If you’re planning a stay at South Lytchett Manor this year, take a look at our handy short break itinerary. We’ve compiled a list of just some of our favourite things to do in Dorset, to help you make the most of your time by the coast.
Our convenient location affords guests easy access to a wealth of beauty spots and attractions in nearby Poole, Bournemouth, Wareham, Swanage and Weymouth – ideal if you’ve only got a couple of days to explore. Here we share the must-see places to visit during a 3-night break at our touring, camping and glamping park.
Head to Dorset early to make the most of your holiday – there’s so much to see and do you won’t want to miss out! If you’ve booked one of our touring or camping pitches you can arrive from midday. Guests staying in our shepherd’s huts, Romany caravans or camping pods can check in from 4pm.
After you’ve unpacked take a little bit of time to walk around the site to check out the facilities and get your bearings. We’ve got plenty to offer visitors including a café, shop, playground and cycle hire.
If you want some time to relax after your journey spend an hour so unwinding in our picturesque grounds. Or, if you’re eager to explore, head straight out and begin checking out the sights!
We recommend heading to Poole Quay in the late afternoon. Take a leisurely stroll along the harbourside and peruse the independent shops and galleries that line the waterfront. On a summer’s evening the atmosphere is fantastic and there’s often live music and events taking place. It’s the perfect place to spend the evening and watch the sun go down.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants to grab a bite to eat, whilst enjoying the views out to sea. There’s also a selection of takeaways, if you’d prefer to get a portion of fish and chips to eat on the harbour wall.
Visitors looking for fun-filled experiences should book an evening boat trip. City Cruises offer a 90 ‘Harbour Lights Cruise’, offering the chance to view Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island, Sandbanks and Studland Bay at night. Dorset Cruises have a range of itineraries available. These include speciality gin tasting, jazz and rum and Reggae tours.
These natural landmarks get busy, especially in the school holidays, so it’s a best to arrive early if you don’t want to share the views. Start the morning at Durdle Door and spend some time taking in the scenery and photographing the iconic limestone arch before relaxing on the beach for an hour or two. In the height of the summer the water is an incredible aqua marine colour – you’ll feel like you’re in an exotic destination abroad!
Next make your way to Lulworth Cove (the walk is around 30 minutes) to admire the magnificent cliffs and horseshoe shaped bay. The water is crystal clear and ideal for paddling, rockpooling or taking a dip. Unlike neighbouring Durdle Door there are plenty of facilities here, including cafes, restaurants, ice cream and fish and chips. There’s even a small visitor centre where you can learn more about geology and the formation of the Jurassic Coast through a range of interactive displays.
After lunch we suggest making the short drive to Tyneham Village and Worbarrow Bay*. This historic village was evacuated during the Second World War and remains largely untouched to this day. Walk around the various buildings including a farm, school and church. There are a number of information boards dotted around the site, offering a unique insight into the past.
To finish the day, make the short walk to Worbarrow Bay. This is one of the best beaches in Dorset in our opinion, and a must visit during your short break. The walk is only a mile or so and flat, making it a great choice for families. The route cuts through Ministry of Defence land, providing a unique view of disused tanks and targets.
As you reach the end of the path you’ll be treated to spectacular views ahead. The wide-open bay is picturesque and often quieter than other beaches along this section of coast. If you’ve got energy to spare pick up the South West Coast Path and continue up the hill. From the elevated position you’ll have a commanding view of the Dorset coast and countryside.
* Tyneham Village and Worbarrow Bay are on MOD land. Occasionally, it is closed and not accessible to the public. We encourage you to check opening times and dates prior to travelling.
After a busy day exploring, we suspect you’ll want to head back to the park for a well-earned rest. If the weather’s nice why not treat yourself to a BBQ, or a takeaway if we’ve got a catering company visiting.
Let someone else do the cooking this morning and pick up a breakfast roll from our onsite-café. Enjoy a leisurely morning reading the paper and spend some quality family time on park. The kids can have a play in the playground while you observe from a far. Today is about taking it easy and enjoying some much-needed r&r!
Once everyone’s ready, hire one of our bikes and set off on an adventure. Upton Country Park is just a short cycle ride away and a fantastic place to spend an hour or two. The expansive grounds have a network of pathways to explore. Take some time to walk through the woods and marshlands areas and see what you can find. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a range of bird life, and maybe even deer!
The Walled Garden is a must-visit in the spring and summer months. The carefully landscaped grounds are awash with colour and provide the perfect setting to sit and enjoy some peace and tranquillity. If you have children in tow, then Spurriers Play Park is the place to go. The brand-new adventure play park features a range of equipment, including swings, slides, tunnels and climbing frames.
There are a couple of food and drink options to choose from at Upton Country Park. The Tea Rooms serve a range of light bites and there are two ice cream kiosks on site. We recommend packing a picnic to enjoy on one of the manicured lawns. Lay back in the sunshine with your favourite snacks while the kids run and play.
After lunch get back on your bike and continue to Hamworthy Park Beach. This is the closest beach to our camping and caravan park and well worth the extra cycle. How you spend the afternoon is up to you, but there is plenty to see and do.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit different you could hire a boat from Poole Boat Hire. They have a range of self-drive boats available to rent with no prior experience necessary. This is a great way to explore Poole Harbour and take in the views from a unique perspective.
Stay at Hamworthy beach until late afternoon before heading back to the park. We think a delicious meal is the order of the day and highly recommend heading to our local gastro pub St Peter’s Finger for dinner. They have a delicious menu with a vast selection of meals on offer. Enjoy a 3-course meal and a drink or two before making the 10-minute walk back to your accommodation.
There’s just one activity planned today, but it’s a truly is a special day out. For day 3 of your holiday in Dorset we suggest heading to Brownsea Island for a fun-filled day in the great outdoors.
Get up early and head to Poole Quay to board one of the ferries to the Brownsea. It’s a relatively short journey but you’ll be treated to lovely views across the harbour on the way. Admission is free for National Trust members, but non-members must pay a small fee on arrival.
Brownsea Island is the largest of 8 Islands in Poole Harbour and it’s easy to spend the whole day here. Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll do lots of walking as you explore various trails around the nature reserve.
There’s are so many different habitats to discover and plenty hides for bird watching. You might spot an unusual species as you make your way through woodland, heathland or along the shores of the lagoon. Keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of an elusive red squirrel high in the trees. Brownsea Island is one of the few remaining places in the UK where you can see these magnificent creatures in the wild.
After a morning spent circumnavigating the island and taking in the sights, stop by the cafe for a well-earned treat. The friendly team serve a range of hot and cold meals as well as ice creams and other snacks.
In the afternoon continue exploring the magnificent island. Children will love the natural play equipment and building dens in the forest. On arrival ask whether there are any activities taking place during your visit. In the school holidays there is often an exciting events programme, including bug hunting, wildlife tours, open air theatre performances, craft sessions and ranger for the day experiences.
Make sure you check out the boat timetable so you don’t miss the last ferry of the day. Once you’ve arrived back on-site fire up the BBQ or treat the family to a tasty takeaway.
Today marks the end of your short break in Dorset, but fear not there’s still plenty of time to explore. Depending on your direction of travel you may wish to tick off a couple more must see sights before embarking on your journey home.
We suggest heading to the historic market town of Wareham for a stroll along the river and a spot of lunch. After all, who wants to drive on an empty stomach!
Park next to the Quay and cross the bridge before following the path along the river. The River Frome flows into Poole Harbour and you can walk along the banks for much of the way. Along the flat and gentle route, you can admire the moored boats and watch the birds darting in and out of the reedbeds. It’s lovely watching the ducklings and swans before turning back on yourself and returning to the car.
If you fancy a slightly longer route there are two circular walks from the Quay. The Two Rivers Walks are suitable for children, signposted and easy to follow. We’re fans of the Frome to piddle route which takes about an hour and a half to complete. It follows the Wareham Walls and offers splendid views over Wareham common. You can download a map from the council website.
After your walk call into The Old Granary for a bite to eat. The riverside pub enjoys a prime position overlooking the water below. When making a reservation ask to be seated next to the window!
South Lytchett Manor was recently voted the South West Campsite of the Year. It is set in scenic grounds in a convenient location, with easy access to the Jurassic Coast and Dorset countryside. There is a range of self-catering accommodation to choose from including touring and camping pitches, Romany caravans, Shepherd’s huts and glamping pods. Facilities include an on-site shop, café, cycle hire and children’s playpark.
What a fabulous place! Our first outing in our new campervan to try it out, the campsite and facilities are... thewardrobem, Nov 2023
The best campsite I've ever stayed at, usually large complexes lose a bit of what camping is about, but not... Colin, May 2023
Great stay, very clean excellent facilities. Bus into Poole 15 mins nice shops and great walk by the Quay. Definitely... Janet, Nov 2023