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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.

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.

TGt Favourite:

EasyRiders is a dedicated watersports school that offers the best tuition from beginner to expert in all Kitesports, Stand Up Paddleboarding and Foiling disciplines for novices to intermediates through to instructor courses and high end coaching. 

SUP Safari is a specialist Stand Up Paddleboard and Kayak Centre based in Sandbanks, Poole. They offer all-inclusive SUP club, lessons, rentals, tours and sales.

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

Farm Park

Farm Park

Where: Farmer Palmer's, Wareham Rd, Organford, Poole, Dorset, BH16 6EU

About: Farmer Palmer's is a great choice if you're looking for things to do with kids, as it's just 6 miles from central Poole and is suitable for children 0-8yrs old.

Kids can not only enjoy seeing, petting and feeding the animals but also can enjoy tractor rides, pedal tractors, waterplay, indoor and outdoor play areas, a bouncy castle, and so much more.

Food & Drink: There's a great cafe with fresh homecooked food on the menu. View their menu here.

Fun Rating: 5/5

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Rockley Watersports Poole

Rockley Watersports

Where: Rockley Point, Poole, Dorset, BH15 4RW

About: Rockley Watersports provides school and group activity trips in the UK and France, holiday camps, birthday parties, RYA courses for all levels and ages and residential holidays, as well as a Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Outdoor Adventure courses.

They host some fantastic kids multi-activity days that are perfect for keeping your kids entertained. Their multi-activity days take place at either Rockley Beach or Poole Park Lake and occur during the school holidays.

Your kids can have fun doing an array of activities, such as:

  • Windsurfing
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Raft building
  • Dinghy sailing
  • Crabbing
  • Orienteering...and more

Fun Rating: 5/5

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Mermaid Cruise

Mermaid Cruise

Where: Dorset Belle Pleasure Cruises Mermaid Cruise goes from Poole Quay at 6pm and sets sail towards Poole Bay, once through the harbour entrance at Sandbanks our quest to locate the Mermaids begin. 

About: You and your kids can aboard the Dorset Belle” and have an adventure searching for the Dorset Mermaids.

Early evening is the best time to spot them, their beautiful shiny tails glimmer in the evening sun making it an ideal photo opportunity, if you are lucky they may even swim around the boat. They have a fully licensed bar onboard located in their saloon along with toilet facilities. 

Food & Drink: You can add any freshly made Valona pizza for:

  • Adult - £10
  • Child - £5

Fun Rating: 5/5

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Itsy Bitsy Dance

Itsy Bitsy Dance

Where: Poole

About: Itsy Bitsy Dance Poole offers classes that provide a magical start to your little ones dance journey. Their classes have been designed to bring out children's imagination, confidence and musicality through the art form of dance.

They offer a number of different classes including toddler street dance, ballet and tap for ages between 18 months - 7 years.

Food & Drink: They serve the tastiest barista style coffee whilst parents/guardians are waiting.

Fun Rating: 4/5

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Pottery

Pottery

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. 

Their Have-A-Go experience is the ideal family-friendly activity which allows you to paint your own ceramic masterpiece from their wide selection of bisque animals and fantasy creatures, as well as seasonal exclusive options.

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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Swimming

Swimming

Where: Individuality Swimming and Fitness, Suite 1 Discovery Court Business Centre, 551 - 553 Wallisdown Road, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5AG

About: Looking for things to do to keep your little ones entertained?

Whether they're off school and needing something to do to keep themselves busy, or they still have lots of energy after finishing school and need an after school activity to make them tired, whatever it is Individuality Swimming and Fitness have an array of swimming clubs and groups that your kids will love.

Individuality Swimming and Fitness offer swimming lessons at local pools for babies, kids & adults in Poole and the surrounding areas. They provide the following lessons:

Fun Rating: 5/5

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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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Oceanarium

Animals Parks

Where: 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!).

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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Museum

Museum

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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