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Things to Do with the Kids in Poole

There are a huge variety of Things to Do with the kids in Poole! With so much to offer all ages and interests - and they don't all revolve around the beach (but you will need to pack your beach bags for some of our suggestions!).

To help you make the most of your leisure time with your children, we've created ideas for things to do with the kids in and around Poole.

With so many fun activities for kids in Poole, it can be hard to know what to choose and we hope that by listing a mixed-bag of ideas we'll help you make some fantastic memories.

Attend a festival

Attend a festival



  • Moonacre Partyfield - Dorchester Road, Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, BH21 4EU
  • The Black Dog - Stokeford, Wareham, BH20 6AN

About: FAM FEST is an ecletic combination of mini festivals that take place in the afternoon and are ideal for families. They are bringing you four different themes at various Dorset locations this summer. These mini afternoon festivals are ideal for famillies and provide the space to chill, dance, picnic and take in the sounds of the festival vibes with your family.

There are tons of things that will keep the kids interested so it makes it a fun day for all!

Food & Drink: Bring a picnic or enjoy hot food from their stalls and drinks from their pop-up bars.

Fun Rating: 5/5

Upton House Food & Drink Festival 2021

Where: Upton House, Poole Road, Upton, Poole, BH17 7BJ

About: The Upton House Food & Drink Festival is back for 2021 and brings you an array of top quality food, delicious beverages and fantastic music! The weekend is jam-packed with sensational entertainment, from local bands and headliners and some of the best tribute acts, you'll be able to set your eyes on all the best tributes of; Artic Monkeys, Ed Sheeran, Stereophonics, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Dorset's own Rat Race.

Food & Drink: If you're a foodie then this festival is for you! From mouth-watering Spanish Tapas, traditional English classics, to popular Greek dishes, there is something for everyone at Upton House Food & Drink Festival. 

Fun Rating: 5/5

Poole Harbour Festival 2021

Where: Baiter Harbourside Park Poole, BH15 1UY

About: Poole and Bournemouth's biggest and best family live music festival is back this summer for 2021! Across 3 days your get to hear from over 50 acts across 3 different stages.

Food & Drink: An array of delicious street food, and tasty desserts, and an even better selection of local ales and ciders are available.

Fun Rating: 5/5

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Where: Studio Poole, Unit D2 to D5, Dolphin quays, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HU

About: Studio Poole are the largest Poole pottery outlet in the world and have a working studio that allows you and your kids to have fun getting messy with paint. It can be tricky finding unique ideas and activities for your kids to do, but Studio Poole really do provide the perfect activity that suits any age and lets them have fun whilst also being able to use their creative side. 

Food & Drink: Located near popular local restaurants so you can always grab a bite to eat after your fun arts and crafts adventure.

Fun Rating: 5/5

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kid surf poole

Hit the Beach

Where: Sandbanks, Shell Bay and Branksome Chine for the safety, soft golden sands and amenities and Studland for the different scenery and adventure.

About: Poole's Beaches offer so much for the kids to do at all times of the year. In autumn and winter months, just go well wrapped up and the kids will have a blast simply running around the beach, getting messy, building and knocking down sandcastles and just experiencing beach life.

In the summer, you can make a real family day of it on Poole's beaches. You can rent beach huts, barbecues, play beach volleyball or just have a picnic and enjoy the ease of letting the kids run wild on some of the UKs safest and cleanist beaches.

If your children are looking for some adventure, then we recommend you look in to some of the kids watersports activities on offer in Poole. These range from Stand-Up Paddleboarding to surf lessons, sailing and snorkelling. There are many weekend watersports clubs for kids in Poole as well as school holiday clubs.

Check out our in-depth guide to Poole's best beaches here.

Food and Drink: Take your own picnic or hire a barbecue or stop at one of the many beachside cafes and restaurants in Poole. View our favourite BBQ & picnic spots in Poole here.

Fun Rating: 5/5

Leisure Centre Fun

Leisure Centre Fun

Where: David Lloyd

About: David Lloyd Poole is one of Dorset's premier fitness clubs and is the perfect destination for the whole family to have some fun. They offer an array of fantastic kids clubs that your little ones will love! 

Their sports facilities are endless with an array of indoor and outdoor tennis courts, badminton courts, squash courts and 3 swimming pools. 

So next time you're looking for something to keep your kids entertained and away from the tv why not take them to David Lloyd for some fun indoor and outdoor sports activities!

Food & Drink: They have a clubroom which provides an array of freshly made food and drinks menus that have been created by nutritionists and fitness experts. 

Fun Rating: 5/5


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Train Experiences

Train Experiences

Where: Swanage Railway

About: Situated in the Isle of Purbeck, the rebuilt Swanage Railway is the ideal place to enjoy a great family day out on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. This railway attraction operates full-size steam and diesel passenger trains along the five and a half miles of line from Norden to Corfe Castle and down to the Victoria seaside town of Swanage.

The line has stations at Corfe Castle and Harman’s Cross as well as a halt at Herston, on the outskirts of Swanage. 

Food & Drink: There are refreshment buffets at Norden and Swanage stations with picnic tables at most of the stations so you can soak up the atmosphere while enjoying a picnic. If you want something a little special they offer on train dining experiences which you can view here.

Fun Rating: 3/5

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Splashdown Poole

Splashdown Poole

Where:  Tower Park, Poole BH12 4NY

About: Splashdown Poole is a large waterpark situated just 4 miles from central Poole in Tower Park. It was built in 1990 and has been a firm favourite with families ever since; it attracts a whopping 180,000 visitors every year.

There are 13 indoor and outdoor flume rides, and for the little kids, there are three under 5s splash zones. Toddlers will love swimming in Ricky’s Reef and Buccaneers’ SplashZone is a watery, interactive playground for under 8s.

Children must be at least 1m tall to ride the rides and 1.2m for Infinity.  We also have areas specifically for smaller children and they may find that more to their liking.  The waterpark also has trained staff and lifeguards.

Check Splashdown's website for their Family Combo Ticket options to make sure you get the best deal.

Food and Drink: There is a cafe but with limited seating. We recommend you take your own food and drink.

Fun Rating: 4/5

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Animal Days Out

Where: Farmer Palmer's Farm Park, Monkey World, Putlake Adventure Farm, Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre, Oceanarium

About:  There's a good mix of animal days out in Poole and you can't go wrong with a trip to see the animals; it's always a popular option with kids of all ages (adults too!).

Farmer Palmer's is a great choice and just 6 miles from central Poole. It's suitable for babies through to 12 years olds and as well as enjoying seeing, petting and feeding the animals including cows, pigs, pony's, goats and sheep, they can enjoy tractor rides, pedal tractors, waterplay, an indoor and outdoor play area, bouncy castle and a maize maze in the summer months. There's a great cafe with homecooked food on the menu too. View our review on Farmer Palmer's here.

Monkey World is home to over 20 different primate species, it's a fun and educational day out and the Great Ape Play area is the largest adventure play area in the South so will be a huge hit with the kids, there's a good choice of cafes and many picnic areas too. Check out what Total Guide to got up to when we visited Monkey World.

Putlake Adventure Farm is aimed at children from 0 to 10 years. It's a real working farm with animals, tractor rides, an outdoor play area and very popular large indoor soft play area. Located in Swanage, it's a little further out than our other suggestions but you can really make a full day of it by experiencing the rest of Swanage.

Liberty's Owl, Rapture and Reptile Centre is in Ringwood and approx 18 miles from central Poole but another one worth the short travel.  There's a large selection of Birds Of Prey, including Owls, Hawks, Falcons along with a collection of Reptiles.  There are daily Flying Demonstrations so you'll be able to see the beauty.of these birds in action.

Although based in Bournemouth, the extremely popular Oceanarium is just a few miles from Poole and we find it's always a good go-to when it's raining and it's all indoor.  Kids will be excited to see sharks, turtles, stingrays, a crocodile, jellyfish, clownfish, otters and penguins.  There are regular feeding talks, a gift shop and good cafe on-site.

Food and Drink:  Cafes on site in most parks and numerous picnic areas.

Fun Rating: 4/5

Poole Park swings

Parks and Playgrounds

Where:  Our pick of the best parks and play areas in Poole include; Poole Park, Hamworthy Park, Harbourside Park and Upton Country Park.

About: These are just a small selection of the parks and playgrounds in Poole. The link below will take you to the full list but, in our opinion, these deserve a special mention.

Poole Park, with it's central location, lake, crazy golf, two play areas, tennis courts, and not to mention, The Ark - home to a cafe, soft play area and indoor ice rink, is a firm favourite. You'll be able to spend hours here.

You can even move on to Harbourside Park if you've got some energy left! It's just next to Poole Park before you reach Poole Harbour. As it's explosed, it's a good spot for flying kites and windy walks! There's a skate park and fitness station for the active members of the family. There are two car parks.

Hamworthy Park boasts gorgeous views as it is situated on Hamworthy Beach. There's two large play area, fitness stations and large paddling pool open in the summer months and being on the beach, there are lots of options for watersports activities. 

Upton Country Park is a really popular destination and can be enjoyed by all the family. It's home to a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion Hous surruounded by a beautiful botanical walled garden, and adventure play areas for the kids to enjoy. Keep an eye on their website for updates on there seasonal events too; there's always a reason to keep returning! It's free entry but there is a charge for parking.

Food and Drink:  Cafes on site in most parks and numerous picnic areas.

Fun Rating: 4/5

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Day Trip to Brownsea Island

Day Trip to Brownsea Island

Where: Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7EE

About: Providing sensational views across the Purbeck Hills, it's one of Poole's most popular harbours. The island is a sanctury for wildlife; with a plentiful selection of birds such as kingfishers, oystercatchers and lots more.

The island is accessible by boat, and ferry charges apply (separate to NT fees). There are plenty of trails around the island, so it’s the perfect day out for all the family! 

Food & Drink: The Villano Café serves a range of hot and cold drinks, hot and cold snacks and light meals. 

Fun Rating: 4/5

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Where: Poole Museum

About: Poole Museum gives you the chance to explore the interesting history of the lives of people who lived in Poole thousands of years ago. It's an adventurous and educational day out that the whole family are bound to love. If you'd prefer to explore the museum with an educational tour guide so you can understand in-depth detail about Poole then you can click here.

Food & Drink: The Poole Cafe and Terrace is situated on the third floor of the museum and serves an array of lite bites, snacks, hot and cold beverages and sweet treats.

Fun Rating: 4/5

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Soft Play Fun

Soft Play Fun

Where: Let our indoor and soft play area guide show you some of our favourite hot spots.

About: Poole plays host to an array of indoor and soft play areas that provide the space for your young ones to run around and play in a safe and friendly environment. It gives them the chance to meet new people and learn to play with new children as well as having fun playing with all the incredible sensory activities. 

Food & Drink: Most of Poole's soft play areas provide a comfortable and relaxing space where parents can watch their kids whilst sipping on a coffee. Plus, if your kids get a little hot and bothered in the play area they can come down and cool off whilst enjoying some light bites.

Comfortable seating and area for parents with a small cafe serving food and drink.

Fun Rating: 4/5

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