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The best dog-friendly spots for a day out in Dorset

When Dan and I go travelling around the UK, we always take Ted, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with us. Sometimes, it can be tough to find attractions that we can take him to, and now we have the baby, we have to think even more carefully. It’s a good job there are loads of dog-friendly attractions for a day out with or without kids in Dorset.

Related: Take your dog on holiday this year with this ultimate guide

Explore historic homes

There are a collection of historic homes that you can explore with children and dogs in Dorset. You will probably need to weigh up what suits your group. Some places like Corfe Castle allow dogs in all areas of the estate, but it’s not suitable for exploration with a pram or buggy. However, others such as Kingston Lacy have minor restrictions on where dogs can visit but have lots of paths that are buggy safe.

The manor house at Kingston Lacy

Related: Exploring the gardens of Kingston Lacy

Hit the beach

The Jurassic Coast is famous for its beaches. On hot days, the beaches will be rammed with visitors, but if you visit on a cooler day, you might find yourself one of the few there.

Related: The best way to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove

Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove is one of the most popular areas to visit for two reasons: it’s beautiful, and it’s dog friendly. There are other dog-friendly beaches of course, but Durdle Door is particularly scenic. Another cool beach to visit is Chesil Beach, joining the Isle of Portland to Weymouth. On one side, you’ll likely be relaxing in still silence, and on the other, you’ll probably have winds battering the life out of you. When we visited, the sea was so rough we were scared we’d lose Ted!

dog-friendly durdle door things to do in dorset
Ted on the beach at Durdle Door

Visit a country park

Dorset is packed with wonderful country parks, which by definition are both dog-friendly and child-friendly!

We visited Upton Country Park, near Poole, and Durlston Country Park on our last visit. The difference between the two was incredible. Upton Country Park reminded me of an old, English garden, with thick trees, rose bushes, and lawns. You can walk alongside the water of Holes Bay/Upton Lake, looking out for birds, insects, and reeds.

dog-friendly Upton Country park Dorset
Pathway in Upton Country Park

Durlston, on the other hand, is like being in a different country in the sunshine. I thought I could have been walking around a Spanish island. When you first enter, you’ll find a pretty cool collection of educational stones that detail our journey from the big bang to now. You can never go wrong with educational things to do with kids on your holiday in Dorset.

Deeper into the country park, you’ll find The Great Globe, a giant, stone sculpture. The whole area really puts life into perspective!

The Great Globe dog friendly things to do Dorset
The Great Globe at Durlston Country Park

Follow a sculpture trail

One of my favourite ideas for a day out in Dorset is explore Tout Quarry Sculpture Park on the Isle of Portland. As well as offering amazing views across the sea, and of Weymouth, the sculpture park has so many artworks you probably won’t find them all.

View of Weymouth from Tout Quarry

It’s absolutely free, and dog-friendly. If you’re going with the kids, you could take a few clipboards, paper, and pencils, and do some drawings of the favourite sculptures in the park. It’s also a brilliant place to play hide and seek with older children, as long as you play safely of course.

Related: Free, fun things we did on the Isle of Portland

Walk in the forest

Dorset has a number of lovely forest trails. One that we loved is the Sika Trail in Wareham Forest. As well as being dog-friendly, it has wide paths and hills that aren’t too intense. I’m sure you could walk a buggy or pram around the area. You might have to dodge cyclists and cow pat though!

Related: Walking the Sika Trail in Wareham Forest

Walking the Sika Trail in Wareham Forest

Find a hidden gem

One of my favourite things to do anywhere (not just in Dorset) is search for hidden gems. Well, lucky us – we found one.

You can walk the North Dorset Trailway from Sturminster Newton to Blandford Forum if you’re looking for a little adventure. The route follows the old North Dorset Railway tracks, and passes rail museums, manor houses, and nature reserves.

A little further along the route however, is the Spetisbury Station project. We were staying only a short walk from the old Spetisbury Station, which is part of an ongoing project to restore it to its former glory. We had no idea what we would find, but we were chuffed when we made it.

Spetisbury Station

Have dinner in a pub

By far, one of the best ways to end a day out in Dorset is sit down for a delicious meal. Lots of the pubs in the area allow dogs in the bar, and I’m sure children would be allowed too, dependent on the time. I definitely recommend The Golden Fox.

Related: Eat a delicious dinner at The Golden Fox, Dorset

Lamb in red wine gravy at The Golden Fox

So, I hope you have a whale of a time on your holidays. I’m sure you’ll agree that there are tons of dog-friendly things to do (with the kids too) in Dorset. If you can think of anything I’ve missed, leave me a message below.

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