Visiting Dorset in the winter months will provide you with deserted beaches where only the sound of waves and the cries of the seagulls can disturb the beautiful scenery. That’s why it is an ideal time to head for the coast and recharge your batteries. Many attractions stay open throughout the year for all the family from leisure centres offering sports facilities and swimming pools to nature reserves and other sites of outstanding natural beauty waiting to be explored. Many beaches now have full dog access at this time of year, have a look at our guide to dog friendly beaches.
There are many hill forts in Dorset including Maiden Castle – situated 2 miles south of Dorchester. It is among the largest and most complex of Iron Age hill forts in Europe and its huge, multiple ramparts once protected several hundred residents. Information panels will guide you around the fort and its 4000 year history.
As the roads are quieter during winter it is easier to get around, so why not visit Cerne Abbas? Here you can see a huge figure of a man carved into the chalk hillside. Officially known as the Cerne Giant but nicknamed “the rude man of Cerne”, the figure is believed locally to be an ancient fertility symbol!
Enjoy a trip along the Jurassic Coast to visit West Dorset and scenes that have been made familiar by Broadchurch. Then take a walk along Chesil Beach where the pebbles near West Bay are smaller than those at the Portland end of the beach. This bit of local knowledge assisted smugglers in knowing where they had come ashore with their contraband in the dead of night!
Now for a family day out – visit Durlston Country Park which is located just one mile from Swanage where the whole family can have a great day out. At Durlston Castle there are many interactive displays, live wildlife cameras, a fossil room, and family-friendly exhibitions. Outside there are over 280 acres of countryside, which are full of exciting wildlife and lovely walks to Anvil Point Lighthouse.
For those of you who want to explore deeper, you can hire a Family Explorer Rucksack from the castle – these are jam-packed with fun activities for all the family along the Woodland Trail.