Summer Fun – Free Days Out!

With the summer holidays now upon us, here at Cuddles, we love being out and about. We live in such a beautiful part of the UK and are spoilt for choice on places to explore.  Here are just a few recommended days out in Dorset and Hampshire, that won’t break the bank!


Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve

Just a mile from Swanage, Durlston Country Park is a beautiful place to explore, whatever the weather. With 280 acres of countryside, stunning views, walks (including the coastal path), and wildlife, take a picnic and it will keep you entertained all day!  Top Tip: Why not park in Swanage, catch the bus to Durlston Country Park and then slowly amble back along the coastal path down to Swanage with the treat of an ice-cream at the end!

Studland Beach and Knoll Beach

If you love the beach, then the beaches along this stretch are just beautiful. The added bonus of course is getting the ferry from Sandbanks to Studland – which for a family car is £4 one way. This is National Trust land therefore for members, parking is free. There are beach cafes, watersports, ice-creams and lots of golden sand to play in. At Middle Beach, there are some rock pools to explore (remember to keep an eye on tides) and there are great views of Old Harry Rocks and The Isle Of Wight. The perfect family beach day out!

Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove

Probably one of Dorset’s most iconic images, is the magnificent Durdle Door arch and beach. Just a couple minutes drive from Lulworth Cove,  it’s part of the Lulworth Estate and considered one of the jewels in the crown of the Jurassic Coast World. Durdle Door is not for the faint hearted. If you have very young children or a pushchair, you may want to view Durdle Door from the top! Lulworth Cove is much better suited to families, with ample parking and easy beach access. Lulworth Cove also offers a whole array of places for refreshments, including ice-creams, fish and chips and traditional sweet shops.

Tyneham Village

Tyneham village was evacuated in 1943 during World War Two and has been left deserted ever since.  A visit to Tyneham is like stepping back in time with the ruins of the houses still standing. There is a fantastic picnic area and a woodland trail to explore. If you fancy a walk, Worbarrow Bay is about twenty minute walk from the main Tyneham picnic area.  A great day out for the whole family!

The New Forest

The New Forest National Park has so many places to explore – just a 30 minute drive from Poole will take you to some of the best picnic areas, with no parking charges!

Some of our favourites include:

Mill Lawn – just outside Burley, Mill Lawn has lots of little streams and bridges – it’s perfect for children of all ages and offers a great place for ball games, climbing trees, hide and seek and picnics. The nearest ice-creams and facilities are available in Burley Village Centre.

Wilverley Plain – situated on the road between Burley and Brockenhurst. It’s the perfect place for playing rounders, football or other ball games with lots of space to run around. During the summer holidays, the ice-cream van usually makes an appearance early afternoon. There are also toilets and free parking at Wilverley Plain.

Puttles Bridge – On the way to Lyndhurst, turn into Rhinefield Drive – follow the road along and eventually, (once you’ve gone past Rhinefield House on your right), you will come to Puttles Bridge. This is a great place for families with both younger and older children. There is a large open space for picnics, walks along the river and shallow areas where the children can play in the water.  Lots of places to climb trees and there are numerous rope swings that have been put up across the river which will keep older children entertained for hours!


Wherever your ventures take you over the summer, please stay safe. Remember to apply sunscreen (even in the shady forest), wear or pack appropriate clothing and footwear, respect your surroundings (remember New Forest Ponies, however cute they look,  can be temperamental and shouldn’t be approached), and where there is water involved, please ensure that your children are monitored at all times.


We hope you have a great summer and get to experience some of these fantastic local days out.

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