When my husband suggested we get away for a few days, I jumped at the chance and my instant thought was, just what this frazzled family needs!You see, like most of the UK, we just about survived lockdown with two young boys in tow.  Max aged 6 and Zak, who had just turned 3.
I thought is was the perfect chance to pause and re-group after a very trying few months of the home schooling/trying to work and stay sane combo!!

For this Kent born and bred family a trip to the South Coast, now that the busy summer season was behind us, was so appealing to Escape The Everyday, put lockdown life behind us and break from the “new normal” routine.

As a child my parents took us to Bournemouth for our summer holiday every year.  I feel like I know the area well and have nothing but fond memories of playing for hours and hours on the beautiful beaches, making sandcastles, eating ice creams and paddling in the sea!!

For this new family adventure, we decided to take our caravan to South Lytchett Manor Caravan & Camping Park, just 9 miles away from Bournemouth and 3 miles from Poole, but also a great base to explore the stunning Dorset countryside and World Heritage Jurassic Coast.
This caravan park was a great experience from beginning to end and deserves its 5-pennant rating.  Set over 20 acres, they have won so many awards over the years and you can see why.  The site is immaculate, and you can certainly see why they have won the Loo of the Year award in the past!

When exploring the site with the kids, I also came across their glamping options which include cute little Shepherd Huts and beautiful painted Romany Caravans, both perfect for a romantic getaway.  I was sure to point my husband in this direction whilst reminding him that my birthday was coming up!  You must always remember to Treat Yourself when you can.

Once we had settled in, we decided to take advantage of the handy bus stop just outside the campsite, which took us into Poole.

Known for having Europe’s largest natural harbour and some of the best beaches in the UK, including world renowned Sandbanks, Poole is worth a visit.  We decided to explore the quayside, which was just lovely with the sun shining on our backs. There are plenty of places to grab a drink and watch all the ferries, sailing ships and super yachts go by. We enjoyed a lovely coffee and slice of cake alfresco style at Oriel on the Quay.

With full bellies and feeling refreshed we purchased some crab nets and buckets and enjoyed a fun hour trying to catch as many crabs as we could. This kept the boys fascinated, which takes a lot!  Once we set the crabs free, we jumped on a boat and enjoyed a Harbour Cruise with City Cruises Poole.  Stunning scenery and so nice to feel the wind in our hair and breath in the fresh sea air!

The next day we were up bright and early to visit Farmer Palmers Farm Park on the outskirts of Poole.  This attraction is marketed as a great place for under 8’s, so perfect for my little darlings.  Advanced booking was required but was a quick and simple process the night before via their website. We really crammed a lot into our day. Getting up close with the animals was great - the goat feeding and “hold a guinea pig” sessions were a huge hit!  My husband loved getting involved, whizzing around with Max on the pedal go karts, whilst Zak took a real shine to the pedal tractors he could play on. We enjoyed a very bumpy tractor ride which I can advise is best to do before eating! Lunch was a pre-prepared picnic, but the on-site restaurant had the most delicious homemade cakes on display. The Covid measures the attraction have put in place made us feel safe and secure and meant that we could enjoy a well organised half hour in the Little Farmers Fun Barn which is currently operating on a wrist band system.  My two boys fell asleep as soon as we started the engine with a smile on their faces, clutching their new soft toy goats! 

For the next day we could not decide between Moors Valley Country Park and the Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park, both located in East Dorset.  My friends who had recently visited the area had mentioned what a great day they had at Moors Valley, so we went with this recommendation.

After a hearty breakfast we started the 45-minute journey to get there from our caravan park.  Parking at the country park is not the cheapest but with 1000 acres of outdoor space it gave us such freedom to explore. A highlight of the day was the mile-long play trail with amazing wooden play structures along the way, including a giant ant’s nest, snake pit and crocodile crossing. The most challenging part was moving the boys along from each structure.  The play parks near the visitor centre are also epic. We explored the park further with a ride on the Moors Valley Miniature Railway, which loops around the park. If we visited again, we would take advantage of the on-site cycle hire centre, to explore the forest further. 

On our next visit to the area, top of our list will be the Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park as it is somewhere I think we would thoroughly enjoy as a family. 

The next day we ended our holiday with a surprise trip to Paultons Park on the way home.  We booked this well in advance as we knew it was a must visit place for us.  Zak is a huge Peppa Pig fan and this park is home to Peppa Pig World.  A magical land dedicated to this cult children’s series.  It really is an experience if you have a fan of the show in your house. The whole attraction has been created to such a high standard and has a real “Disney” experience to it. The rest of the park is worth exploring and was a lot quieter than Peppa Pig World. The Lost Kingdom dinosaur themed land had some great roller coasters and the dinosaur models are out of this world and scarily realistic. You really need a good couple of days to fit in everything Paultons Park has to offer so we will be back!

Thank you Dorset for a truly amazing break.  So many places to discover and explore making fantastic memories along the way.

For more ideas and inspiration, you can visit the Coast with the Most and 
Visit Dorset websites.

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