Abbotsbury Swannery

swans Coastal nature reserve and World Heritage site, located on the edge of Chesil Beach. The Swannery is home to a flock of over 1000 mute swans who have lived there for over 600 years. Benedictine monks once farmed them for the table but today they are protected. Don't miss the daily feeding times at noon and 4pm and the audio-visual show. Note: Newly hatched swan cygnets can be seen from mid may to the end of June.

Opening times: Mar to Oct, daily 10am to 6pm Admission Charge
Location: New Barn Rd, Abbotsbury, Dorset, DT3 4JG - Tel: 01305 871858 - Website
Facilities: parking, licensed restaurant, gift shop, children's play area


Bournemouth Oceanarium

clown fish Discover the secrets of the world's great oceans and experience a vast array of sea creatures such as seahorses, clownfish, crocodiles & sharks.

Opening times: all year, daily from 10am (closed Xmas) Admission Charge
Location: Pier Approach, West Beach, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5AA
Tel: 01202 311993 - Website
Facilities: refreshments, shop

Brownsea Island

The largest of the islands in Poole Harbour. It was once the home of the first camp of the Boy Scout movement in 1907. The island is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public. It has areas of woodland and heath, supporting a wide variety of wildlife, including the elusive British red squirrel.

Access by charter boat, from Sandbanks jetty, Poole Harbour.

 

 

Opening times: Mar~Oct, daily from 10am Admission Charge
Location: Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7EE - Tel: 01202 707744 - Website
Facilities: audio guides, gift shop

Cerne Abbas Giant

An 180 foot tall chalk figure cut in the hillside during the Roman occupation, or earlier. Local legend says it is outline of a real giant who had killed some sheep in Blackmoor, having eaten them he then laid down to sleep. The local people, furious at the slaughter and finding him fast asleep, killed him on the spot and traced out his shape on the hillside as a memorial. He is also believed by many to have been a fertility symbol.

Opening times: any reasonable time Free Access
Location: Cerne Abbas, Dorset, DT2 7AL (follow the sign-posted footpath from Cerne Abbas village).
Facilities: Free parking in A352 lay-by. .

Chesil Beach (Bank)

A 12 mile long stretch of shingle reef running from Bridport to Portland, holding-in a long salt water lagoon. It is part of the Jurassic Coastline and an ideal location for fossil hunters.

Cranborne Chase

A wooded chalk plateau that forms part of the 'English Chalk Formation', adjacent to Salisbury Plain. Named after the Saxon village of Cranborne. The area was frequented by royalty; the word "chase" relates to the royal hunts which took place on the downs. Today the area is open to the public and has over 900 miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways.


Monkey World

monkey in tree Monkey sanctuary for over 160 primates in a woodland setting. The sanctuary is home to a large group of chimps, orangutans, gibbons, woolly monkeys, lemurs, macaques and marmosets. Regular keeper talks provided.

Opening times: daily from 10am Admission Charge
Location: Longthorns, Wool, Dorset, BH20 6HH - Tel: 01929 462537 - Website
Facilities: parking, cafe, restaurant, gift shop, children's play area

Purbeck Hills

Located in south-east Dorset near Bournemouth, they form part of the southern England Chalk Formation that also includes Salisbury Plain and the South Downs. The area supports a number of Iron Age, Roman and Saxon archaeological sites.

RSPB Nature Reserve Radipole Lake

Large bird reserve with extensive nature trails and bird hides. Regular activities provided such as pond dipping and bug hunts.

Opening times: daily, 9am to 5pm (4pm winter) Free Entry (donations welcome)
Location: Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 7TZ - Tel: 01305 778313 - Website
Facilities: parking (charged), gift shop.

Sea Life Adventure Park & Marine Sanctuary

A popular all weather attraction set in a seven acre park, where you can see penguins, otters, seals and other marine mammals.

Opening times: all year, daily from 10am (closed Xmas) Admission Charge
Location: Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 7SX - Tel: 01305 788255 - Website
Facilities: parking (charged), cafe, gift shop.

Other Places to Visit in Dorset

Attractions & Theme Parks:
Adventure Wonderland | Farmer Palmer's Farm Park | Go Ape | Swanage Railway | Tank Museum
Castles, Museums & Heritage Sites:
Christchurch Castle | Corfe Castle | Hambledon Hill | Lulworth Castle | Maiden Castle | Portland Castle | Royal Signals Museum | Sherborne Castle | Sherborne Old Castle | Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum
Gardens & Historic Houses:
Athelhampton Hall | Clouds Hill | Compton Acres Gardens | Hardy's Cottage | Kingston Lacy | Knoll Gardens | Mapperton | Minterne Gardens | Red House Museum
Nature, Wildlife & Scenic Sites:
Abbotsbury Swannery | Bournemouth Oceanarium | Cerne Abbas Giant | Chesil Beach | Cranborne Chase | Monkey World | Purbeck Hills | Radipole Lake | Sea Life

Select Another Region To Visit

Britian Regions

Towns and Villages in Dorset

Abbotsbury, Bournemouth, Dorchester, Lulworth, Lyme Regis, Poole, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Swanage, Weymouth

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Please note that the above information was accurate at the time this page was last updated. This information is subject to change at any time (opening times in particular), therefore if you plan on visiting any of the above attractions, please check the owner's website first or phone them for the latest details.

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