Summer Holiday Family Activities

View of Golden Cap - a great hill to climb....

View of Golden Cap – a great hill to climb…

Summer holidays are here and planning things to do that will make the summer holiday memorable is very important.

Working out what activities the family wants to do over your holiday can be a bit of a headache. Luckily, there are many things that can be enjoyed by the whole family which are fun and educational and importantly won’t break the bank!

The National Trust has devised a scheme and provided a list of “50 things to do before you are 11 3/4” (numbers will appear through this blog) which are great for people of all ages to enjoy. Here are some of the things that are on the list that I will be doing this summer – and trust me it is a long time since I was 11 3/4 !

Fossil Hunting on Charmouth Beach - Image courtesy of Charmouth Heritage Centre

Fossil Hunting on Charmouth Beach – Image courtesy of Charmouth Heritage Centre

Dorset is a coastal county and is fortunate to have the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site making up 95 miles of the coastline from Orcombe Point in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks in East Dorset. This changing coastline provides a great opportunity for many seaside activities including fossil hunting (number 26) – visit one of the visitor centres where you will be able to find out the best (and safest) ways to find your own fossil. Fossil hunting walks are available and can be booked directly through some of the centres.

Golden Cap is the highest point on the south coast of England and is certainly a “huge hill to climb” (number 28). From the top, there are spectacular views across Lyme Bay and on a clear day, you can see all the way to Dartmoor.

Flying a kite (number 7) at Eggardon Hill is great fun and you can get panoramic views of the countryside and the surrounding area – a kite festival was held here every year for over 20 years.

With so many beaches to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities to swim in the sea (number 42) and jump over waves (number 20). Great beaches to swim from include Lyme Regis, West Bay, Weymouth, Swanage and Studland. On beaches with an RNLI lifeguard it is recommended that you swim between the red and yellow flags.

Catching crabs (number 39) from the harbours in West Bay, Weymouth or Swanage is a great pastime for all the family. Intra-family contests to catch the most and the biggest crab abound and are great fun with the children, mum, dad, and grandparents all getting in on the action.

Rockpooling at Kimmeridge - what amazing things will you find?

Rockpooling at Kimmeridge –
what amazing things will you find?

The final thing on my list this summer is to “Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool” (number 37). There are six key places along the Dorset coast where this is a brilliant activity. From West to East the best locations are: Broad Ledge – Lyme Regis; Charmouth – West Beach; Osmington Mills – Ledges; Mupe Rocks; Kimmeridge and Red End Point – Studland Bay.

Planning the day out can be fun by using the Explorer maps from the Ordnance Survey, you can easily plan your own bespoke walk or bike ride. The latest, Explorer OL15 covering Purbeck and South Dorset, now has an app for your smartphone or tablet. So once you have planned your day and packed the picnic have a great and enjoyable time on the beaches and surrounding countryside of Dorset.

There are other ways to check out walks and activities that have already been “discovered” by other explorers in Dorset – making your planning a bit easier and also enabling you to check out the area from those who are already “in-the-know”.

iCoast and Visit Dorset are two great tools that are available online to assist with all sorts of days out, walks and events in and around Dorset this summer.