We recommend the following days out and things to do.
Abbotsbury Children’s Farm
Speed-Boat trip across Lyme Bay
Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club
Bridport Leisure Centre
Weymouth Sea Life Centre
Wookey Hole Caving
Cookery courses at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ
Crazy Golf in Ryme Regis
Fleet Air Arm Museum
Hayne’s Motor Museum
Deep Sea Fishing: West Bay Charters West Bay. 01308 421800 http://www.westbaycharters.co.uk The sea fishing here is fantastic all year round. Bass and Pollack trips are run in the summer. Anchor or drift fishing for Whiting, Rays, Turbot, Bull Huss, Ling, Bream, Tope and Plaice, can also be offered. Rod and tackle hire is available. The 1 hour Mackerel trips are very popular, often non-stop action and suitable for first time anglers. Great for families with children who want to catch some great tasting fish for the BBQ. Mackerel fishing is exhilarating and the easiest fish to catch.
Market Days and Farmer’s Market: Bridport, www.dorsetfarmersmarkets.co.uk Wednesdays and Saturdays
Speed-boat trip across Lyme Bay: West Bay. Lyme Bay RIB Charter are based in West Bay. They offer a wide and varied choice of options and are happy to tailor a specific activity to meet personal requirements. The rib boats are great fun and a perfect way to see the beauty of the coastline. West Bay Quayside service between Easter & September. 07971 258515. http://www.lymebayribcharter.co.uk/
Local Brewery Tour: Palmers Brewery West Bay Road, Bridport, DT6 4JA 01308 422396 (6 miles)
Leisure Centre – Bridport: DT6 5LN 01308 427464. Good local leisure centre for swimming, squash, badminton, yoga, gym etc. There is a children’s pool and a 25 meter pool.
Marshwood Trails. Marshwood Trails offer guided cycling and walking tours to help people discover what this beautiful area has to offer. All the details can be found on the website; www.marshwoodtrails.co.uk , 07796 135256. They offer tours by peddle and electric bike and rent bikes too.
Horse Riding: Jo Forsey Riding School – Bidlake Farm, Broakoak, Bridport, DT6 5PY 07796517888. Jo is great with all ages including small kids. There is an indoor barn for the beginners.
Lama Trekking: UK Llamas New House Farm, Mosterton, Beaminster, DT8 3HE 01308 868674 http://www.ukllamas.co.uk
Live Entertainment: Bridport: The Electric Palace 35 South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NY 01308 428354 http://www.electricpalace.org.uk. The Electric Palace attracts fantastic bands and comedians, so if you like live shows, it’s worth looking at their website to see what is on.
Kids swimming and 10 pin bowling: Near West Bay (01308) 897317 or 897336 DT6 4PT. Freshwater Caravan Park for swimming (fun pool) and 10 pin bowling. New modern facilities. May not welcome visitors in peak holiday times so please check first.
Guided fossil hunting. Charmouth. Great fun for kids and adults and Charmouth is one of the best places in the world for fossils. Group or private hunting walks available. Check the website or give them a call. www.fossilwalks.com Tel: 0845 094 3757. Or you can try Colin Dawes on 01297443758 or Ian & Brandon Lennon on 07854377519.
Donkey Sanctuary. Sidmouth. EX10 0NU. Come and meet some of the 500 donkeys at Slade Farm. It is free and is a fantastic day out for everyone, especially small children. There is a restaurant and picnic area.
Forde Abbey: TA20 4LU www.fordeabbey.co.uk Forde Abbey was formerly a Cistercian monastery founded in 1141 and is renowned for its award-winning gardens. You can visit the house and explore the 30 acres of gardens. There good café and plant nursery too. The gardens are beautiful and it’s well worth a visit.
Crazy Golf. Lyme Regis. 18-hole mini crazy golf course in Lister Gardens provides a fun challenge to players of all ages. With spectacular views of The Cobb, the beach and the coastline to Portland the course is a popular way to spend an hour or so in the town’s award winning seafront gardens. April – May 9.00am – 6.00pm. June – September 9.00am – 9.00pm. October 9.00am – 6.00pm. November – March 10.00am – 4.00pm (Weekends and School Holidays only)
Montacute House TA15 6XP. The National Trust’s Montacute House is a Renaissance Manor House built of stone in 1588. It is filed with treasures and not only houses a fantastic exhibition of 17th textile samplers, it also has an arm of the National Portrait Gallery containing many Elizabethan paintings. ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was filmed here.
Cookery courses at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ Near Axminster http://www.rivercottage.net. We get lots of great feedback about these courses. Have a look on their website for more information.
Mapperton House DT8 3NR. www.mapperton.com Mapperton is the home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich and is famous for its sunken garden. The house, Elizabethan in origin, enlarged in the late 1660s, is a marvelous example of a West Country manor house. The gardens are worth a visit and there is a good café too.
Clay Shooting: Evershot DT2 9PW 01935 83625 www.southerncountiesleisure.com – Southern Counties Shooting is the largest shooting ground in the country with over 450 fully automatic traps and was the official training ground for the 2012 London Olympics. They welcome and offer lessons to complete beginners. There is no need to have your own gun or a shotgun certificate as an instructor will provide you with all the necessary equipment. Their Have a Go lessons are suitable for individuals but also ideal for groups and families. You must call beforehand.
Go- Karting: Evershot DT2 9PW 01935 83625 www.southerncountiesleisure.com. The Clay Pigeon Raceway is a professional kart racing centre. You can hire twin-engine karts from as little as 10 minutes and up to an hour. All drivers are provided with helmet, overalls and gloves. You must call beforehand.
Trout Fishing, Near Cerne Abbas DT2 7BE 01300 341 351. The lakes at Flowers Farm are situated in an attractive natural environment with views overlooking the Blackmore Vale. The fishery comprises five lakes, stocked with high quality Brown and Rainbow Trout. Tuition can be arranged. Tackle can be hired. www.flowersfarmlakes.co.uk. Do call them for more information.
Swannery New Barn Road, Abbotsbury, DT3 4JG 01305 871858. Abbotsbury Swannery is unique. This is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans. Great for kids.
Subtropical Gardens Bullers Way, Abbotsbury, DT3 4LA 01305 871387. Established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. Developed since then into a magnificent 20 acre garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world. Many of these plants were first introductions to this country, discovered by the plant hunting descendants of the Countess.
Abbotsbury Children’s Farm Church Street, Abbotsbury, DT3 4JJ 01305 871817. This is a great place for the young family looking for things to do in Dorset. There are lots of animals for the children to meet, greet and feed. Children can cuddle the guinea pigs, ride the ponies, race the tractors, play in the large undercover play area and bottle feed the baby goats. The baby goats also race around a track twice a day, after the race the children are invited to take a goat for a warm down walk on a lead. Perfect for kids under 10. There is a café on site.
Weymouth Sea Life Centre Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth DT4 7SX 01305 761070. Worth a visit and lots of fish to see. Great for kids and look out for 2 for 1 vouchers online or often at Morrisons Petrol Station. It is looking a little tired though!
Tank Museum Bovington, Wareham, BH20 6JG 01929 405096. www.tankmuseum.org/ The Home of the Tank. The tank was a British invention that changed warfare forever when it was introduced in World War One – and Bovington has been the home of the tank ever since. From the Somme to Tiananmen Square or D-Day to Desert Storm the tank has played a part in shaping history – and it continues to do so today. This unique collection of over 300 vehicles is regarded as the best in the world and includes the world’s first ever tank, the feared German Tiger tank and the modern Challenger 2. At certain times of the year, you can ride in a tracked vehicle which the kids love.
Monkey World, Nr Wareham, BH20 6HH 01929 462537. Ape Rescue Centre is home to over 240 rescued and endangered primates. They have 5 different species of gibbon and it is home to the largest group of chimpanzees outside of Africa, living in 4 different social groups. There are 3 groups of orangutans at the park, including 2 different species: Bornean and Sumatran. Monkey World is home to Europe’s only Orangutan Crèche, and also successfully breeds Bornean orangutans as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). There are 8 species of monkeys and prosimians at the park: capuchin monkeys, common marmosets, cotton-top tamarins, ring-tailed lemurs, ruffed lemur, squirrel monkeys (pictured), stump-tailed macaques and woolly monkeys. The kids love it. Can be expensive so check prices and opening before you set off. http://www.monkeyworld.org
Dry Fly Fishing, Dorchester DT2 9SN. Wrackleford offers four miles of Dry Fly Fishing on the River Frome, divided into individual fishing beats, most with their own small fishing hut. Each fishing beat is rented by the day. They can provide complete fishing equipment, from rods and waders to flies and leader, and given notice they can offer a fully guided day with instruction.www.wrackleford.co.uk . Do call them for more information.
Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton BA22 8HW. The Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton www.fleetairarm.com has the largest collection of naval aircraft in the world and a real Concorde. There is fantastic mock aircraft carrier. This is a great day out for kids, especially if it’s wet. Check prices though as you may think it’s expensive.
Escot Park, Ottery St Mary, EX11 1LU 01404 822188. Escot offers visitors a great family day out. Enjoy the world-class Beech Hedge maze, explore the woodlands and discover hidden playgrounds. Test your nerve on the Forest Drop slide and meet the cheeky family of otters, wild boar and red squirrels. Younger children will be thrilled by the indoor play barn and enjoy cooked lunches and snacks in the Coach House Restaurant. For those that wish to enjoy the Devon countryside there are plenty of picnic spots and quiet places to admire the views. Known as the natural place for very good reason (you will meet peacocks and guinea fowl roaming free). The outdoor playgrounds are great fun for daring kids and you can take your own picnic.
Hayne’s Motor Museum BA22 7LH. Hayne’s Motor Museum BA22 7LH www.haynesmotormuseum.com (open March to October). This prestigious Museum offers an excellent day out for everyone. With more than 340 cars and bikes displayed in stunning style, dating from 1886 to the present day, it is the largest international motor museum in Britain.
Wookey Hole Caves, Wells, Somerset BA5 1BB, 01749 672243. Spectacular caves and legendary home of the infamous Witch of Wookey… Revamped in 2012. Over 20 attractions. Check prices and opening before setting off. The caves can be scary for really young children. http://www.wookey.co.uk/