16 Budget Friendly Things to Do in Dorset

Summer is nearly upon us and with lockdown restrictions easing we’re all looking forward to having a little more freedom. However, staying local is still important and for those of us on a budget, so is saving pennies. Whatever your budget, there are plenty of exciting things to do locally. So, if you’re looking for budget-friendly activities in Dorset then look no further!

Budget Range: £0-£15

  • Badbury Rings- Badbury Rings is an ancient hillfort that offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. You even get the opportunity to walk up to the nearby Kingston Lacy. This dog-friendly location is ideal if you’re looking to save pennies as the parking is currently free!
  • Beaches- Probably the most well-known feature of Dorset is the beaches! Are you looking for a relaxing day of sunbathing at Sandbanks? Or a more exciting scramble down to Dancing Ledge? There are coastal locations to suit everyone.
  • Dorset Wildlife Trust- Dorset Wildlife Trust offers membership at only £3.50 a month and all the money stays local! The membership will give you a comprehensive guide to all 42 nature reserves from Ashley Wood to West Bexington.
  • Potterne to Moors Valley- Moors Valley is a great place to spend time with your family. However, the parking charges there are less than desirable. One way to remedy this, and enjoy some extra scenery, is to park at Potterne and walk to Moors Valley.
  • The New Forest- The New Forest is a stunning location to visit if you’re looking for natural beauty. You can get a glimpse of the New Forest ponies. Take in the scenery with plenty of free walks and the (slightly) more expensive option of hiring bikes. Download the AllTrails app for some of the walks on offer.
  • Wareham Forest- Wareham Forest is a large, beautiful stretch of land with more dog-friendly walks available to visitors. With the bonus of offering a few trails that will end at the pub!
  • Garden Centres- Garden Centres are great places to have a browse, look at beautiful plants and have some coffee and cake. Are you after some of the best local garden centres? Try Haskins Garden Centre in Longham, Wimborne Garden Centre or Compton Acres Plant Centre in Canford Cliffs.

Budget Range: £15-£30

  • Brownsea Island- Brownsea Island is the largest island in Poole Harbour and offers a range of activities to visitors including family trails, the opportunity to spot red squirrels and a natural play area. A short ferry crossing is the only way to access the island and tickets should set you back about £19.50 for a family of 3.
  • Corfe Castle- This National Trust site is an outstanding area of natural beauty that can be seen for miles around. Plenty of beautiful walks and the charming shops at Corfe are highlights of visiting here. Take the opportunity to tour the ruins for a price (About £25 for a family ticket). Margaret Green Foundation Trust, a local animal sanctuary, is also nearby and free to visit.

Budget Range: £30+ 

  • Adventure Wonderland- Adventure Wonderland is a children’s theme park situated near Bournemouth Airport. The park offers thrilling rides, a hedge maze, an indoor play area and themed performances. Prices of annual visits are currently unavailable however, a day visit for a family of four is around £70.
  • Compton Acres- Compton Acres is not only a garden centre but it’s also home to one of the most important ornamental gardens in England. This charming destination offers an annual family pass for £85 which also gets you a 10% discount in the cafés, plant centre and visitor shop.
  • Farmer Palmers – Farmer Palmers are a family-friendly farm park. With popular attractions such as a bumpy tractor ride, animal feeding, play parks and pig racing it’s the perfect place to take kids aged 0-8 years. An annual pass for this attraction will set you back about £130for an adult and child.
  • Monkey World- Monkey World is a great place to get a glimpse of a range of different primates and promotes the rescue and rehabilitation of these fascinating creatures. Annual memberships are currently not an option however, a family day pass is about £45.
  • Snowtrax- Snowtrax is an outdoor alpine activity centre with an adventure park. The activity centre also offers a range of activities including, skiing, snowboarding, Skibobbing and Ringoing. An annual pass here is a little more pricey and comes to around £245.
  • The Tank Museum – The Tank Museum is an incredible museum that details the history of tanks and chronicles world war stories. An annual family ticket here will cost you about £42.
  • Wimborne Model Town- Wimborne Model Town is great fun for all ages and allows you to walk around a miniature, 1950’s version of Wimborne. Also on offer is crazy golf, a tea garden and a shop. A season ticket comes to £70.

Where are you looking forward to visiting this Summer? To learn more about our local Dorset Companions services, head over to our Q&A blog here.


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