Attractions in Dorset




Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7ND

Knoll Gardens, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 7ND

Planted with thousands of grasses and flowering perennials, Wimborne’s Knoll Gardens is renowned for its naturalistic style. Enjoy the garden simply as a place of rest and relaxation or look a little deeper to discover its secrets: a beautiful year-round garden, which provides a flourishing environment for its plants and a welcoming habitat for wildlife.
Alongside its famed ornamental grasses, Knoll features an equally impressive collection of rare and unusual woody plants. This mini arboretum includes stunning Eucalyptus, as well as Willow oak, Ginkgo biloba and Silver Maple, providing an impressive year-round backdrop.
Award-winning nursery, volunteer guides most Friday mornings and a year-round event programme.

Gardens and Nursery Opening Times:
Tuesday – Saturday – 10.00am – 5.00pm (4.00pm November – March)
Last entry to garden 30 mins before closing.
Closed Sun and Mon, except Bank Holiday Mondays.
Closed from December 23rd 2016, re-opening February 1st 2017
(In periods of adverse weather the garden may be closed for safety reasons)

Admission to Gardens (free entry to Nursery):
Adult…£6.25
Concessions…£5.50
Child (age 5- 15)…£4.50
Disabled Person + Helper…£1.00 off for each appropriate category
Group Rate (minimum 12 people)…£5.00pp. £9.00 to include guided tour.
Personal tours by Garden owner, Neil Lucas also available.
Season ticket…£20.00
Pre-booked coach parties welcome.

Facilities:

  • Self service drinks
  • Toilets
  • Free car parking
  • Guide/hearing dogs
  • Picnics in car park
  • Garden accessible to those in a wheelchair with an able bodied helper.

Directions:
Knoll Gardens in Dorset is just under four miles east of Wimborne off the A31, and less than nine miles north of Bournemouth and Poole via the A348. Follow the brown direction signs from all major routes.

Pier Approach, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5AA

Oceanarium Bournemouth is home to hundreds of awesome creatures!

Waddle amongst playful penguins this Summer at the Oceanarium-

• New for 2015… Penguin Beach Encounter. Fall head over flippers in love with the newest residents and watch these playful personalities from above and below the water as they dip and dive in their new beach retreat! Plus other exciting new features include a jellyfish exhibit, sea view cafe terrace and kids’ play zone.

• Not forgetting the hundreds of other awesome creatures at the Oceanarium. Visitors can take an underwater journey through the waters of the world and come face to face with stunning sharks, rare green sea turtles, graceful stingrays, dwarf crocodiles, colourful clownfish and the adorable yet very mischievous Oriental small clawed otter family. Whatever the weather there’s so much to see and explore.

• Watch the water come alive with daily feeding presentations, and during the school holidays get up close in meet the creature sessions. Tickets are valid all day so you can enjoy them all!

The Oceanarium is open everyday (except Christmas Day)

Visit our website for ticket prices

www.oceanarium.co.uk

radipole

Map grid reference: SY671804

Visitor Centre is open daily 9am to 5pm (4pm in winter). The hide is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm. The Visitor Centre and hide are both closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Radipole Lake is a great place to come, whether you are new to wildlife watching or an experienced birdwatcher. There are well-known birds at the reserve such as house sparrows, finches and robins, alongside rare birds like the Cetti’s warbler and bittern. On a typical walk you can even see seven or eight different kinds of ducks.

There is plenty for families to do, with specially-created trails, bird events and, during the summer, family activities such as pond dipping and bug hunts.

Spring highlights

In spring, the air is filled with bird song as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. Flocks of swallows and martins gather over the water to feed on insects after their migration from Africa. Warblers also arrive, including grasshopper, willow and Cetti’s warblers, blackcaps, whitethroats and lesser whitethroats. The reed beds are full of singing sedge and reed warblers.

Summer highlights

In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Hobbies can be seen flying after small birds and dragonflies, which they catch with their feet then pass to their beaks while still flying. Flowering plants attract good numbers of butterflies, such as commas, painted ladies and peacocks.

Autumn highlights

Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds – some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. Bearded tits become easier to see, with family groups roaming the reed beds and making their distinctive ‘pinging’ call. As the water levels are lowered in preparation for winter reed cutting, the mud attracts wading birds such as dunlins, snipe, redshanks and lapwings.

Winter highlights

In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm. You may see a bittern if you are patient – they will fly up from the reeds occasionally to get to different feeding areas. During cold snaps, water rails become much easier to see as they must feed outside the frozen-up reed beds. There is a large roost of pied wagtails in Weymouth and the birds can often be seen at Radipole Lake before heading into town for the night.

Marsh Harriers

The first marsh harriers to breed in Dorset in almost 50 years successfully raised three chicks in 2009 at Radipole Lake. Being only 10 minutes’ walk from Weymouth town centre, these marsh harrier chicks are thought to be the most urban of their species to fledge in the British Isles. The arrival of the parents at the reserve was filmed for the BBC television programme Springwatch.

Facilities

  • information centre
  • shop
  • refreshments available
  • picnic area
  • pushchair friendly
  • wheelchair accessible
  • pay and display car park (not RSPB)
  • toilets, including disabled, in the car park (not RSPB)
  • binocular hire
  • group bookings accepted
  • guided walks available
  • dogs allowed on public footpaths and bridleways

Entrance fees

It is free to walk around the reserve. Fees are only charged for use of the hide.

The Ark, Poole Park, Poole, Dorset BH15 2SF

The Ark Poole Park in Dorset, UK is an all-weather family fun day out!

There are three levels of soft play with slides, tunnels and interactive zones (up to 11 years old) plus a dedicated soft play area for toddlers.

There is also an indoor ice rink for all ages and abilities.

The Ark in Poole Park has a spacious cafe with an outdoor terrace overlooking Swan Lake. It also has an ice cream parlour for cones, sundaes and more.

There is plenty of free car parking in Poole Park and at The Ark.

Disabled parking is available directly outside The Ark.

Weymouth Sea Life Tower

The Quay (behind The Pavilion Complex), Weymouth, Dorset

8.30am - 5.15pm week days

The spectacular Jurassic Skyline (formerly known as the Weymouth Sea Life Tower) opened for business in June 2012. Construction of the new £3.5 million landmark attraction took under nine months, from the start of foundation works to the completion of the ground level reception building. Designed by a German company, each of the five 11-ton steel sections of the Tower’s central column were built in Hungary. The base section sits on a concrete base buried several metres beneath the Festival Pier. The clear-fronted passenger gondola, which rotates gently around that column as it climbs to its highest point, was built in France.

As many as 69 people at a time can be carried aloft in the gondola, where on a clear day they may be able to see as far as the famous Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. Amazing views of the Purbeck Cliffs, Portland, Chesil Beach and Weymouth Bay are also assured, and the Tower’s ride operators will point out significant features like the scene of the discovery of the 155-million-year-old head of a marine dinosaur in 2003.

An admission charge applies and the ride lasts approximately 15 minutes. There is commentary on the Jurassic Skyline, and it is possible to purchase a 360° mini guide with Jurassic Coast information. Children under 14 years of age need to be accompanied by an adult. The Jurassic Skyline is accessible for disabled guests; however, it has the capacity for only one wheelchair per ride.

Sutton Poyntz Pumping Station, Sutton Poyntz, Weymouth, Dorset

In 2006, Sutton Poyntz Pumping Station celebrated 150 years of supplying water to Weymouth. Occupation of the site can be traced back 10,000 years and the museum describes how water has influenced life since that time. The museum also contains one of Dorset’s three Industrial Ancient Monuments. Admission is free but by appointment only.

3 Trinity Street, Weymouth, Dorset

This is one of Weymouth’s few remaining Tudor buildings and it is furnished in the style of an early 17th century middle class family home. Guided tours are available. The museum, which is run by Weymouth Civic Society, is open Tuesday to Friday afternoons between June and September and on the afternoon of the first Sunday of the month between October and May. Admission charges apply.

217 Wakeham, Portland, Dorset

Sunday to Thursday, 10.30am to 4.00pm

Portland Museum in Dorset, UK is located in Wakeham, above Church Ope Cove, which was the setting for Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘The Well Beloved’. Exhibitions cover shipwrecks, smuggling, fossils, the Royal Manor of Portland and Dr Marie Stopes – founder of the museum in 1930 and the pioneer of birth control.

There is an admission charge for adults but concessions apply and children under 5 may enter for free.

tolpuddlegrave

Tolpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset

The museum recounts the story of the six agricultural workers transported to Australia in 1834 after forming a trade union. Follow the Martyrs’ fate by taking an exciting voyage of discovery via the interactive multi-media screens. It is open on Tuesday to Saturday from April until October and Thursday to Saturday from November until March. It is also open on Bank Holiday Mondays but is closed for two weeks over Christmas/New Year. Admission is free.

keepmuseum

The Keep, Bridport Road, Dorchester, Dorset

The Keep is a modern military museum with computers and creative displays to tell the stories of courage, humour, tradition and sacrifice of those who served in the regiments of Devon and Dorset for over 300 years. The museum is open from April to September on Monday to Saturday and also on Sunday during July and August. From October to March it is open on Tuesday to Saturday. Admission fees are charged.

Bridge Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset

This museum is located in a beautiful building overlooking the sea and it tells the story of Lyme Regis through the use of award-winning displays about the history of Lyme Regis and the Cobb, its geology, fossils, literary connections and famous people. The museum is open daily from April to October, and at weekends and during school holidays from November to March. There is an admission charge for adults but concessions apply and accompanied children may enter for free.

gallery

High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset

Open daily from July to September and Mondays to Saturdays between October and June.

This museum has galleries on Dorset’s archaeology, wildlife, geology and local history brought to life with free audio guides, interactive displays and films. It contains dinosaur footprints, Roman mosaic flooring and a reconstruction of Thomas Hardy’s study. The museum is open daily from July to September and Mondays to Saturdays between October and June.

South Street, Bridport, Dorset

Discover Bridport’s unique history from the Romans to rope making by visiting the Bridport Museum, which is located in a beautiful Tudor building. It is open from Monday to Saturday between April and October. There is an admission charge for adults and a small charge for unaccompanied children; accompanied children may enter for free.

Whitcombe Road, Beaminster, Dorset

Beaminster Museum is housed in the old Congregational Chapel and its displays explain the history of the town and the surrounding villages. Exhibitions also cover the archaeology and agriculture of Beaminster as well as the people who lived there. The museum is open from April to the end of September on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. There is a small admission charge for adults; concessions apply and entry for children is free.

sturminstermill

Sturminster Newton, Dorset

This is a small, local museum located in a former Workhouse Chapel, which contains memorabilia from the old railway, creamery and livestock market. A working mill still grinds flour using a 1904 turbine and special Milling Days and events are held throughout the season. It is open from Easter until the end of September. A small admission fee is charged for entry to the mill but the museum is free.