We know there are lots more than 16... but this list is a good place to start :)
Kimmeridge Bay, Purbeck
Kimmeridge Bay, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, is an ideal place for picnics, and is the county’s top rock pooling location.
If you get to the open areas overlooking the bay, you are rewarded with terrific views of Gad Cliff, and also views to the Isle of Portland. If you fancy having a look for see prawns, or sea anemones, explore the rock pools at low-tide. Great fun for all.
Lyme Regis - “The Pearl of Dorset” (and twinned with Bermuda!)
With two beaches - a child-friendly sandy beach on one side of the Cobb, and Monmouth Beach on the other side, take your choice as to where you have your picnic. Depending on the time of year, you could be in Lyme for Regatta and Carnival Week, maybe Lifeboat week or The Jazz Festival. There are numerous other attractions, including Bonfire and Firework displays and a Vintage Motor Cycle Rally.
Surrounded by beautiful coastlines and countryside, the area has now been awarded World Heritage Site Status
Durdle Door, Lulworth
One of Dorset’s most photographed and iconic landmarks, the magnificent arch was formed by the power of waves. Durdle Door is in south Dorset, on the Lulworth Estate, and is part of the Jurassic Coast. The coastline is of such importance that it was designated England’s first natural World Heritage Site in 2001 and is now part of the same natural wonder family as America’s Grand Canyon and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Lulworth Castle - the home of Camp Bestival, and a lovely place to visit. The castle is worth a visit as there are, more often than not, holiday activities for children, but you are not obliged to visit it if you don’t want to. (My parents have been and they loved it ????)The Castle is closed on Saturdays for weddings and at other times during the year. Please check opening times on the website before you travel.
NB - The Castle is now closed for winter and will reopen on Friday 30th March 2018 for the Easter event.
Lulworth Cove, West Lulworth
Fancy a picnic on the beach? Why not try Lulworth Cove? For swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing the cove is perfect, and it’s an ideal place for the whole family to have fun. In 2001 the coast was granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO, and attracts in excess of 500,000 visitors each year - probably best to avoid July and August…????
Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve, West Dorset
Kingcombe Meadows - full of terrific places to explore on picnic day, and harbouring a variety of wildlife (you could be lucky enough to see kingfishers, dormice and all sorts of other country dwelling creatures) this is an ideal place for the whole family to enjoy a “picnic day out”
Shell Bay, Studland Peninsula
Set on the Studland Peninsula, the unspoilt beach and dunes make it a perfect place for a day out. Needless to say, Summer gets very busy, but there are enough facilities to make it popular with families - (It’s a good spot for ship-watching if Dad’s interested). Ideal for swimming and sunbathing, and also for sailing and fishing.
Creech Barrow Hill – the highest point of the Dorset Heaths
Get to the top of Creech Barrow Hill (it’s worth it!!) and take in a truly spectacular view - in the distance you can see the sea and Poole Harbour. No picnic tables, but there are benches.
The Blue Pool, Wareham
A unique attraction - “a turquoise jewel set in the heart of Purbeck”.
Enjoy walks around the magical Pool famous for its ever changing colours. Paths lead up steps to views of the Purbeck Hills, or down steps to the water’s edge.
Dancing Ledge - Nr Langdon Matravers
At the base of a small cliff, Dancing Ledge is so called because at certain stages of tidal movements, when the waves wash over the surface, the movements on the surface cause the water to bob about making the ledge appear to dance.
There is extensive parkland, walks, and a playground - enjoy your picnic!!
Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour
This is without doubt a really beautiful spot for a picnic. It has a variety of wildlife, a lagoon and a woodland area - and you may well see the red squirrels.
Charmouth is a lovely seaside village, with a really terrific beach, world renowned for fossils. Just a short distance from Lyme Regis, it has a certain old world charm - as well as the necessities, such as pubs, cafes, post office, convenience stores, newsagents, etc. As a quiet base for families to explore W. Dorset and E. Devon it is ideal.
Portland Bill is at the southern end of the Isle of Portland, and is Dorset’s southernmost point. There are 3 lighthouses, one still working. The views are spectacular, but if you decide against going up the lighthouse, there’s still plenty to see, including lovely views of the channel.
Kingston Lacey NT - near Wimborne Minster.
Plenty of walking, both in the gardens, and in the unspoilt countryside, and an ideal place to enjoy your picnic. Dogs are welcome, but please keep them on leads.
Sherborne Castle has 30 acres of gardens and 1000 acres of parkland plus a lake, and, should you need it, there’s plenty of shade to sit in. You’re welcome to picnic in all areas of the gardens and grounds, and picnic tables are provided where indicated on the gardens map. Dogs are welcome in the gardens and grounds provided they are kept on a short lead, but (except for guide or assistance dogs) are not permitted inside the castle, shop or tearoom.
Moreton Ford - Situated on the river Frome, 7 miles east of Dorchester, Moreton ford (or splash as it’s sometimes referred to) is the perfect, picturesque spot for a picnic. Children will enjoy paddling in the shallow water while trying to catch the little fish - and the area is ideal for both dog walking and taking things easy.
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P.S Have you seen our round up of lovely picnic spots in Somerset?