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Travel Guide: Dog and Family Friendly Dorset

Dog and family friendly Dorset, also fab for budding palaeontologists, gardeners, beach combers, nature lovers, history buffs and cream tea worshippers.

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Spring is the time we love to escape with our dogs, it’s quieter so dogs can enjoy running free on the beaches and when it’s cool enough can take a snooze back at the car while we take in a shop or two. Dog and family friendly Dorset has so much to offer for a spring or Easter break, with idyllic shores and plenty of dog friendly beaches. There are plenty of attractions that welcome dogs too, as well as great dog friendly accommodation and places to eat.

Walking the Jurassic Coast, Dorset. Durdle Door

Dog Friendly Days Out in Dorset

Cerne Abbas Giant is a must. I remember visiting this ancient naked figure sculpted into the chalk hillside as a kid. My brother and I thought the prospect of seeing a giant with his willy out carved in the hillside was hysterical, and I still get the giggles when I see it, combined with a more grown up awe-inspiring reverence for the people who made him and walked the earth before me, which was encouraged by my parents. Here’s a dog walk around the area.

Dog friendly Dorset attractions - Cerne Abbas Giant
Cerne Abbas Giant

Swanage Railway is a 12 mile return trip through beautiful Purbeck countryside, including stunning views of William the Conqueror’s Corfe Castle and landscapes that inspired literary giants Enid Blyton and Thomas Hardy. Dogs are welcome on board but must be kept on a lead and on the floor.

One of the first places Mr A and I holidayed was Dorset, I will always remember our trip to Corfe Castle, it managed to be both romantic and imposing. Lots for dogs and kids to explore here, including the ruined castle, a wildlife garden, fossil corner and giant games. They have tea rooms where dogs are welcome too.

Dog and family friendly Dorset
Corfe Castle

It’s always handy to have and indoor attraction that appeal to kids and allow dogs up your sleeve for rainy days. On the Dinosaur Museum‘s website it says dogs are welcome at the museum’s discretion – I take this to mean well behaved dogs. Dorset’s Jurrassic Coast, as discovered by famous fossil hunter Marie Anning, is the place for fossil enthusiasts and dino lovers and this museum in Dorchester has lots of hands-on activities.

If you’re looking for beautiful gardens to walk in, Exbury gardens has 20 miles of pathways and world-famous displays of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.

Another walk with mesmerizing views is the Blue Pool in Wareham. Famous for its colour changing waters, there are also steps up to fantastic views of the Purbeck Hills and the dog friendly Tea House offers lunches and cream teas.

Known to us as the yearly site of Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle and Park has spacious grounds and woodland walks. Great picnic spot or check out the tea rooms.

Dog Friendly Eating Out in Dorset

Bournemouth beach was voted UK’s number 1 Best Beach in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards 2018 and this coastal resort has something for everyone, including dogs. The Key West Bar and Grill on the pier has great views of the beach and a sun terrace.

If eating local is your thing try a stroll around the Bay at Kimmeridge followed by Clavell’s Restaurant with meat sourced from their very own Dorset family run farm.

If you are sightseeing along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, take a cliff top walk to the Old Harry Rocks and eat at The Bankes Arms, a traditional 16th century pub by the sea. Also close to Studland’s beautiful long sandy beaches. Seafood and fish a speciality.

For more ideas check out Visit Dorset’s dog friendly guide.

Dog Friendly Accommodation

Wyke Dorset Cottages have a great range of dog friendly accommodation. Rainbow Cottage is picture postcard, beautifully decorated, thatched cottage that sleeps 8.

Very different but also very Dorset too, is Hardown House, with its elevated position over Bridport, stunning sea views maximised by bifold doors leading onto a sun terrace with panoramic rural and sea views towards Golden Cap.

Dorset Dog and Family Friendly Accommodation
Hardown House

Ruth’s place sleeps four and is the perfect family cottage, located in the picturesque village of Charminster, just 2 miles from Dorchester, and 6 miles from Cerne Abbas, home of the National Trust’s Cerne Abbas Giant.

Thanks to Sam, who over on my facebook page mentioned Tyneham Village, evacuated during WW2 and deserted ever since. Do let me know in the comments what you have enjoyed with kids and/or dogs in Dorset!

Stock Photos from Shutterstock. Kevin Standage, Corfe Castle. Stocker1970, Durdle Door. Allou, Cerne Abbas.


1 Comment

  1. 15/03/2019 / 9:40 pm

    I’ve got friends visiting Dorset this summer with their family and their dog. I’ll have to send them this to help them with their planning

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