Our family absolutely loves to travel and explore new places. We made a last minute decision to explore as many of the things to do in Dorset as we could, over the course of a weekend. So we set about planning a budget friendly family getaway, in order to make the most of the glorious summer weather we’re finally having here in the UK.
If you are looking for things to do in Dorset or thinking of planning a short trip to the area, then hopefully our tips and travel review below will be a great source of inspiration!
The first thing to consider is where to base yourself in order to cover as much of Dorset as possible and to find somewhere that is clean and tidy, but budget friendly. You’ll want to save as much money as possible for days out and food and drink, so in our opinion your hotel choice will be very much just a ‘base’ to sleep, shower and relax after a long day of exciting adventures!
Where to stay in Dorset?
We chose to stay in the Bournemouth/Ferndown Premier Inn. This is located a short drive from Bournemouth beach and makes a great base to explore the Dorset area. The rooms are spacious, clean and tidy and there’s a private car park for guests. The staff are friendly, helpful and someone is always around to offer advice or assistance.
The beds are comfortable and everything is fresh and clean. You have free wifi and plenty of coffee and tea making facilities. The shower has great water pressure and was perfect after long sweaty days on the beach! There is also a Beefeater restaurant nearby so you can grab a drink or two, sat outside on a sunny day.
We made the most of the ‘all you can eat’ style breakfasts and filled up on cooked and continental breakfast treats before leaving each day. See the gallery below for a look at what we chose. This saved lots of money on food for the first half of the day. Big shout out to the absolutely amazing Beefeater staff members Debra and Ann who were so friendly and upbeat, no matter how early it was! They were literally the dream and made sure we felt really relaxed and always checked we had everything we needed.
Once you’ve filled your bellies for the day ahead, you’ll also spot a very conveniently located Lidl store next to this Premier Inn. We popped in and picked up super cheap bottles of water to keep in our bags – this was brilliant as it saved us buying expensive drinks on the beaches and sea fronts where they do like to hike the prices up! You could grab some bits and bobs for cheap picnic food too!
Things to do in Dorset
There is so much to do in the local area that you will be spoiled for choice. It’s impossible to do everything in one weekend, but if you’d like a little inspiration here are a few of the things we did.
Bournemouth beach and pier
We arrived at our Premier Inn quite early in the evening so we thought it would be lovely to drive to the beach and go for a paddle in the sea before we settled down for our first night! After a short drive from the hotel, we parked up by the sea front and headed down to the beach. The water is crystal clear and there were lots of people swimming and having fun. There were also so many people having a BBQ! That would be a great way to spend an evening too!
We took a walk along the pier and stopped for ice-cream and watched the sunset. There were a lot of people about so if you are hoping for a relaxing and tranquil vibe then this isn’t the place – but if you are looking for a fun and lively evening out with family and friends then this is absolutely perfect.
The Blue Pool
We had heard about this online and seen some pictures so we popped the address in the sat-nav and made our way there. After a fair bit of traffic (this was a sunny Saturday morning so the roads were quite busy) we found The Blue Pool easily and headed in to explore.
When you get inside the main area you instantly begin to feel calm and serene. With beautiful gardens, flowers and wildlife all around you – it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with coming here.
We didn’t have anything to eat at the tea room (everyone was still too full from breakfast!) but we popped inside and had a little drink. It wasn’t exactly busy and the staff looked as though they were already having the worst day ever so I’d say that perhaps a little more of a cheery vibe to the tearooms may have been appreciated. Following this we walked down to the first lookout point and onto the lake and oh my goodness – nothing prepares you for how beautiful and blue the water looks. It is absolutely stunning!
You can take a few different trails that lead you down by the waterside or into the woodland area and it makes for the perfect place to just wander, relax and re-charge your batteries. You’re surrounded by wildlife. Beautiful electric blue dragonflies filled the air and we saw lots of birds and even a little family of ducklings. After spending a wonderful few hours here we left feeling relaxed and ready to visit our next destination.
We hadn’t really googled Durdle Door properly before we left (big mistake!) we’d seen some lovely pictures and assumed that access was quite easy and straightforward. It turns out that because we’d arrived quite late in the afternoon we ended up in the overflow carpark. This doesn’t cost you any money but it is a little further out of the way. When we arrived at the beach itself, it was absolutely heaving with people and there was a 20 minute queue for refreshments (remember to take that picnic!) and a fairly steep hill you need to climb up and down to access the sea and Durdle Door viewpoint.
However, when you see how beautiful it is and how clear the sea looks it all suddenly becomes worth it! Just look at that crystal clear water and the beautiful rocks surrounding the beach. You could really make a wonderful full day out here for the whole family and it is one of the best things to do in Dorset. Just remember to come prepared. Take plenty of snacks, water, sunscreen and beach towels etc and you’ll be sure to have an amazing time!