Parks

Family Park Poole or Bournemouth: 20 Popular Options

Curated by . Last updated on 6th July 2022 12:58pm.

Family Park Poole or Bournemouth: 20 Popular Options

Looking for a park Poole or Bournemouth-based to take the kids for the day?  Parks are the perfect spot for a picnic and to reconnect with nature — all the better if there is a playground and activities to keep the children entertained too.  Here are some ideas to get your search started.

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1. Moors Valley Country Park and Forest Ashley Heath

Park Poole: Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

One of the country’s best rural recreational facilities, with each unique visit bringing out the explorer in everyone.

Dorset Council employs a team of Rangers to look after the Park and Visitor Centre. Forestry England manages 8,000 hectares of woodland and heath between Dorset and Surrey, which includes the forest in Moors Valley.

Visit England Awards for Excellence 2018: Bronze for Large Visitor Attraction Of The Year. With over 750,000 visitors a year, it is a very popular park Poole and Bournemouth-based.

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2. Upton Country Park Poole

Park Poole: Upton Country Park

This popular historical country estate and accompanying listed Georgian mansion house is a top park Poole-based, and has something to keep everyone entertained, young and old.

One of the top things to do in Poole, Upton has won many awards, including Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Award 2020, Green Flag Award from Green Flag Heritage, Dorset Tourism Awards 2020 and South West England Tourism Excellence Awards 2020/2021 Commended.

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3. Whitecliff Park Poole

Leafy Whitecliff Park Poole has splendid views across Poole Harbour and is popular with families, dog walkers and sports enthusiasts. There's a large playground to suit children of all ages and a large sand pit at one end. There are a few picnic benches available for lunch and the nearby cricket pavillion has toilets. The council has recently invested in new paths for walkers and cyclists, most recently splitting the cyclists from pedestrians on the main path by the harbour, which leads you to Baiter Park and on to Poole Quay. Football, cricket, cycling and running are activities locals enjoy here year round. There is also a car park and refreshments van onsite too.


4. Poole Park Poole

Poole Park, which borders Poole town's magnificent harbour and includes 110 acres of parkland, big play parks, a saltwater lagoon, and stunning lakes, has been awarded Green Flags, in recognition of well-managed parks and green spaces. A fitness trail, tennis courts, a bowling green, and crazy golf are among the amenities available at this park Poole-based. You can rent a sailing dinghy or a pedalo on the lake. There are also two spacious and very safe play areas with slides and swings for children. If it rains, the soft play and pottery studio are great places for kids to burn off some energy. Cricket matches, parkruns, and model racing yachts are among the special attractions.


5. Compton Acres Poole

Compton Acres is regarded as one of England's most notable ornamental gardens, with approximately 3000 plant types, which makes it a popular park Poole-based. The gardens are laid out in a circular pattern, like gems on a necklace. Visitors can explore each of the gardens in turn because to the distinctive layout. There is also a path around the garden that is step-free. Built by Mr Thomas Simpson in 1920, it still regarded as one of England's finest privately held gardens, spanning over 10 acres of horticultural heaven. You can relax in the charming Café & Tea Rooms, browse the treasures in the Gifted Moment store, or explore the exciting world of plants in the Plant Centre.


6. Bournemouth Lower Gardens

The Lower Gardens in Bournemouth are Grade II Listed Gardens that are approximately a five-minute walk from the town's major shopping hub, beach, and pier. Arguably the most famous park Poole and Bournemouth-based, beautiful floral arrangements blend a variety of colours, textures, and scents in the gardens and the 1930s rock garden. During the summer, there are a variety of activities available, including live music at the Pine Walk bandstand, an aviary, a mini golf course, and an art exhibition. It's a lovely spot to sit and sip coffee while watching the world go by or enjoy a great picnic with friends and family, as well as a welcome respite from the town's hustle and bustle.


7. Hamworthy Park Poole

Hamworthy Park is another park Poole-based which boasts spectacular views across to the Purbecks and Brownsea Island. The harbour runs along the length of the park, with a small beach lined by colourful beach huts. From here you can sunbathe and go for a paddle in the warm shallow waters. Another highlight of this park is the enormous circular paddling pool, fantastic for children in the summer. There are two good-sized playgrounds next to each other for older and younger children, including a zip-wire. The nearby cafe has outdoor seating and a good selection of food and drink, such as small wine bottles to savour while watching the sunset. Car parking and toilets are also onsite.


8. Alum Chine Play Park Bournemouth

The Alum Chine playground overlooks the beach and a park Poole and Bournemouth-based which has a famous connection. It is inspired by the classic novel 'Treasure Island', whose author, Robert Louis Stevenson, resided at the head of Alum Chine from 1885 to 1887. A beached, desert island shipwreck; a spy glass hill lookout with a functional telescope; a wooded trail that leads to an actual treasure box - see if you can find it; and Captain Flint's skeleton showing the way to his buried riches are all play components inspired by the novel. Water play pumps, as well as typical playground equipment like a wide double-width slide and basket swings, are among the other features.


9. Hengistbury Head Park Bournemouth

Hengistbury Head is remarkable not just because of its diverse habitats, which include heathland, grassland, scrub, forest, freshwater wetlands, and coastland, but also because of its internationally significant archaeology and geology. It's also a park Poole and Bournemouth-based where the whole family can enjoy themselves. Take the land train to Mudeford Sandspit for a calm and easy ride, then relax with a cup of tea and a piece of cake, or something more hearty in one of the cafés and take in the view. After a short climb you are rewarded by magnificent views from the summit of Warren Hill across Poole Bay. The Visitor Centre's team can also help make the most of your day.


10. The Quomps Park Christchurch

The Quomps Park is a great park Poole and Bournemouth-based. A children's play park with a well-equipped play area, enclosed splash park, shallow paddling pool, and water play fountains is located in the beautiful Christchurch Quay. The Green Flag Award is held by Christchurch Quay and is a popular local destination. There is an ice cream kiosk if you're in need of a nice treat or to cool down, and usefully sells swimming nappies too. There are also public toilets, and numerous benches and spots to lay a picnic blanket for lunchtime. There are many grassy spaces where you can engage in outdoor activities, as well as a novelty golf course if you're feeling sporty too.


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11. Treasure Island Play Park in Poole

The second Treasure Island inspired play park Poole-based, this playground is nestled above the cliffs close to the beautiful sandy beach below. A pirate-themed play area with two fitness stations, it comprses of a large wooden pirate ship, dolphin springer, suspended boat, junior swings and mixed cradle swings. There is also a large open lawn in which to play ball games and picnic tables for a snack or lunch. Surrounded by established trees and its proximity to the beach makes it the perfect spot for families. Opposite you can get refreshments at The Canford pub, and also within Canford Cliffs village which is a 5 minute walk away. There is free on-road parking available too.


12. Kingston Lacy Wimborne Minster

Kingston Lacy is an elegant family residence designed to look like a Venetian palace. On the south lawn, have a summer picnic, or let the kids run wild in the nearby play areas. Pass through the Japanese Garden on your way to the Kitchen Garden, where Queen Victoria used to send her own gardeners for inspiration. Alternatively, explore the estate's enormous 8,500 acres, which include Iron Age hill forts, vibrant heathland, water meadows, and the world's oldest pedigree herd of Red Ruby Devon cattle. Kingston Lacy is a popular destination for family outings, and you can understand why. Whatever your age or season, an adventure awaits with a rich history and acres of garden and parks to explore.


13. Canford Park SANG Poole

The newest park Poole-based, Canford Park SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) was opened in 2019 by developers on the site of the old Canford Magna golf course. The current 14 hectare park could ultimately extend to around 44 hectares and be a similar size to Upton Country Park. The SANG provides circular walking paths with varied routes, a wide range of benches and way markers and dog waste and litter bins, a dedicated fenced dog training area, a map of the SANG and identifying key features and ecological areas of interest, a ranger hut for Park Rangers who will, in time, maintain the wider SANG and an easily accessible car park for visitors from further afield.


14. Avon Heath Country Park Ringwood

Avon Heath Country Park is a Green Flag–awarded park with acres of lowland and wetland heath, grassland, and heather, as well as pine and birch trees. Sand lizards, smooth snakes, Dartford warblers, woodlarks, and the silver-studded blue butterfly are among the park's internationally significant biodiversity. A popular family park Poole and Bournemouth-based, a zip line, climbing wall, sand pit, tree house, big insect climbing sculptures, trampoline, and other activities are available in a large play area. A green area is also available for ball activities, frisbee, kite flying, and picnics. The play area is close to the café and visitor centre, as well as the car park, which is only a short distance away.


15. Durlston Country Park Swanage

Durlston Country Park is a fantastic destination for kids and families all year round, with plenty to do. Durlston Castle has a well-stocked shop with pocket money souvenirs, food, drinks, and baby changing facilities, as well as colourful interactive displays, live wildlife cameras, a fossil room, and family-friendly exhibitions. Outside, there are more than 320 acres of countryside to explore, all of which are teeming with interesting wildlife. Four well-marked paths will help you get the most out of your stay, with several of them appropriate for child buggies, particularly those with wider wheels and all-terrain capability. A few paved trails and a road go down to Anvil Point Lighthouse, which is ideal for buggies with smaller wheels.


16. Brownsea Island Poole

Brownsea Island is the biggest island in Poole Harbour and well worth an inclusion as a park Poole and Bournemouth-based. The National Trust manages this wildlife haven, which is accessible by foot ferry from Poole Quay. Upon arrival at Brownsea you'll find a visitors centre, cafe and amongst other historical buildings, even a church. Families will find a natural play area with balance beams, climbing frames, and see-saws in the centre of the island. You can practise leaping, climbing, and bounding here; can you equal the rare red squirrels' dexterity? Navigate the island and climb nine different trees, ranging from oak to pine, each with a unique story to tell.


17. Boscombe Chine Gardens Bournemouth

Boscombe Chine Gardens grew from a 'chine' of heath and mire into a magnificent Victorian park, a focal point of the bustling Boscombe resort at the time. With formal flower beds, huge grassy areas for amusement, mini golf, and a water-themed playground, these gardens offer a great blend of scenery and activity. BCP Council owns and operates the Squirrel Cafe and Mini Golf. Having a cup of coffee or playing a round of crazy golf here helps to support a park Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch-based. Children can also enjoy a ball court and a water play area. Much of the tree canopy has been removed from the Chine, and native grasses have been planted to improve the site's habitat.


18. Arne RSPB Reserve Wareham

Arne is another parks Poole and Bournemouth-based famed for wildlife. It is one of the few spots in the UK where you may see all six of the country's native reptiles. It's a magnificent setting with dramatic open heathland and historic oak woods, located on Poole Harbour and inside the Dorset Area of Natural Beauty. See the Dartford warbler, rutting sika deer and enormous flocks of avocets and spoonbills. There are a few walking trails in Arne that allow you to take in everything it has to offer, from harbour views to woodland fauna. There is a cafe near the car park, as well as a timber playground for children in the centre of the reserve.


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19. Highcliffe Castle Christchurch

The grounds of Highcliffe Castle offer woodland paths, spectacular perspectives, and groomed lawns, and the Castle itself is a Grade 1 listed building of exceptional architectural and historical significance. From the manicured Parterre beside the Wintergarden to woodland leading up to Steamer Point Nature Reserve, the Castle rests on 14 acres of land. The grounds make it a particularly popular park Poole and Bournemouth-based because of the woodland paths, magnificent view points, and wonderful picnic areas. First inspired by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown's work, they have undergone many changes throughout the years but still preserve some of Capability's original alterations. A descending zig zag pathway leads to Highcliffe Beach, making it accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs.


20. Delph Woods Park Poole

Delph Wood, a mixed woodland of 24 acres, was most likely a park Poole-based where locals extracted gravel for construction. An old gravel pit has become a pond and watering hole for woodland animals such as foxes and Roe deer. A 1-mile forest walk leads from the parking area into the woods and is designated by yellow topped poles. Look for the colourful and vocal Nuthatches and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, as well as the beautiful 200-year-old common Oak, which stands 80 feet tall and has a circumference over 13 feet. You'll also find a cricket pitch, small streams and the Castleman Trailway which borders on one side. This disused railway line is popular with cyclists.


Additional Resources

Some extra information that you might find useful when searching for ‘family park Poole or Bournemouth’:


That’s the end of our list, thank you for reading 'Family Park Poole or Bournemouth: 20 Popular Options'. Do you know of any information we could add or have missed from this article? Feel free to get in touch and let us know.

Alternatively, you can have a look at the other lists within the Families section.


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