With its combination of prehistoric Jurassic coastline, wildlife filled countryside, historic sites and child-friendly attractions, Dorset is the perfect destination for a family day out. Celebrate World Family Day by booking a trip to Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant & Spa which welcomes younger visitors and is perfectly placed to make the most of the area’s best family-friendly spots, whether that’s a heritage steam train journey, fossil hunting on the beach or a trip to a primate rescue centre.
A fun and original way to see Dorset, the Swanage railway offers an opportunity to hop abroad a historic steam train and enjoy a 12-mile round trip that provides fantastic views of the picturesque countryside. Discover the region that inspired writers such as Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton whilst you take in views of the Purbeck coast, with its distinctive geology and historical sites such as Corfe Castle.
Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre
This 65-acre park in Wareham is known internationally as a rescue centre for endangered primates from across the globe. Visitors have the opportunity to participate in guided tours and listen to stories of the centre’s residents (which include Orang-utans and Gibbons), or simply enjoy watching the monkeys play. Children will also love the Great Ape Adventure Play Area, one of the largest adventure play areas in Southern England.
Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre
Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is famous for its magnificent fossils, and the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is worth visiting for its seriously impressive fossil collection. Ideal for a family trip, the centre, which is located next to the beach at Charmouth, also offers guided fossil hunts. The fossil walks last two hours and are a great chance for children to find their own fossils, which they can take home with them.
Abbotsbury Children’s Farm
Begun as a Benedictine monastery in the 1040s, Abbotsbury is now a child-friendly farm that the whole family will enjoy visiting. Little ones have the chance to meet and feed the farm’s lambs, pet the guinea pigs and ride the ponies. There’s also a great undercover play area and a bouncy castle. Adults will appreciate the selection of local Dorset produce on offer at the farm café, as well as the well-stocked gift shop.
One of Dorset’s most charming and unusual attractions, Abbotsbury Swannery is home to the only managed colony of nesting Mute swans in the world, and is sure to delight visitors of all ages. First established by Abbotsbury’s Benedictine Monks, who farmed swans, the 25-acre site is now a natural habitat for Mute swans. Arrive in time for either midday or 4pm daily, and you can help hand feed the Swannery’s 600 swans. There’s also a giant willow maze to discover in addition to the swinging nests play area.
Families will love the Summer Lane Cottages and Coach House at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant & Spa which each have their own lounge, conservatory or seating areas.