Plenty scope here for kids to go free-range and just enjoy the countryside, which might include the greatest game of hide-and-seek in the world on site. Away from base, there’s exclusive horse-riding across the tranquil 8,000 acres of The Rushmore Estate, with Park Cottage Stables – and plenty more.
Head to Moors Valley for Go Ape’s high ropes and segways. Enjoy 13 indoor and outdoor flume rides and an under-5s’ zone at Splashdown Waterpark in Poole. Put on your detective hats to work out whodunnit on the Salisbury Mystery Treasure Trail. Keep those hats on to figure a way out of Salisbury Escape Rooms.
Meet chickens, goats, donkeys, pigs and sheep at River Bourne Community Farm. Paint your own pots, cupcake boxes or money boxes at Splash of Colour. Discover endless war memorabilia at the Wardrobe Military Museum. And at Boscombe Down Aviation Collection, climb into cockpits and see Harriers, Hawks and a Tornado.
Catch a flick at the Odeon or a live stage show at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne. Pop out for a swim at Blandford Leisure Centre or meet the need for speed at Wessex Raceway Indoor Karting. Or head to New Forest Water Park, the UK’s first outdoor floating inflatable aqua park, with flippers, hurdles, rockets and rollers.
Crack open the Pimm’s and play a little croquet on the lawn. Or venture further and swap mallets for clubs at the Rushmore Golf Course, part of the estate. Stay on Cranborne Chase to sample fine local ales at Sixpenny Brewery, or try Gritchie’s Brewery, owned by film director Guy Ritchie and home to 20 smoking beer barrels.
Walk in the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors at Stonehenge, Europe’s best-known prehistoric monument. Or walk just ten minutes to enjoy Larmer Tree Gardens, exuberant wedding venue and one of the first Victorian pleasure gardens. Come in July and enjoy the Larmer Tree Festival.
Go back in time at Salisbury Cathedral, to worship, climb Britain’s tallest spire, be awed by the interior, or study the original Magna Carta in the Chapter House. Or experience the world’s largest heritage and cultural event, the Great Dorset Steam Fair, held on August bank holiday weekend, with 500 full-size steam engines.
Stay on the events trail at the Chilli Festival in Wimborne St Giles, the hottest day out in Dorset. Or get excited about the past at Chalke Valley History Festival in June. If it’s markets you love, get down to Salisbury, home of a twice-weekly Charter Market, fortnightly farmers’ market, monthly vintage market and quarterly teenage market.