*Please bear in mind you might have to pay for parking at some of these locations.
There’s a wonderful quote going around on social media that says ‘kids don’t remember their best day of television’. It really got me thinking. Most heart-warming memories from my childhood involve holidays, and days out with my family; but above all, simple visits to our local park with my cousins. We spent hours running around, making up games, pretending the trees were our houses while I tried to work out strategies to establish myself as the boss, and get my two male cousins to respect my authority. Sadly it never worked.
Joking aside, I want my kids to enjoy the same freedom I had and create many wonderful memories of days out in nature. But although we are spoilt for choice in Dorset when it comes to parks, nature walks and outdoor attractions, we often end up going back to the same places. We are an adventurous family but sometimes, it’s hard to remember the options available when you are also trying to squeeze in house cleaning, a bit of fitness, homework and food shopping.
So I asked the real experts, our lovely community of local families, which local parks and attractions they would recommend to other local families. Below are their top 10 answers:
The Sika Trail at Wareham Forest: You might even see a Sika Deer!
Arne Nature Reserve: A top favourite of local families where you may be able to spot UK’s native reptiles.
Bournemouth Gardens: ‘Walk from Coy Pond to Bournemouth’ ML Poole Mumbler Community.
Stour Valley Nature Reserve: Another family favourite. ‘Includes a two-mile stretch of riverside footpath, meadows, hedgerows and woodland’.
Upton Country Park:‘Now they have added a play area it’s the perfect day out’ NS Poole Mumbler Community.
Moors Valley Country Park and Forest:‘It’s just fantastic. We’ve had a season parking ticket there for years. Well worth it!’ SP Poole Mumbler Community.
Avon Heath Country Park: Another local favourite where families can follow the trail and finish off at the large play area.
The Walled Garden Moreton: A large area with beautiful gardens.
Slades Farm: Another family favourite, with a play trail for younger kids.
Lulworth Cove: A bit further away but an absolutely stunning area in Dorset. There’s a massive drop as you walk down to the beach from the car park, so keep an eye on little ones.
Let’s have fun! We’ve created a FREE fun sheet to help you plan your days out and get the kids excited! How quickly will you complete all boxes? Even if you’ve been before, it may be a nice reminder to go back this year. You can download it here.
We’d love to see your photos or fun sheets you’ve completed. Please tag us #poolemumbler in your photos.
This is only a small selection of our top picks. Please get in touch here if you’d like to add something to the list.