Things to do in Dorset

From rolling countryside to golden beaches and fossilised cliffsides, there are plenty of things to do in Dorset, whether rain or shine.


Whether you're exploring with family, seeking unique and unusual things to do in Dorset, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, there are plenty of fun and free adventures to be had.

At Away Resorts, you'll even find dog-friendly caravan holidays in Dorset, so you can bring your four-legged friend and uncover all the wonders the Jurassic Coast has to offer.

The likes of Charmouth Beach, a  40 minute drive from East Fleet Farm and Sandbanks Beach a 30 minute drive from Swanage Bay are the perfect location for a family days out in Dorset. Even better – they're close to our East Fleet Farm holiday park!

Ready to book your well-deserved break to Dorset? Book now and enjoy a memorable getaway with Away Resorts.

Take a look at our top picks for:

  • Family things to do

  • Unusual things to do

  • Free things to do

Family things to do in Dorset

A close up image of a monkey at Monkey World, Dorset.

Monkey world

Monkey world ape rescue centre is home to over 250 rescued and endangered primates. A perfect thing to do in Dorset for families - you can learn about these fascinating creatures through guided tours and talks while supporting conservation efforts. And it is only a 30 minute drive from Swanage Bay!

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An image of Corfe Castle on a bright day with blue skies.

Corfe castle

Enjoy stepping back in time at corfe castle, a mediaeval ruin with a rich history. Children can unleash their imagination as they roam the castle grounds and learn about its dramatic past – just a short 10 minute drive from our swanage bay holiday park.

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Two children waving at the camera out the window of a train.

Swanage railway

Why not embark on a nostalgic steam train journey on the swanage railway? With scenic views of the countryside and coastline, it's a delightful way for families to soak in Dorset's beauty. Discover what else is in the local area and explore some of the best things to do in Dorset for families.

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Abbotsbury swannery image

Abbotsbury swannery

The only location in the world where you can stroll through the centre of a colony of nesting mute swans is Abbotsbury swannery. Families can enjoy riding the pedal go-karts, swinging on the swinging nests play area, and getting lost in the largest maze in Dorset. Investigate the reed cutter's exhibit, the Monks' herb garden, and swanherd's hut.

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Oceanarium aquarium image

Oceanarium aquarium

If you are planning a day trip to Bournemouth, then the Oceanarium aquarium is the perfect for a family day out as this means that you can explore the various exhibits and displays within the Oceanarium. This includes a diverse range of marine life, such as fish, sharks, rays, sea turtles, and other fascinating underwater creatures.

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Unusual things to do in Dorset:

Portland bill lighthouse image

Portland bill lighthouse

Close to our east fleet farm park, (20 minute drive) portland bill lighthouse stands tall on the Isle of Portland's rugged coastline. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for unique, panoramic views of the surrounding seascape whilst learning about its maritime history.

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Subtropical gardens at Abbotsbury image

Subtropical gardens at Abbotsbury

Exploring the enchanting Abbotsbury subtropical gardens is another unusual thing to do in Dorset, where exotic plants thrive in the mild climate. It's a tranquil oasis offering a unique botanical experience for nature enthusiasts and art lovers alike.

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Durdle Door at night image

Durdle Door at night

You'll likely visit Dorset's most photographed landmark, Durdle door, during your visit – but how about getting a shot unlike any other? One of the most iconic and unusual things to do in Dorset is to experience the magic and beauty of Durdle door whilst it's illuminated by moonlight.

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Sculpture by the lakes image

Sculpture by the lakes

Immerse yourself in 26 acres of art and nature at sculpture by the lakes, an outdoor sculpture gallery featuring stunning sculptures set amidst landscaped lakes and gardens. Uncovering the seamless symmetry between art, relaxation and nature, sculpture by the lakes is a truly unique thing to do in Dorset.

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Free things to do in Dorset:

South west coast path image

South west coast path

Embark on a scenic coastal walk along the south west coast path, where you can admire breathtaking views of the jurassic coast without spending a penny.

Picnics in the countryside image

Picnics in the countryside

Why not pack a picnic and head to one of Dorset's picturesque countryside spots, such as Hardy's Monument or Nothe Fort?

Rolling waves on a bright summers day at a lagoon in Dorset.

Beach adventures

Many beaches in Dorset are dog-friendly year-round, including parts of Studland beach, Durdle door, and Chesil beach, allowing your canine companion to frolic in the sand and surf. There's no better way to create loving memories that last a lifetime with the entire family.

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Countryside walks

If sandy shores aren't quite your cup of tea, fear not – because Dorset offers the best rolling countryside to explore with your four-legged friend. Numerous walking trails and paths offer the perfect opportunity for long walks amidst nature.

Things to do in Dorset – Frequently asked questions

What are the best things to do in Dorset when it's raining?

The south coast has plenty to offer for the entire family come rain or shine, meaning there are lots of things to do in Dorset when it's raining, including:

  • Exploring museums and galleries showcasing local history and art
  • Visiting indoor attractions like the Oceanarium or Sea Life Centre
  • Enjoying cafés and restaurants, trying local cuisine
  • Treating yourself to a spa day for relaxation
  • Attending cooking classes or workshops to learn something new

Are there any things to do in Dorset for adults?

  • There are lots of things to do in Dorset for adults, such as:
  • Experiencing wine tasting at local wineries and vineyards
  • Taking pub and brewery tours to sample local beers and ales
  • Engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, or water sports
  • Enjoying live music and theatre performances
  • Attending cultural events like art exhibitions and food fairs

What are the most romantic things to do in Dorset for couples?

Another way to enjoy Dorset is through a romantic break. Things to do in Dorset for couples include:

  • Taking romantic sunset beach walks
  • Booking a couples' spa retreat
  • Enjoying a fine dining experience at one of Dorset's top restaurants
  • Embarking on a romantic boat trip along the Jurassic Coast
  • Visiting historic landmarks like Corfe Castle or Sherborne Castle together


Are Dorset beaches dog-friendly?

Yes, many Dorset beaches are dog-friendly. Some popular options include Studland Bay, Charmouth Beach, Durdle Door Beach, West Bay Beach, and Weymouth Beach. Always remember to check local regulations for any restrictions, especially during certain times of the year.

Discovering different...

Whilst you wait... just think about being in your swimmers, the sun's out and the smiles are big