbury Swannery

Abbotsbury Swannery is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans.  The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks nearly 1,000 years ago, who farmed the swans to produce food for their lavish banquets. St Peter’s monastery was destroyed in 1539 during the dissolution. Some of the ruins are still visible around St Nicholas’ Church in the village.

New Barn Road, Abbotsbury, Nr Weymouth, Dorset DT3 4JG

Adventure Wonderland near Christchurch

Adventure Wonderland is brimming with your favourite themes and characters, making it Dorset’s Number 1 Theme Park for boys and girls alike.

So if you’re a would-be Pirate, an intrepid Explorer, a Mad Hatter or just a plain old fashioned Fun Lover, then you and your family have got a real treat in store!

Merritown Lane, Hurn, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 6BA

Boat trip to Brownsea Island to see the red squirrels
Brownsea Island offers a varied and beautiful landscape for enjoying the wonders of nature; from the patchworks of woodland, heath and grassy fields in the peaceful and secluded interior, to the cliffs and beaches of the coastline, which offer breathtaking views across the harbour to the Purbeck Hills.
Brownsea, home to BBC’s Autumnwatch in 2008, is described by Bill Oddie ‘as the best place for seeing wildlife in Dorset.’ The island is home to a thriving population of the scarce and threatened red squirrel and offers winter shelter to a quarter of the UK’s winter population of avocets; a black and white bird with a long, curved beak.

Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset BH13 7EE

Corfe Castle
Guarded the route through the Purbeck Hills, the dramatic ruins stand on a natural hill. The first castle was built of wood and later rebuilt in stone by William the Conquerer.

The Square, Corfe, Wareham, BH20 5EZ

Corfe Castle Model Village

Situated in the heart of Corfe Castle village, on the Isle of Purbeck, see what the Castle and village would have looked like before its destruction by Cromwell’s troops in 1646. Set in an acre of landscaped gardens, it is the ideal place for a lazy few hours for both young and old alike.  Included in the Model Village and gardens are
  • Giant Games for all the family
  • Croquet lawn
  • Village punishment area for scoundrels, with working stocks and pillories
  • Fossil corner
  • Enchanted fairy garden
  • Wildlife garden with hide and bird feeding station
  • The Potting shed miniature museum and information centre
  • Life size civil war soldiers, guarding our castle
  • Terrace for refreshments with sweeping views of the surrounding hills and castle.

The Square, Corfe Castle Dorset BH20 5EZ
dinoDinosaur Museum
The only museum on mainland Britain dedicated to dinosaurs, the award-winning Dinosaur Museum is a treat, especially for children. The museum combines life-sized reconstructions of dinosaurs with fossils and skeletons to create an exciting hands-on experience. Multimedia displays tell the story of the giant prehistoric animals and their enthralling world millions of years ago. Life-size dinosaur reconstructions – including Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus and Triceratops – beg to be touched by by little hands – that´s encouraged.

Icen Way, Dorchester, DT1 1EW

Durlston Country Park

Durlston Country Park, situated 1 mile from Swanage in Dorset, is a fabulous 280 acre countryside paradise, consisting of sea-cliffs, coastal limestone downland, haymeadows, hedgerows and woodland. With stunning views, walking trails, the historic Great Globe, superb geology and fascinating wildlife there is always something different to see.  The Park overlooks the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast, walk along the coastpath and see if you can spot any dolphins!

Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2JL

Farmer Palmersfarmer-palmers

An award winning and great value day for children 8 years & under. There’s “hands-on” animal events every half hour, outdoor play, indoor soft play areas, delicious traditional meals & great attention to detail making it a must-visit as your children will have a fun day out whatever the weather!

Wareham Road, Organford, Poole Dorset BH16 6EU
monkeyMonkey World Ape Rescue Centre
A great day out for all the family, Monkey World near Wareham in Dorset is internationally acclaimed for its rescue work and home to over 160 rescued or endangered apes and monkeys. Monkey World adds to the fun with children´s adventure play area, woodland walk, keepers talks, cafes,

Wool, Wareham, BH20 6HH

Moors Valley Country Park near Wimborne

At Moors Valley there is something for everyone…
whether you want to enjoy a peaceful walk or cycle ride through the Forest, experience a ride on an authentic narrow-gauge steam train or even go on a high wire adventure swinging through the tree tops…

Horton Road, Ashley Heath, Nr Ringwood, Dorset, BH24 2ET

Putlake Adventure Farm

Why not visit a family run adventure farm set in the beautiful purbeck countryside, at Langton Matravers only 2 miles from Swanage town centre.  Putlake Adventure Farm offers:
•    Large indoor heated soft play zone
•    Outdoor play area
•    Bottle feeding lambs and goats
•    Tractor trailer rides
•    Many rare breeds of animals

Putlake Farm, Langton Matravers, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 3EU

Sea Life Centre (Weymouth)
Unique amongst Seal Life centres, in that its numerous marine life exhibitions are housed – not under one roof – but in separate pods within a landscape that also hosts a number of other outdoor features. The latter includes otter and seal sanctuaries, and the Park’s resident colony of Humboldt penguins.  Indoor displays include the Tropical Shark Nursery, teeming with black-tip, bonnet head and other species of sharks; the spectacular Turtle Sanctuary with its walkthrough underwater tunnel; and one of the first National Seahorse Breeding and Conservation Centres.

Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth, DT4 7SX

Sika trail in Wareham Forest

Walk or cycle along the Sika Cycle Trail which runs for 7 miles around Wareham Forest. Its southern point links to the Northport Greenway thereby providing a safe, off-road route from the town of Wareham to the forest. The trail follows tracked routes through the forest and heath. It is generally flat with a couple of inclines, and is suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

swanageSwanage Railway
A standard gauge preserved steam railway. It currently operates on the six miles of track between Swanage and Norden, through the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle.

Station House, Swanage, BH19 1HB

Tank Museum

The Tank Museum houses the world’s finest collection of Tanks, and is situated amongst some of the most outstanding coastal scenery in the country.

The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, BH20 6JG
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