Top 10 free things to do in West Dorset

29 April 2019Weather

Discover West Dorset on budget and enjoy a number of free activities within a short drive of our Dorset holiday parks. From fossil hunting to children’s farms, the county certainly doesn’t disappoint with the variety of options on offer. Whether you have a couple of hours, all the whole day to spare, you’re guaranteed a fantastic family day out that doesn’t break the bank.

Fossil Hunting

Explore Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and hunt for fossils from prehistoric times! There are many hot-spots to discover thanks to the geographically rich coastline creating miles upon miles of possibility. Charmouth is perhaps the best-known destination, with many Fossils to be found along the shoreline and guided fossil hunts from the Coast Heritage Centre. Lyme Regis and Seatown are also popular spots that are worth a visit during your stay.

Fossili Hunting in West Dorset

Coastal beach walk – Hive Beach

Hive Beach is an ideal place for a leisurely day with the family. Children can play until their hearts content in the shingle and build stacks from the larger stones. Impressive cliffs line the beach dominating the landscape, creating the perfect backdrop for a day by the sea. If you’re feeling energetic, head west along the south west coast path which runs parallel to the water, where you can experience breath taking views out to sea and along the Jurassic Coast.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KurlyKat ( on

Jurassic Coast Road Drive

Enjoy beautiful views and the vast coastal landscape on one of Britain’s most scenic drives. Known as the Jurassic Coast Road, this eighteen-mile stretch of road takes you west from Weymouth to West Bay, passing through a number of picture perfect villages. After driving through Abbotsbury, which is known for its quaint chocolate box cottages you will reach the crest of a steep hill where you can park and enjoy far reaching views. From the top you can see the length of Chesil Beach, the Fleet Lagoon St Catherine’s Chapel and the Isle of Portland in the distance. As you descend the road continues to take twists and turns through the charming country before reaching the picturesque harbour in West Bay.

Jurassic Coast road drive route


abbotsbury hill and view over st catherines chapel

Portland Bill

Located on the southernmost tip of Portland, Portland Bill is a famed for its rugged coastline and iconic red and white lighthouse. It is the perfect place to take the family for a walk whilst overlooking the English Channel and the choppy waters known as ‘the race’. The area boats many fishing opportunities thanks to its rocky outcrops and protruding ledges and is popular spot for commercial fisherman who use the cliff top cranes to land their days crab and lobster catch. During windy days it is an ideal location for flying a kite and during the summer enjoy a picnic, whilst you sit back, relax, and take in the fresh sea air.

Portland Bill Lighthouse

Fancys Farm

Get up close and personal with a variety of farm animals during a trip to Fancy’s Farm, a community project based on Portland. There are 15 types of animals to feed, pet and observe including horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, wallabies and geese. The farm is located on a site of special scientific interest; meaning it is sometimes possible to observe native wildlife such as caterpillars, slow worms and lizards in their natural habitat.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Gema (@gemaappleheadj) on

Lorton Meadows

Tucked away from hustle and bustle of Weymouth town centre, Lorton Meadows is a quiet and peaceful nature reserve with an abundance of wildlife, flowers and plants. Take a walk through the thriving fields where you will hopefully catch a glimpse of colourful butterflies, bugs and birds. The onsite conservation centre supplies refreshments so that you can refuel after your walk and has a range of live nest webcams, allowing you a closer look at the nesting and feeding birds via a live web cam. There’s also plenty of seating perfect for a picnic whatever the weather!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Phil Haddrell (@philhaddrell) on

Tout Quarry

Tout Quarry on the Isle of Portland makes for a wonderful morning or afternoon excursion. Take a stroll deep into the abandoned stone quarry where you will find more than seventy intricately carved sculptures hidden amongst the trails. Many talented sculptors, including renowned Sir Antony Gormley who is responsible for creating the Angel of the North have honed their craft here and created stunning works of art from the surrounding Portland Stone. From the sculpture park it is possible to access the coastal path, which boasts remarkable views over Chesil Beach from its elevated position on the cliff.

Tout Quarry stone sculpture

Thorncombe Woods

Take a walk through the vast woodland and explore all that sixty-four acres of forest has to offer. Pack your wellington boots and a picnic and follow one of the designated walking trails through the forest to Rushy Pond and see whether you can spot any of the wildlife that inhabits the area. Perhaps you will see an elusive deer or one of the herd of beautiful Dartmoor ponies. The trails vary in terrain, length and difficulty, with something to suit all ages. There’s also a cafe with toilets and other facilities where you can learn more about the forest, its habitats and species.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @emconnelly5 on

Roman Town House

Situated in Colliton Park, Dorchester, The Roman Town House should place highly on your things to do list! The house is the only example of a fully exposed Roman Town House in the country and a fine display of Roman craftsmanship and engineering. Information boards are dotted around the site giving visitors a fantastic insight into what the ruins once would have looked like. It is also possible to admire the intricate mosaic flooring, which is carefully housed in glass displays to protect them for generations to come.

Roman Town House Dorchester

Maiden Castle

Featuring stunning views over the Dorset countryside and the Roman town of Dorchester, Maiden Castle is the largest hill fort in Great Britain and dates back to the Iron ages. Once a thriving hub of activity and home to some of the earliest settlers, this historical site now lays abandoned and is the perfect place for a dog walk or simply enjoying the fresh air. Children will love clambering up the peaks and troughs of the fort, which can make for walk quite a challenging walk, but those that make the final ascent will be rewarded with spectacular views.

Maiden Castle

If you haven’t checked out any of these free things to do then we absolutely recommend a visit. They make for a fun family afternoon that won’t cost you a thing. Enjoy!

Stay with us in Dorset

West Dorset Leisure Holidays comprises of 5 holiday parks situated at prime locations along the Dorset coast. All of the parks are dog friendly and there are a range of accommodation options available including luxury lodges, caravan holiday homes, glamping and pitches for touring and camping. There are also a variety of facilities to keep the whole family entertained, including Martin’s Bar & Restaurant and Highlands End Leisure Club. Check availability for your holiday and make a booking here.

What our guests say

  • Very peaceful Park

    The wildlife is stunning, we were visited by the ducks on a regular basis which was lovely. Our visit was very enjoyable and we will definitely be back in the future!

    Sarah W - Pitch Up

  • 5 out of 5 isn't enough!

    This is simply our favorite touring park along the south coast. The location couldn't be better with views to die for and an abundance of fresh sea air. The park is spic and span and extremely well kept with very friendly staff.

    Big Caravan Adventures - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Best holiday ever!

    This is by far the best Holiday Park I have been to. The views are breath taking with easy access to the beach and nice coastal walks to West Bay. If you're looking for a relaxing holiday in a stunning location, then this is the place to come.

    Alison D - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • Fantastic holiday once again

    We have been coming here now every year for about 10 years. Its our favourite place and the Park has everything we need.

    Andy M - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • A little bit of heaven!

    Golden Cap is a little bit of heaven. The views are awesome, right next to the sea. It's all relaxed and low key just how we like it.

    Esther Woodhouse - Facebook
    Golden Cap

  • Idyllic setting

    Quiet site in a beautiful setting with exceptionally clean toilets and showers

    Anthony M - Pitch Up
    Graston Copse

  • Would definitely recommend

    Close to beach, a nice local pub, dog friendly and a very relaxed atmosphere.

    Dan M - Pitch Up
    Golden Cap

  • A tour of Dorset!

    An excellent Park as a base to visit the Dorset coast, Jurassic Coast, Chesil Beach, Lyme Regis, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, to name a few.

    Arthur D - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse

  • Fantastic Park

    10 out of 10 is not enough for this Holiday Park. We have been here 3 times and we love it more and more every time. The park has all you need, with some pitches overlooking the sea and a great restaurant.

    Shirley Thompson - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • A hidden gem

    The location is amazing, right on the beach and all the facilities are good. It's a hidden gem this one, one of the best parks in the country

    Mark Tee - Tripadvisor
    Golden Cap

  • Lovely tranquil campsite

    The location was great as we could easily walk to the village or local beaches through the beautiful countryside. I would recommend this campsite to families for a peaceful and safe stay.

    Sarah - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse