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31 of the perfect issues to do in Bournemouth with children

With its lengthy golden sand seaside and string of household points of interest, it’s no surprise that so many holidays are booked in Bournemouth with children.

The golden beach and blue-green seas along the Dorset coast at Middle Chine between Poole and Bournemouth - the seven miles of sand are unmissable if you're looking for things to do in Bournemouth with kids

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I’ve visited Bournemouth and neighbouring Poole with my daughter various instances, each when the solar’s shining and out of peak season in early Spring and late Autumn, and we’ve by no means been bored but.

So when you’re searching for a household vacation by the seaside, right here’s my decide of the perfect issues to do in Bournemouth with children, in addition to concepts for Poole and simple day journeys.

Hit the seaside 

With a formidable seven miles of award-winning seashores, no journey to Bournemouth with children is full with out a while on the seaside.

If it’s not the climate to paddle, there’s a promenade alongside the again of the seaside and you may stroll right down to Poole and Sandbanks past, in addition to right down to Hengistbury Head, or wander alongside the cliff path for a part of the best way (be careful for the goats on the cliffs!)

When the solar is shining, you’ll discover a few of the warmest sea temperatures within the UK, and on a transparent day you possibly can see out to the Isle of Wight in addition to Outdated Harry Rocks.

Made up of a string of seashores, they do all merge into the opposite, so that you’ll discover Blue Flag seashores, dog-friendly seashores, loads of house for sandcastles, in addition to individuals having fun with watersports alongside right here.

You possibly can rent a seaside hut when you fancy, and in the course of the summer season months, the Allianz KidZone seaside security scheme makes positive any misplaced kids (and weak adults) are rapidly reunited with their households or guardians. Runs from July 14-September 3.

For concepts of learn how to entertain children on the seaside, try my publish of the perfect seaside actions

View of Bournemouth pier at sunrise, seen across the sand and waves - a visit is one of the fun things to do in Bournemouth with kids

Wander alongside Bournemouth Pier

Whilst you’re having fun with the seaside, head down for a stroll alongside Bournemouth Pier – it’s free low season, or there’s a small charge throughout the principle season.

Initially opened within the nineteenth century, nowadays the pier is dwelling to a big arcade with video games, a number of retailers promoting souvenirs, solar hats, ice cream and extra, plus the Rock Reef exercise centre (learn on for extra about that).

There are additionally a few eating places, the place you possibly can loosen up with a drink or one thing to eat and benefit from the views out throughout the ocean. Or the Oceanarium can be subsequent to the pier, so it’s straightforward to mix the 2.

The Oceanarium, Bournemouth

On the different finish of the county, you possibly can uncover penguins and sea turtles, together with dwarf crocodiles and otters (plus large numbers of fish, in fact) on the 12 themed environments of The Oceanarium in Bournemouth.

Take a look at my Bournemouth Oceanarium assessment after our personal go to throughout a really wet day in Bournemouth with children

There’s an Journey Quiz Path to finish, whereas children can measure themselves in opposition to a penguin (in addition to watching them waddle).

Preserve an eye fixed out on the day’s actions for talks and feeding instances, with an opportunity to see otters, penguins and sharks getting fed. Plus there are particular animal experiences so as to add some VIP enjoyable to your go to.

A brightly coloured Picasso triggerfish swimming above rocks at the aquarium in Bournemouth, Dorset - my Bournemouth Oceanarium review

Rock Reef, Bournemouth

Whether or not you’re visiting Bournemouth in the summertime or on a wet day, there’s one thing to entertain everybody at Rock Reef.

The exercise centre on the top of the pier is right for adventurous children. Older children may even fly over the waves (and make imagine you’re going to maintain going below) with the RockReef Pierzip Line.

Operating from a 25m excessive platform, you pace the 250 metres right down to the seaside in 30 seconds – and because it’s a twin zipwire, you possibly can race a buddy down. Appropriate for youths over 1.3m.

You possibly can purchase tickets with free cancellation right here

Deliberate to spend the day at Bournemouth Seaside however bought caught out by the rain? The adrenaline-fuelled journey centre additionally has 28 themed indoor climbing partitions with completely different levels of problem for youths 4 and above (and adults too, in fact).

There’s additionally a vertical drop slide, a excessive ropes aerial impediment course, and an indoor caving expertise to attempt.

Purchase tickets with free cancellation right here, plus an choice to order now, pay later

Blonde-haired girl on a climbing wall - there are several leisure centres to try this in Dorset on a rainy day

Bournemouth Aviation Museum

In case your children love all issues transport, Dorset can be dwelling to the Bournemouth Aviation Museum the place you possibly can sit contained in the cockpit of quite a lot of planes and helicopters, in addition to getting palms on with a few of the interactive shows, to not point out a flight simulator.

As an added bonus, it’s close to the airport for some added airplane recognizing! It’s value understanding that the plane are all outdoor, so the museum does often shut in very dangerous climate, notably if there are excessive winds – greatest for a drizzly day when you possibly can sprint from one airplane to a different.

For extra concepts of the perfect issues to do in Dorset with children, try my prime picks

Metropolis Sightseeing Bournemouth open-top bus

Hop-on hop-off bus excursions could be an effective way to discover with children, as a extra scenic means of getting from A to B or to absorb a few of the highlights in a single journey.

The Metropolis Sightseeing open-top double deckers depart from Bournemouth Pier and Poole Quay, travelling across the Sandbanks peninsula in addition to Poole Quay.

You possibly can select 24h and 48h tickets, and the entire loop takes round 90 minutes.

Mr Mulligan’s Bournemouth

This loopy golf course is really out of this world – and because the intergalactic course (assume house invaders fairly than sci-fi) at Mr Mulligan’s is all indoors, it’s an incredible choice for wet days in Dorset.

Enable round an hour for the 18-hole course (relying on the variety of gamers) which sees you attempt to putt previous aliens and spaceships. Over-18s solely after 8.45pm however in any other case households are welcome to tackle the problem.

Smugglers Cove journey golf

You’re spoiled for alternative on the subject of journey golf in Bournemouth – Smugglers Cove is one other 18-hold mini golf course themed across the city’s smuggling historical past.

You’ll end up attempting to get previous obstacles together with treacherous rocks, waterfalls and church ruins, amongst different challenges as you battle your loved ones for {the golfing} crown.

Excellent for mini pirates, though it does shut over the winter months. Might the perfect smuggler win!

Mini Golf yellow ball with club by a hole on an adventure golf course with blue skies in the background - there are several to choose from in Bournemouth with kids

Go to the Upside Down Home

Flip your world the other way up and get some implausible enjoyable images as a memento of your Bournemouth journey on the Upside Down Home.

One in every of many throughout the nation, every is designed barely in a different way, however at all times to allow you to seize some surreal photographs, whether or not you appear to be hanging from the ceiling or holding a mattress above your head.

Discover it close to the Vacationer Data Centre and the Pavilion.

Journey Wonderland, Bournemouth

Reopening Spring 2024 after renovations

This Dorset theme park is themed round Alice in Wonderland, and has been named one in all Dorset’s prime household points of interest – in addition to rides, there’s a maze, the Wild Factor indoor play, gentle play and different actions, all aimed toward households with kids aged 3 to 10.

There are some minimal peak restrictions (and some most heights!) however Journey Wonderland is a superb choice with children of various ages.

Alum Chine Tropical Gardens

Transport your self to the tropics with a wander via the free Alum Chine Tropical gardens – with the seaside within the distance and the solar shining, it’s straightforward to imagine you’ve left Dorset behind.

Relationship again to the Nineteen Twenties, the paths weave round palm timber and flowering crops, with benches to cease and take in the views.

Alum Chine tropical gardens above the beach at Bournemouth on a slightly cloudy day - one of the places to visit in Bournemouth with kids

They’re straightforward to succeed in from the Blue Flag seaside under, and there’s additionally a Treasure Island-themed play space close by if children fancy one thing extra energetic than a mild stroll.

By the way, when you’re questioning what a ‘chine’ is, it’s a steep dry river valley – you’ll discover 4 inside Bournemouth, typically now with paths and stairs main between the seaside and the cliffs.

Go to a play cafe

Whereas there’s gentle play to take pleasure in in Bournemouth as in most cities, you’ve additionally bought one other alternative of enjoyable days out for toddlers and preschoolers, at one of many play cafes.

With position play in addition to instructional toys (though they’ll be having far an excessive amount of enjoyable to understand they’re studying), it makes an incredible choice with youthful children – plus an opportunity for fogeys to loosen up.

Children Play Cafe is aimed toward kids aged 0-6, with two areas together with one in Charminster, a brief drive from Bournemouth seaside, with the emphasis on studying via play in some enjoyable fantasy settings in addition to actual life ones.

Wild Ones play cafe in Kinson is for barely youthful children, aimed toward ages 0-4. Taking them on an journey into the forest, it’s additionally a brief drive exterior Bournemouth metropolis centre, however nicely value testing.

Or Cosy Village Position Play Cafe is designed for youths aged 0-5, very near Wild Ones play cafe in Kinson, with a number of on a regular basis settings for little ones to position play.

Young girl in a ball pit at the bottom of a toy slide - you'll find similar fun at the various different soft play in Bournemouth with kids

Oasis Enjoyable Indoor Centre, Bournemouth

Oasis Enjoyable Bournemouth is the last word rainy-day vacation spot in Bournemouth with children of all ages. 

The big indoor play centre has greater than sufficient to do to maintain kids and youths occupied for hours, together with a spacious gentle play space for little ones, 6 bowling alleys, an journey golf course, arcade video games, pool tables, and a restaurant.

The number of actions makes Oasis Enjoyable an incredible spot you probably have kids with completely different pursuits too, as everybody can discover one thing to entertain them in the course of the day, and with the most effective gentle play areas in Dorset, it’s a should with toddlers.

Attempt an Escape Room

An escape room is at all times a implausible indoor household exercise, particularly if it’s pouring exterior, notably with older children and youths. You possibly can check your loved ones’s teamwork expertise as you race to seek out clues, remedy puzzles, and try to flee the room earlier than the time runs out. 

There are some nice escape rooms in Bournemouth, together with Marvo Mysteries and the Lockey.

For extra concepts of the perfect issues to do in Dorset within the rain with children, try my prime picks

Centre VR Bournemouth 

Centre VR Bournemouth is the biggest VR Centre within the UK and has one of many largest alternatives of video games and titles in all of Europe. 

The indoor centre has an enormous number of multiplayer VR experiences that the entire household can take pleasure in, from capturing zombies or defending Mars from assault to enjoying a digital sport of loopy golf or laser tag collectively.

Whereas there isn’t any strict age restrict, the centre means that VR is barely appropriate for youngsters above 7 years, whereas some video games are greatest for these 12+.

The beach and sand dunes at Hengistbury Head near Bournemouth in Dorset

Hengistbury Head Customer Centre

Though Hengistbury Head isn’t in Bournemouth itself, it’s so shut (round quarter-hour by automobile), that it ought to undoubtedly be in your record of issues to do in Bournemouth with children.

The right place to go to to find extra in regards to the space’s wildlife and geology, the Hengistbury Head Customer Centre is stuffed with interactive shows and makes an incredible start line when you’re planning to move to Dorset’s nature reserves or go fossil looking.

You too can discover the character reserve across the centre, and hop on the little land practice for some nice views of Christchurch harbour (the land practice doesn’t run throughout winter months).

Issues to do in Poole with children

Whereas Poole and Bournemouth are separate cities, they’re so shut to one another – you possibly can stroll from Bournemouth Seaside to Poole Seaside with out an excessive amount of effort – that something in Poole is well accessible from Bournemouth too.

Metropolis Cruises Poole

If you wish to get out on the water, there are a string of boat excursions and cruises working from Poole Quay, together with a 70-minute jaunt across the harbour previous Brownsea Island, Sandbanks Peninsula and Studland Bay.

View from the sea to the white rock stacks of Old Harry Rocks on a boat trip from Poole Harbour along the Jurassic coast - one of the best things to do if you're staying in Bournemouth with kids

Take a look at my video of our cruise from Poole with Metropolis Cruises

Or you possibly can head alongside the Jurassic coast on round cruises from Poole or Swanage, in addition to hopping on a ship for day journeys from Poole to Swanage (or vice versa).

There are additionally mixed tickets with Swanage railway and the Metropolis Sightseeing Bournemouth open-top bus teamed with a cruise.

Splashdown, Poole

In the event you’re searching for one thing enjoyable to do on a wet day in Dorset with children, why not make getting drenched enjoyable with a go to to Splashdown waterpark in Poole.

Nice whether or not you’re visiting Dorset with toddlers or older children, there’s the Ricky’s Reef for youthful ones, Buccaneers’ SplashZone for below 8s  and 13 flumes starting from light to high-speed thrills, and slides that includes black holes.

Some do enterprise outdoor however you’ll largely be inside. There’s a minimal peak restriction of 1m. Children can’t go on the slides with dad and mom. Tickets should be prebooked.

Boy emerging from a green and orange waterslide and splashing into the water - Splashdown in Poole has a string of slides and other fun for kids on a rainy day in Dorset

Flip Out Poole

Flip Out Poole is Dorset’s greatest indoor journey park, with loads of all-weather enjoyable for households.

Situated contained in the Dolphin Purchasing Centre in Poole, the thrilling journey park contains actions similar to interactive soccer, laser tag, bumper automobiles, a battle cannon space, a curler skating rink, arcade video games, and a gentle play space for toddlers.

You possibly can e book a 2 or 3 hour expertise which will get you limitless entry to all the park’s actions. The park is open to children of all ages, however some actions do have a peak or age restrict, so be sure that to test prematurely.

In contrast to loads of different Flip Out areas, it’s value understanding there aren’t any trampolines at Flip Out Poole.

Madness Gaming Arcade, Poole

Madness Arcade is a household pleasant retro gaming arcade in Poole, with over 60 traditional arcade video games and gaming consoles for all children and adults of all ages to take pleasure in. 

You’ll discover every part from Guitar Hero and Road Fighter to Mario Karts, Sonic the Hedgehog, and extra, so you possibly can share a few of your favorite childhood video games together with your little ones. 

Relatively than utilizing the usual token system, the arcade costs a per-hour entry charge which will get you limitless free use of all the video games and machines. There’s additionally an on-site bar and grill to seize lunch when you’re carried out gaming, making Madness the proper rainy-day exercise in Dorset for households.

Upton Nation Park, close to Poole

A grand mansion sits on the coronary heart of Upton Nation Park, simply exterior Poole, but it surely’s the woodlands that are most tempting for youths. (the home does open on Sundays and financial institution holidays for many of the 12 months when you fancy peeking inside although).

There’s a nice play space made utilizing pure wooden, or when you’re visiting in summer season (or typically throughout surprising heatwaves), a splash fountain to assist cool off within the Walled Backyard.

The cycle routes additionally type a part of the Castleman Trailway, the outdated Southampton to Dorchester railway line was a mild 16.5 mile biking and strolling path.

The golden sands of Shipstal beach border the Arne Heathland in Dorset, near RSPB Arne - a lovely day out from Poole or Bournemouth with kids


This beautiful nature reserve overlooking Poole Harbour is a superb place to discover with nature-loving children, in addition to infants and toddlers – there are buggy-friendly paths as you seek for wildlife, together with a low ropes course for barely older children.

It’s the one place the place all six of the UK’s native reptiles could be discovered, plus birds galore, and there are sometimes kids’s trails throughout holidays that can assist you discover the heathland and historic woodland.

It’s additionally very near Shipstal seaside if you would like some coast together with your countryside.

Day journeys from Bournemouth with children

Go to Brownsea Island

For extra native animals, take a ferry from Poole or Sandbanks over to Brownsea Island, dwelling to endangered purple squirrels – good for youths to scurry round as nicely.

My daughter walks along a path through the heathland under a clear blue sky during a day out on Brownsea Island with kids

Well-known too because the birthplace of Scouting, there are particular calming walks if you wish to wind down plus a household squirrel path and different actions like den constructing.

Take a look at my assessment of a day exploring Brownsea Island with children

Corfe Citadel

Hint a thousand years of historical past on the now ruined Corfe Citadel – not least the actual fact it impressed Kirrin Citadel within the Well-known 5 books.

With its homicide holes, secret locations and tales of treachery and treason, to not point out hearsay of royal dying and its place within the Civil Struggle, it’s good to let imaginations run wild.

Take a look at my assessment of a time out at Corfe Citadel with children

View from Corfe up to the ruins of the castle on its hill over The Greyhound pub - things to do during a day out from Bournemouth with kids at Corfe Castle

Swanage Railway 

This beautiful heritage steam railway chuffs via the countryside alongside the outdated Southern Railway line between Swanage and Norden, stopping on the ruins of Corfe Citadel – so you too can use it as a extra uncommon method to get from A to B as nicely.

Look out for the providers marked with an ‘O’ when the particular Statement Automobile can be working, with its large home windows for the perfect views, in addition to particular themed providers on the Swanage Railway year-round.

Norden is the closest station to Bournemouth if you wish to reduce down on time within the automobile.

Corfe Citadel Mannequin Village

In the event you’re planning a go to to the ruins of Corfe Citadel (and even when you’re not), you possibly can transport your self again to the times when the fortress’s partitions nonetheless stood, in 1646 earlier than it was destroyed within the Civil Struggle.

Corfe Citadel mannequin village exhibits individuals visiting the church, standing by the moat and usually getting on with life within the village, whereas there may be additionally a fairy backyard, life-size Civil Struggle troopers on guard plus different actions for households (and dealing shares if anybody misbehaves).

English model village showing a pub and old-fashioned cars -Corfe Castle model village is a great option for a day out from Bournemouth with kids

Kingston Lacy

This lovely English nation home has a much more dramatic historical past than the elegant façade would possibly counsel – remodelled to seem like a Venetian palace, its former proprietor was additionally a famend Egyptologist so you possibly can see the biggest personal assortment of historic Egyptian artefacts at Kingston Lacy too.

House to paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel, it has additionally been known as the South West’s ‘nationwide gallery’, whereas the massive property is dwelling to Iron Age hill forts, the world’s oldest pedigree herd of Ruby Crimson Devon cattle, and gardens so spectacular that Queen Victoria despatched her gardeners right here to get inspiration.

There’s a woodland path and walks galore, plus an illuminated path in winter known as Ignite. Timed tickets should be prebooked and restricted numbers allowed in the home.

Highcliffe Citadel, Christchurch

Highcliffe Citadel was constructed within the 1830s and has performed host to royalty over time – however with children’ trails and a few spectacular rooms to find, it’s additionally an incredible place to go to with household in Dorset.

In addition to the formal gardens and woodlands within the grounds, there’s additionally a seaside and nature reserve to discover – plus some enjoyable on-line actions to maintain the go to going when you get dwelling. You’re really helpful to prebook tickets, with restricted numbers allowed inside the home itself.

Moors Valley Nation Park

On the border of Hampshire and Dorset, Moors Valley Nation Park makes one other excellent spot to get outdoor with children – and there’s an added draw for households.

As a result of lurking within the nation park is a fearsome monster, with a toxic wart on the top of his nostril and purple prickles throughout his again.

One of many areas for the string of Forestry England Julia Donaldson trails, it’s nonetheless dwelling to each a Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Baby, alongside the youngsters’s Play Path, in addition to different household trails.

Plus, in fact, loads of locations to stroll, cycle or watch the surroundings from a slim gauge steam practice – together with a extra adrenaline-fuelled choice on the Go Ape Junior Excessive ropes course, for anybody who fancies themselves the scariest creature within the wooden.

A Grandpa Pig statue at Peppa Pig World in Paulton's Park - Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World is an easy day trip from Bournemouth with kids

Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World

In the event you’re a mum or dad, likelihood is you’ll already know of Hampshire’s prime theme park – as Paultons Park is the house of Peppa Pig World. However in addition to the light rides and probability to satisfy Peppa and George when you’re visiting Hampshire with a toddler, there’s a lot extra heart-racing enjoyable.

The household theme park has greater than 70 rides, acres of grounds and animals to satisfy, in addition to a number of themed areas: Misplaced Kingdom is all about dinosaurs, whereas Critter Creek is nice for youthful ones, so there’s one thing for older and taller children who need some adrenaline thrills in addition to much less scary choices.

Add in playgrounds, a discovery path and different occasions and exhibits, and it’s very straightforward to fill your time out – no shock this is without doubt one of the prime household points of interest in Hampshire.

Take a look at my suggestions for visiting Peppa Pig World

Discover the New Forest

One of many loveliest spots in England, the New Forest Nationwide Park is filled with fairly villages, beautiful walks and most excitingly for small children, ponies which roam freely – to not point out a number of donkeys.

My daughter looks at some of the ponies on the heathland during a visit to the New Forest with kids

In the event you’re exploring the New Forest, the probabilities are you’ll see some alongside the best way however an excellent place to identify them is close to Brockenhurst, round Beachern Wooden.

Discovering them is an efficient excuse to set out on a stroll or a cycle journey. From Brockenhurst, there’s an off-road path to Financial institution, or we cycled from close by Beaulieu to Bucklers Onerous on the waterfront. You too can go canoeing on the river, in addition to discovering a few of the household points of interest within the New Forest.

For extra issues to do within the New Forest with children, try my prime picks

Disclosure: This publish incorporates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee

Oceanarium/Alum Chine/Outdated Harry Rocks/Brownsea Island/Corfe Citadel/Peppa Pig World/New Forest copyright MummyTravels, all different photos courtesy of Depositphotos


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