Chalk giants, famous fossils and Britain's largest hillfort - a few of our favourite Dorset days out.
Dorset Days Out
The village of Abbotsbury is a great all-round crowd pleaser. The Subtropical Gardens, Swannery and Children's Farm are all close by. A passport ticket will get you discounted entrance to all of them. Round off the day with a wander along Chesil Beach. There are 18 miles of it to choose from. Place bets on who'll be the first to find a T.rex fossil.
The majestic ruins at Corfe Castle make for an interesting morning's exploration. Nearby is Studland Nature Reserve, three miles of golden sand, home to rare birds and the National Trust's only designated naturist beach. While you're in the area, it's worth taking a small detour to The Square and Compass pub in Worth Matravers. Local ales and ciders are served from an old-fashioned serving hatch here. It's close to the South West Coast Path if you feel like stretching your legs. Or just enjoy a pasty and pint looking out across the fields to the sea.
Pack a picnic to eat in the beautiful gardens at Minterne House and Gardens. The house and grounds were locations in the films 'Far From the Madding Crowd' and 'Tom Jones'. Then head down to Dorchester. Look out for the Cerne Abbas Giant en route - a huge chalk man carved into the hillside whose function is (clearly) as a fertility symbol (expect much sniggering from the younger members of the family). Spend the afternoon exploring, kids will love the Jurassic Coast exhibition at the Dorset County Museum. If you still have the energy, Britain's largest Iron Age hillfort is just to the south west of Dorchester. Maiden Castle covers an area of more than 50 football pitches. A stroll around the ramparts is rewarded with great views of the Dorset countryside.