I recently went to a friend's wedding which happened to be down at Sandbanks in Poole, Dorset, somewhere quite famous for housing all its millionaires - it's one of the finest places to live in the country. We used to go there when I was quite young, just for the exquisite sandy beaches, but nowadays we're lumbered with pebbles on them on our stretch of the seafront in Sussex.
Unbeknown to me, I grew up on what is commonly called the Jurassic Coast. Having left when I was 18 and always having taken it completely for granted as one does when young and never having got around to exploring it as an adult on little sojourns back home, it was wonderful to re-visit some of it and I would like to return with the children.
Here is an article brought to us by Haven Holiday Parks who focused on this area especially for me, giving us their tips about where to go and what to do. N.B. When they talk about dinosaurs living in Dorset, they are not referring to me and my friends, OK?
If you’ve never been to Dorset, you might not know that the county is home to the stunning world famous Jurassic Coast. Not only was this coastline England’s first natural World Heritage Site, it’s also 200 million years old, 95 miles long and millions of years ago it was home to dinosaurs. Look carefully and you might even find some fossils!
Fossil hunting on Charmouth Beach
No trip to Dorset is complete without trying to find a dinosaur fossil. Charmouth Beach is just 2 miles from Lyme Regis and one of the best locations for fossil hunting.
Experts call Charmouth Beach a highly fossilified area and complete fish skeletons have even been found in the past. Although most people won’t find a big fossil, small ammonite fossils are very common. Fossil hunting is a great activity to do with your little ones – just bring along your keen eye and a bucket!
Our top tip is to walk along the beach at the tide line and crouch down to get a closer look. Above all remember to respect the coastline and not to hammer or chisel at the cliffs.
Dinosaur Museum, Dorchester
For all things dinosaur, make your next stop the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester. This whole museum is dedicated to dinosaurs and has life-size reconstructions of all the favourites, including a T-Rex, stegosaurus and triceratops.
It’s one of the area’s most popular attractions and a must for all visitors to the Jurassic Coast. What’s more, it’s no ordinary museum as it’s highly interactive and gives visitors loads of opportunities to get involved with hands-on displays. You can even feel what kind of skin the dinosaurs had!
Lulworth Cove is one of the most popular hotspots on the Jurassic Coast as it’s home to the Durdle Door – an iconic geographical wonder of the south coast. This natural arch juts out into the sea and is a stunning sight whatever the weather.
This picturesque cove is just a short drive away from Rockley Park Holiday Park and one of the best places in the country to go rock pooling. So pack a bucket and head down to Lulworth Cove to see what you can find.
Old Harry Rocks
The Old Harry Rocks are the final must-see on the Jurassic Coast. These two iconic chalk formations – a stack and a stump – lie just 10km south of Poole and Rockley Park. The largest stump is called Old Harry and the smaller one is commonly known as his ‘wife.’ Unfortunately, Old Harry’s Wife partially collapsed due to erosion in the late 1800s but the pair still stand strong for new generation of visitors to witness.
This iconic natural wonder lies at the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast and whatever you do, don’t leave Dorset without seeing it.
[Disclosure - I have been compensated for the privilege of running this post!].