Avon Tyrrell Outdoor Activity Centre, Bransgore, Christchurch BH23 8EE.
Avon Tyrrell is a leading outdoor learning venue dedicated to the continuous development of young people. Activity Centre, in the New Forest National Park. It offers something for everyone, from animal orienteering, archery, art outdoors, coding and much more.
For more details contact 01425 672347.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is blessed with some of the most beautiful sandy beaches and stunning scenery you’ll ever see. A great all weather FREE attraction for the entire family but they can get very busy during the summer months. Although most beaches have parking facilities, it can be tricky to find a space during busy times; your best chance is to arrive early, or use public transport.
Most beaches are doggy friendly, but restrictions may apply on main areas during busy times.
Cycling on the promenade is restricted at certain times during busy months.
Beach huts can be hired directly with BCP Council or privately. These can be very useful for families who plan to visit the beach several times in the same week, because you can leave your belongings locked up in the hut. Some huts even have cooking facilities!
A beach resort situated in Christchurch on a 1/4 mile long section of beach. Facilities including cafe, shop, beach huts and a variety of beach and sports equipment available for hire. Great for families with small children and people with disabilities or mobility problems because it has its own beach level car park (Avon Beach Car Park).
Address: Mudeford, BH23 4AN.
This beach is a ‘Mumbler Must’ and our family favourite by far. With easy pay and display parking, some free street parking within a short walk, large play area suitable for toddlers and young children, public toilet facilities and restaurants and food kiosks around. Also great public transport facilities.
Address: Alum Chine, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH4 8HS.
Branksome offers a large pay and display car park, including disabled spaces. Also toilet facilities, restaurant and shop. Good disabled access and a safe swim zone.
Address: Pinecliff Road, Poole, BH13 6LP.
Very near to Branksome Chine, this beach is perfect for dog owners as there are no restrictions at any time in the year. There are parking facilities available as well as small shops where you can buy ice creams and snacks.
Address: Pinewood Road, BH13 6JP.
Boscombe’s gentle shelving beach, convenient facilities and activities on offer makes it a perfect family day out. There is an eco-friendly mini golf and kiosks and you can hire sun beds, deck chairs, windbreaks and parasols. Parking is available at Undercliff Drive or the small visitors car park near Boscombe Pier. Alternatively, you can use the new Park & Ride service which operates on the summer weekends or hop on the Land Train (April to October)
Address: Sea Road, BH5 1BN.
Bournemouth Beach is hugely popular for 2 reasons – it is right in the centre of town and it’s a great beach – clean, safe and it sometimes even has surf! Toilets are al over the promenade and there are plenty of carparks around. You can even have BBQ’s in the evening down the beach.
Address: Pier Approach, BH2 5AA.
Canford Cliffs Beach
Another fantastic option for families with children, as there’s a large play park only a short walk away. The beach is very close to Canford Cliffs village, where you can find plenty of pay and display, and road parking. Public toilets available and pubs within a short walk. To reach the beach you must walk down a steep heel, so access might be tricky. However, it’s possible to take pushchairs. This is definitely a ‘Mumbler Must’.
Address: Cliff Road, BH13 7HX.
Award winning Durley Chine Beach this golden sandy beach is clean, safe and has all the facilities you’d expect. There are toilets with baby changing facilities, lost children centres, pubs and ice cream kiosks, making it ideal for family days out. It also has many beach huts to rent all year round!
Address: Durley Chine, BH2 5JF.
Fisherman’s Walk is a popular spot for water sports and not quite as packed as the other town beaches. Situated between Southbourne and Boscombe, Fisherman’s Walk is a part-sand, part-shingle blue-flag beach. There are brand new BBQ facilities and free parking available on the road at the top of the cliffs, as well as a crazy golf course and a children’s playground.
Address: Boscombe Overcliff Drive, BH5 2EJ.
Friars Cliff Beach
Shingle and sand beaches ideal for families. Magnificent views of the Isle of Wight and Christchurch Bay. A short walk from the cliff top nature reserve at Steamer Point. Mostly designated for bathing with a water sports area in front of the concrete wave wall at the eastern end of the beach. Parking a short walk away from cliff top at Steamer Point Car Park or Avon Run Road Car Park. Toilets up steps near the Beach Hut Cafe. Open when cafe is open.
Address: Penny Way, BH23 4EP.
A quieter beach with fewer facilities. Public toilets available but closed during the winter months.
Address: Off Haven Road, BH13 7LP.
Dubbed Dorset’s first or last beach depending on how you look at it! Shingle and sand beaches ideal for bodyboarding and bathing, plus numerous promenades and cliffside paths to explore. A Café with toilet and changing room facilities is on the cliff top next to the Highcliff Top Carpark.
Address: Wharncliffe Road, BH23 5DE.
Most definitely a ‘Mumbler Must’. Easy pay and display parking on site, as well as road parking nearby. Very large play area and best of all, paddling pool during the hot months. Pushchair access to the beach isn’t possible, so many families take a small UV tent with them, a packed lunch and place themselves at the park. Then beach can be access by foot. Public toilets and shops selling snacks available.
Address: Lulworth Avenue, BH15 4DQ.
Although it has very few facilities, it is a great option for dog owners, as there are no restrictions. Pay and display car park nearby and public toilets. Also a nature reserve and the opportunity for fishing.
Address: Lake Drive, Poole, BH15 4LR.
Manor Steps Beach
The sandy Manor Steps beach, to the east of Boscombe Pier is one of the quieter beaches in the Bournemouth area. There is also “fish-friendly” mini-golf, with biodegradable golf balls which are fed to the fish. There are plenty of good facilities nearby, including a number of restaurants.
Address: Boscombe Overcliff Drive, BH5 1FH.
Mudeford Sandbank Beach
A unique and beautiful sand spit which adjoins the ancient headland of Hengistbury Head and forms a natural barrier between Christchurch Harbour and the open sea. Nearest car park is at Mudeford Quay, however you’ll need to catch a passenger ferry across to the beach. Alternative parking at Hengistbury Head Car Park with a 1 mile, level walk. There are 5 toilet location, one with hot showers.
Address: The Spit, BH6 4EW.
Another ‘Mumbler Must’. This beach offers beautiful surroundings and great facilities. Pay and display parking, public toilets, children play area, crazy golf, water sports, cafes, pubs and restaurants nearby, excellent public transport links and more.
Address: Banks Road, BH13 7QQ.
Southbourne Beach is one of Bournemouth’s most popular beaches, loved by locals and visitors for its clean, sandy and shingle beaches located east of Boscombe Pier and the town centre. Toilets with baby changing facilities on the promenade, pubs and kiosks and beach huts to hire and a nature trail a lovely walk along between Fisherman’s Avenue and Portman Crescent in Southbourne.. Small car park at Southbourne Crossroads car park, or cliff top parking on Southbourne Coast Road and Southbourne Overcliff Drive.
Address: Southbourne Coast Road, BH5 2EL.
Shore Road Beach
A lovely beach for water sports with a hotel with restaurants, ice cream kiosks and a cafe nearby. The area is also renowned for its wind and kite surfing, due to its close proximity to the safe, shallow waters of Poole Harbour which offer the perfect location to to hire equipment or have lessons. Toilets near the Jazz cafe. Parking available at Shore Road Surface Car Park.
Address: Shore Road, BH13 7PJ.
Beaulieu’s postcode for your satnav is SO42 7ZN or take Junction 2 of the M27.
Beaulieu is a family attraction at New Forest. Visitors can visit the National Motor Museum or Beaulieu Abbey, the impressive Palace Home or simply enjoy a walk around the grounds and gardens where little ones may come across some fairy houses! Other attractions for children include a play area, mini motor cars and the ‘Skytrain’.
Corfe Castle, Wareham, BH205 EZ.
A Mumbler Must National Trust property surrounded by a beautiful village with the same name. Corfe Castle hosts events for children all year round, which often are FREE.
Also visit the Model Village Gardens and Cafe.
For more information contact 01929481294.
Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth, BH6 4EN.
A beautiful nature reserve in Bournemouth, which offers may outdoors activities, from nature walks, cycling, kayaking and more. Also regular learning and educational events, toddler activities, and arts and crafts.
For more information contact 01202 451618.
Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 4EA.
This National Trust property is definitely a must. You’ll be able to visit the stunning Bankes family home, enjoy the tranquility of it’s gardens, or venture into the unspoilt countryside for a truly invigorating outdoors experience.
Family events regularly scheduled throughout the year.
For more information contact 01202883402.
East Lulworth, Wareham BH20 5QS.
Lulworth estate is without doubt one of the most beautiful places in the UK.
Whether you choose to paddle in the beautiful crystalline waters at Lulworth Cove or walk around the magnificent Durdle Door; or perhaps exploring Lulworth Castle, ‘the most beautiful castle in the south’, the options are endless. This is definitely a ‘Mumbler Must’ for families with children of any age.
For more information contact 01929 400352.
Horton Rd, Ashley Heath, Ringwood BH24 2ET.
An extensive country park and forest in Dorset. A fantastic day out for the entire family. Follow the unique play trail, cycle, walk, go Ape or take part in one of the many special events and activities hosted at Moors Valley throughout the year. There’s also a miniature railway for steam train lovers!
For more information contact 01425 470721.
This blog is currently being updated to help you find hidden gems that you might not have known about yet.
At Mumbler we know it’s hard to keep the kids busy and entertained without spending a fortune. This is why we’ve put together a list of the best parks and play areas around Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole, so you have plenty of great free options to choose from. These have been selected not only by us but also by our lovely community of parents on Facebook. You can join us here.
Please let us know if you’d like us to add anything to this list. We are always happy to review new exciting places.
Poole Park is an absolute ‘Mumbler Must’ for anyone visiting or living in Poole. Some of the park’s great advantages are:
This park offers stunning views, a great walking path and large play area for all ages. You can walk or cycle safely along the water all the way to Poole Quay. For a full review visit the Poole Mumbler News Page in Facebook.
This is a fantastic attraction or the entire family. The park has a large play area suitable for younger and older children, a paddling pool operating during the summer (make sure your little ones wear some sort of footwear as the floor can get very hot) and direct access to the beach by foot, though not pushchair/wheelchair friendly. Easy parking, public toilets and snacks cafe also available.
Treasure Island Play Park Canford Cliffs
This is a great option if you’d like to also take a walk to the beach.
‘The older kids love the roundabout, which can be wound up one way, then let go and stand well back as they show off their strength (or come flying off). It isn’t fenced in, so some people take their dogs to exercise there too. The pirate ship is wooden with some rope fencing to climb on. There are also trees to climb in the surrounding wooded areas which lead to the chine and down to the beach’. RP Mumbler Chat Group on FB.
Avon Heath Country Park
‘A bit further afield is Avon Heath Country Park which has a great play area recently refurbished, and best bit is you can see the play area from the cafe.’ BC Mumbler Chat Group on FB.
‘Kings Park is also fab for the fenced in play park, which has TWO zipwires, and a brilliant wooden climbing area specifically for older children, while there is plenty for the younger ones too. There’s a great skate park at Kings Park too and loads of areas for dog walking, ball games etc’. RP Mumbler Chat Groupon FB.
‘Alexandra park is great for scooters and bikes also has football area. The park has great climbing frame for all ages and the other equipment is varied and fun too’. LH Mumbler Chat Group on FB.
Sandbanks Play Area
‘The play area at Sandbanks beach pretty good too. Giant nets to climb, tyre swing and more. Need to pay to park’. KE Mumbler Chat Group on FB.
Play Area at Rockley Beach
‘The little park down at Rockley Beach is fab. Parking is free, cafe right next to park though not open all year and can wander over to the beach for a play and a paddle’. AH Mumbler Chat Group on FB.
Alum Chine Play Park in Bournemouth
The Alum Chine playground overlooks the beach and one of the parks in Poole and Bournemouth which has a famous connection. It is inspired by the classic novel ‘Treasure Island’, whose author, Robert Louis Stevenson, resided at the head of Alum Chine from 1885 to 1887. A beached, desert island shipwreck; a spy glass hill lookout with a functional telescope; a wooded trail that leads to an actual treasure box – see if you can find it; and Captain Flint’s skeleton showing the way to his buried riches are all play components inspired by the novel. Water play pumps, as well as typical playground equipment like a wide double-width slide and basket swings, are among the other features.
Moors Valley Country Park and Forest at Ashley Heat
Moors Valley is defiantly the most popular country park in our area and its no wonder because there is something for everyone, whether you want to be adventures and swing through the tree tops at Go Ape, ride on the narrow-gauge steam train, go exploring near the rivers, meadows and woodland or let the children loose on the two huge playgrounds before heading to the extensive play trail to check out all the carved sculptures before enjoying a picnic in the park near the lake when they are all played out! There is also a cafe and a visitors center.
Hengistbury Head Park in Bournemouth
Hengistbury Head is remarkable not just because of its diverse habitats, which include heathland, grassland, scrub, forest, freshwater wetlands, and coastland, but also because of its internationally significant archaeology and geology. It’s also one of the parks in Poole and Bournemouth where the whole family can enjoy themselves. Take the land train to Mudeford Sandspit for a calm and easy ride, then relax with a cup of tea and a piece of cake, or something more hearty in one of the cafés and take in the view. After a short climb you are rewarded by magnificent views from the summit of Warren Hill across Poole Bay. The Visitor Centre’s team can also help make the most of your day.
The Quomps Park in Christchurch
The Quomps Park is a children’s play park with a well-equipped play area, enclosed splash park, shallow paddling pool, and water play fountains and is located in the beautiful Christchurch Quay. There is an ice cream kiosk if you’re in need of a nice treat or to cool down, and usefully sells swimming nappies too. There are also public toilets, and numerous benches and spots to lay a picnic blanket for lunchtime and even a novelty golf course if you’re up for a little round.
Boscombe Chine Gardens in Bournemouth
Boscombe Chine Gardens has huge grassy areas for picnics, mini golf and a Squirrel Cafe. Children can also enjoy a ball court and a water play area.
Mudeford Beach Playground
Mudeford Beach playground is fenced in and has a cool hanging zip wire and a pirate ship for climbing as well as a rope bridge, roundabout, sandpit and rockers it is a small playground but a perfect little spot to stop and let the children burn some more energy after a walk down the beach.
Hazel Copse Farm, Beaulieu SO42 7WA.
Outdoors activities in the New Forest, led by experts. Canoeing, Kayaking, Archery, Ropes Course, VR Experiences and much more, suitable for the whole family.
Parties also available.
Unforgettable school holiday for children aged 8 to 14.
For more information contact 01590 612377.
10.00am – 5.30pm, Daily.
Deerleap Lane at Longdown, Ashurst, Southampton, SO40 4UH.
A ‘Mumbler Must’ attraction. The wildlife park offers an unforgettable experience for the entire family. You’ll have the opportunity to see impressive mammals and birds, and to play in one of the large play areas. Some highlights are the deer freely roaming around you, the wolves and the magnificent bison.
Please contact us on 02380 292408 for more information.
Upton Country Park, Poole Rd, Upton, Poole BH17 7BJ.
A great attraction for families in Dorset. Play trail, walking and cycling route, fantastic cafe with a tiny soft play for babies and toddlers. Lovely ice creams and water fountain in summer. Great for families with dogs.
Admission is free but you’ll need to pay for the car park.
For more details contact 01202 262753.
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