Dorset is one of the main holidaying areas in the U.K. There is plenty to do for families in the area and there is also plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation.
Main Holiday Areas
There are three main centres for family holidays in Dorset. These are Bournemouth, Weymouth and Poole. Bournemouth and Weymouth have been long established when it comes to family holidays and both have sandy beaches. Poole doesn't have a beach itself, but is close to Sandbanks.
Weymouth in particular is home to a large number of caravan parks. You will also find a smaller number of these around Poole. Although there are a few caravan parks outside of Bournemouth accommodation here tends to comprise more of hotels and guest houses. Weymouth also hosts a number of small hotels and guest houses catering for families.
You will also find plenty of camp sites spotted around the county.
You have plenty of choice when it comes to eating out. There are many pubs scattered through the county that cater for children. You will find a lot of the pubs have children's menus, larger gardens and also plenty of play equipment. Some also have children's games evenings. Watch out for queues if you get to one of the more popular pubs a bit late.
Around the harbours of Poole and Weymouth you will also find plenty of restaurants catering for families. Bournemouth has a number of well known family friendly restaurants as well.
Attractions - Poole
There are regular boat trips around Poole Harbour and across to Studland Bay. Others take you further along the coast. You can also hop on a boat to visit tranquil Brownsea Island. Other outdoor activities include the children's farm Farmer Palmers, Compton Acres Gardens (ten acres of themed gardens with views across the harbour), Swanage Steam Railway, Wimborne Model Town, Upton Country Park, water sports in the harbour, and Monkey World (between Poole and Weymouth). There are also a number of activities in Poole Park.
When the weather is not so hot you can paint pots at Poole Pottery, visit the Royal Signals Museum or head to Splashdown for a large selection of indoor and outdoor waterslides.
Attractions - Weymouth
Outdoor attractions: Abbotsbury Swannery, Blue Pool (beauty spot), Monkey World, Weymouth Sea Life Park, Radipole Lake Nature Reserve (RSPB), Abbotsbury Oyster Farm and Abbotsbury Children's Farm.
Indoor attractions: Bovington Tank Museum, Quay Brewery, Timewalk (Weymouth history through the centuries) and Discovery (scientific exhibition).
Attractions - Bournemouth
Bournemouth also offers a number of boat trips and a large park. Other outdoor attractions include Adventure Wonderland theme park, Alice in Wonderland theme park, Moors Valley Country Park, Kidz on Quadz (bikes), Dorset Heavy Horse and Pony Centre and Snowtrax (ski activity centre).
Indoor activities include Bournemouth Oceanarium, Bournemouth Aviation Museum and the Museum of Electricity.
Bournemouth, Weymouth and Poole are all rich in history and a variety of walks and tours are also available.
The area is not part of the motorway network, but is served by a series of 'A' roads. The roads tend to get busy on holiday change over days, especially during the school holidays. All three destinations are served by direct rail services from London.