Beach
Activities & Days Out, Beaches & Coastline, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head is very natural headland, with a shingle beach and grasslands, heathlands and walks.

I have visited Hengistbury Head all of my life, in all 4 seasons. I find it just as much fun on a blustery Autumn day as I do in the height of summer. It has a great visitor centre and lots of educational facilities.

www.visithengistburyhead.co.uk

It overlooks Christchurch Harbour and Christchurch Priory. All lovely places to visit. It has a big car park, and cafes both at the start and end of the walks. However, the biggest reason to visit Hengistbury Head has always been the Noddy train, as its known locally.

It’s a small land train that takes you around the headland and out to Mudeford Spit. Its a very cute train, and I don’t think I know any child who hasn’t been on this train! My mum still enjoys a day out here, and will always ask to go on the train and she’s 73!

The journey to Mudeford beach takes about 10 minutes, tickets are inexpensive and it runs every day. Some the UKs most expensive beach huts are on Mudeford Beach Its worth a trip, you can have a lovely walk, and a lovely lunch at the restaurant here – www.beachhousecafe.co.uk

There’s a kiosk here for ice creams and coffees and the local beach hut residents get their day to day supplies here.

The Visitor centre runs talks and holds lots of information about the area.

BCP council has launched an app for you to check how busy the beaches are before you head out. Download it for free here.

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Beach
Activities & Days Out, Beaches & Coastline, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Shell Bay and Studland Bay

The first beach you hit from the ferry is a particularly beautiful natural beach.

Be warned … further along this beach, before you come to the first cafe at Middle Beach you have to go through the Naturist Beach!! This is the largest naturist beach in the UK. Its best to know before you get there, so you can distract the kids as you walk through it!!

It leads from the ferry along a curve all the way to Old Harry Rocks. The National Trust website has lots of information regarding all the activities on offer.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk

There’s lots of car parking on their beaches if you drive over. They have some nice cafes, and during school holidays there often walks and trails to follow. I believe they even have horse riding on the beach.

Whilst its a bit further away than some of our very local beaches, these beaches here are quite special. they are much more natural and they are definitely worth a day out.

Whether you spend the day enjoying the sun or walking from one end to the other, this part of Dorset is what makes it so very special.

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Beach
Activities & Days Out, Beaches & Coastline, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door

You can drive to Lulworth Cove either via the ferry or by taking the A35 and going via Wareham.

On a normal day, with normal traffic, the journey should take you around 50 minutes. However, this is a very busy part of Dorset, on a sunny Sunday, this journey could take you 3 hours!

Travelling on the ferry is dependant on the queue, again on a sunny Sunday morning you could sit in the queue for an hour. Its best to get up early and get on with your day if you want to visit Lulworth.

So, will it be worth it…?

Undoubtedly YES!.

Both Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door are truly beautiful to look down on from the cliffs above. The beaches here are all shingle, part of the Jurassic coast and full of fossils. There is a castle in the village about 15 minutes from the cove.

This is part of the Lulworth Estate, all the information regarding Lulworth and Durdle Door is found on this site – www.lulworth.com. Events at the castle will be listed here too.

Durdle Door is one of the most photographed places in Dorset. It is a hike down to the beach, and not for the unfit. You can still see the cove and enjoy the beauty of it all without doing the hike down. You will need proper shoes to get down to the beach, its steps all the way down, made from the cliff side & uneven. Over the past few years there has been unprecedented numbers of visitors to this area. The Lulworth Estate and local residents have struggled to keep numbers manageable, and what should be a lovely day out has turned into chaos for some people. Please check the Lulworth website and twitter for up to date information before your visit. Remember as always Leave nothing but footprints.

Lulworth, on the other side of this big bay, is accessed straight from the small village and is much easier to get to. There’s normally great rock pools here. Pick up some crab fishing equipment from a local store before you leave Bournemouth and spend an afternoon trying to catch something.

You need good shoes to do these beaches, the stones are smooth, but you still need shoes to get across them. Its not a place for flip flops!

There are some amazing walks along this part of the coastline. They are all signposted and range from 5 miles to 25 miles. This site will help you plan your route – www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk.

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Dionne Bell

Portsmouth Historic Dockyeard
Activities & Days Out, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth is a naval city and houses big naval base still now. Historically it was an important base, and the ships here reflect that.

The dockyard is home to HMS Victory, Nelson’s famous ship, Victory played a crucial part in the Battle Of Trafalgar. This magnificent ship is now a living history museum.

Its really interesting for both adults and kids.

The dockyard also houses HMS Warrior. Which was the fastest, largest and powerful ship when she was launched as part of Queen Victoria fleet. It’s really amazing how old it is, and seeing how people lived on it.

The Mary Rose is probably the most well known of all the ships at the dockyard. Henry VIII’s 16th century is the only one of its kind on view in the world. A new multi-million pound exhibition is currently being finished, due to open summer 2018.

There are submarines to visit here too.

www.historicdockyard.co.uk/index.php

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Activities, Activities & Days Out

Salisbury Cathedral

The cathedral has undergone renovation over the last few years. Its a stunning building, situated in the centre of Salisbury.

It is steeped in history and has witnessed significant moments in our past. The Doomsday Book is believed to have passed through here to be presented to William the Conqueror when the cathedral existed as Old Sarum.

It currently holds one of 4 copies to have survived, the best of which is now cared for at the cathedral. A day out to Salisbury, followed by a visit to Stonehenge is not an ordinary day!

The cathedral is still undergoing renovations, so do please check the website for information regarding any closures before you visit.

www.salisburycathedral.org.uk

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Activities & Days Out, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Stonehenge

Did you realise you are just about an hour from Stonehenge? I bet you didn’t know that!

Situated on the other side of Salisbury, just around an hour by car (on a normal traffic day) Stonehenge is an English Heritage site.

Did you know Stonehenge is a pre-historic site? A visit here is on a lot of peoples bucket list, and you’re pretty near the stones now!

Over the last few years, they have reconfigured the area around the stones. You can no longer climb on them, as we did as children, but you are still able to walk around them, and its pretty close. There’s a great visitor centre here now, and a big car park and cafe.

The ticket price goes towards maintaining these important historic sites.

www.english-heritage.org

 

Recommended by 

Dionne Bell

Lyndhurst
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Lyndhurst

Lyndhurst is another New Forest small town. Really just a high street, its lined with some cute gift shops & a very expensive Ferrari specialist dealer.

The New Forest ponies are accessible from the forest at the end of town, there a small hill that you can walk up that gives you a nice view of the edge of the forest.

www.thenewforest.co.uk/explore/towns-and-villages/lyndhurst

Close to Lyndhurst is Limewood. A truly stunning 5-star hotel & restraint, with a beautiful spa. It’s a very modern country hotel, and if you’re feeling like a special treat see if you can book yourself in for dinner.

Angela Hartnett (a Gordon Ramsey protégée) is in charge of the dining at Limewood and there’s often Michelin starred chefs making guest appearances in pop up restaurants. It is 5 star, so expect 5-star prices!

www.limewoodhotel.co.uk/

 

 

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Dionne Bell

Wightlink
Activities & Days Out, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Lymington & Ferry to Isle of Wight

Lymington is a market town on the edge of the New Forest, famous for its yachting.

There’s a Saturday street market, some independent retailers, along with a few small high street stores. Lots of pubs & restaurants line the main high street.

As you go out of Lymington you reach the Wightlink ferry terminal to take the car ferry over to the Isle of Wight. Advance booking for this service will get you better prices.

There’s a lot to do on the Isle of Wight, you can pick a few planes to visit and easily do a day trip from Bournemouth. www.lymington.com

www.wightlink.co.uk

www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Burley Village
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Burley

Burley is a small village set in the middle of the New Forest. Its a good place to start when planning some time in the forest.

There are plenty of pubs in the area, tea rooms & some very cute little shops.

New Forest ponies wander through the village, be warned, they may look sweet but they are wild horses and should be treated with caution.

I cant recommend any of the pubs as being more special than the others here, they are all connected to big chains, however, they are all ok I think.

www.burleynewforest.co.uk/

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Activities & Days Out, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Milton Abbas and Milton Abbey

About 45 minutes from Bournemouth, by taking the A35, you can find Milton Abbas.

It is a street that looks as if its come straight from a 1970’s chocolate box. Thatched cottages line this street that looks as if time has stood still.

There’s a lovely pub at one end of the street, The Hambro Arms serving lots of traditional pub lunches.

www.hambroarms.com

A short drive from the main street is the Milton Abbey school. Set in hugely impressive gardens, designed by Capability Brown, the school also houses an abbey, open to visitors at weekends & school holidays.

The abbey dates back to 934 AD, and has been renovated through the centuries by different parties. I often take visitors here, it’s peaceful & quite beautiful.

www.miltonabbey.org

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Beach
Activities & Days Out, Beaches & Coastline, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Osmington Mills

This is a small hamlet, close to Weymouth.

Its the furthest of the beaches I’m suggesting to you, but it’s another that I find quite special.

Its another of the Jurassic coast beaches, its shingle and its again accessed from cliffs. Its not as much of a hike down to the beach as Durdle door, but it gets onto my list because of two things.

  • The first is the fossils. I’ve found fossils on this beach since I was a small child, so its always been somewhere I’ve enjoyed walking along.
  • The second is the pub!! We came here when I was a small child, and my brother and I would roll down the hill into the beer garden, I love watching my son do the same thing with all the other children. It seems kids have been rolling down that hill for decades!

The Smugglers Inn is a very old Pub, situated at the end of the road down to the beach. you can park up, enjoy a lovely long walk along the cliffs, head down to the beach searching for fossils or rockpool fishing and then get back to the pub for a great lunch.

They have some local information on the website too. It gets really busy in the summer because its such a great location, so book if you can. The car journey on a normal day should take you just under an hour.

www.smugglersinnosmingtonmills.co.uk

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell