Explore Dorset & The New Forest

The Green House is ideally situated as your base to explore the best of Bournemouth and further afield. Here’s a quick selection of some of favourite Dorset attractions…

Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island is located at the centre of Poole Harbour offering spectacular views across to Studland and the Purbeck Hills. Habitats include pinewoods (home to the increasingly rare red squirrel), heathland and a lagoon with important populations of wading and sea birds. It’s varied and colourful history includes use as a coastguard station, Victorian pottery, Edwardian country estate, and daffodil farm, as well as a decoy to protect Poole in the Second World War. In 1907 it was the site of Baden Powell’s experimental camp from which Scouting and Guiding evolved. The island, which is traffic free, provides a safe and relaxing place for walks and picnics, ideal for families to explore.

There is a National Trust Coffee Shop, Gift Shop, Visitor Centre and Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve. There is a programme of events including family activity days, guided walks and the Brownsea Open Air Theatre.

Brownsea Island is open every day from March to October and at other times by arrangement. During the visitor season there is a regular ferry service from Poole Quay and Sandbanks. There is also a day trip service from Bournemouth Pier and Swanage Pier in summer.


Tel: 01929 462383
From Poole: Sailing at 10am then every half hour with last boat back from Island at 5pm.
Approximate admission charge – Adult £8.50 Child £5.50 Family £22.50
From Sandbanks: Sailing at 10 then every half hour with last boat back from Island at 5pm, no sailing at 1pm
Approximate admission charge – Adults £5 Child £4 Family £14
Telephone – 01590 616203

Burley Wagon Rides

Burley Wagon Rides allow you to see the New Forest at a leisurely pace. All rides begin by going past the village church and into woodland where you can often catch glimpses of fallow deer. Rides continue on quiet lanes around the village, the shorter trail taking you past pretty forest cottages, whilst the longer trail allows more views of open forest and woodland. Forest ponies and cattle are a common sight as are the 2 village donkeys. Booking is advisable during busy times, ie school holidays and weekends.
Address – Burley Wagon Rides, The Cross, Burley, Hampshire, BH24 4AB
Approximate admission charge – from £3-£16
Telephone – 07786371843

Christchurch Castle Ruins

Christchurch Castle was built in the late 11thC to protect the town’s and river access to the interior of Wessex. It was built inside the Saxon fort whose walls were probably used to build the castle mound or motte. The luxurious Contable’s Hall was built around 1150. The stone keep, (slighted after 1650), replaced a wooden structure about 1300. The castle saw action in the Anarchy about 1147 and in the Civil War in 1645.

Address – Castle Street, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1DT
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – 9am-5pm
Telephone –01202495127

The New Forest

The New Forest is a lively, working landscape with many secrets to discover. The only way to reveal The New Forest’s hidden gems and truly appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of the forest is to get out there and explore. Try to escape from the confines of the car and head out on foot, bicycle or on horseback to get a more intimate feel of the forest, its coast and villages.

The New Forest is a genuine walker’s paradise with many circular and linear routes. There are many picnic site with toilet facilities, all of which are carefully sited to allow visitors safe and easy access to a variety of forest landscapes. All year round there are guided walks where local experts will tell you about the history, geology, wildlife and folklore beneath your feet. You can even explore the forest on a ranger-led New Forest event. The New Forest is a fantastic place for cycling with miles and miles of traffic free tracks leading you right into the heart of the forest with few hills to worry about so come and discover the New Forest for yourself.

Compton Acres

Set in 11 acres with spectacular views overlooking Poole Harbour and the Purbeck Hills beyond – Compton Acres takes you on a relaxing journey around the gardens of the world. From Italy to Japan, 10 distinctive gardens each in turn reveal their individual charm, character and beauty. Established in 1920 as one man’s dream, Compton Acres is one of the finest gardens in Europe. Also Model railway ‘OO’ gauge, 4 restaurants, plant centre, delicatessen, retail area, craft shop and free parking.

Address – Compton Acres, 164 Canford Cliffs Road, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7ES
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – 9am-6pm summer 10am-4pm winter
Approximate admission charge – Adult £6.95 Child £3.95 Family £17.00
Telephone –01202 700778

Corfe Castle

A 1000 year history provides 1000 reasons to visit one of Britain’s most important and dramatic ruins, dominating the skyline of Purbeck. Whether it is for spectacular scenery, to learn about the fascinating history of this medieval castle or just to enjoy a leisurely day out, Corfe Castle has plenty to offer the whole family.
Address – Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5EZ
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – 10am-6pm
Approximate admission charge – Adults £6.20 Child £3.10 Family £15.50
Telephone –01929 481294

Dorset Cruises

Dorset Cruises fleet comprises purpose built seagoing ships, each, with a certificate to carry around 200 passengers.
They have wide open decks, comfortable observation saloons, well-stocked refreshment bars and toilet facilities. A well informed commentary is provided on most sailings.

Bicycles and well behaved dogs are welcome aboard (at the discretion of the master) and carried free of charge. Dogs are not permitted to land upon Brownsea Island.

Bournemouth Cruises

Situated on Dorset’s finest, blue flag rated, golden sandy beach, Bournemouth pier offers the perfect place to cruise the bay and harbour.
From here you can enjoy a scenic cruise East towards the Isle of Wight or head West along Dorset’s historic Jurassic Coast to Swanage. Also discover our unique adrenelin rush, Shockwave, speedboat boat rides exclusive to Bournemouth Pier.

Edmondsham House and Gardens

Fine Tudor/Georgian manor house with Victorian stables and dairy. Six-acre garden and 1-acre walled garden. Owner personally conducts tour of house which has interesting exhibits. Organically-run garden attracts artists and specialist groups as well as visitors to the house. A 12thC church is open adjoining garden.

Address – Edmonsham, Nr Cranbourne, Wimbourne, Dorset, BH21 5RE
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – April to October
Approximate admission charge –House and Garden Adults £5.00 Child £1 Garden only Adults £2.50 Child £0.50

Lulworth Castle and Park

An early 17th century hunting lodge which was unfortunately ruined by a fire in 1929: the exterior is restored and displays inside recreate the history of the building. The adjoining 18th Century chapel is the first free-standing Roman Catholic Church built in England since the Reformation and contains an exhibition of 18th and 19thC vestments, church and recusant silver. Adventure playground and woodland walk adjoin the animal farm where you can help feed the animals. Indoor children’s activity room.

Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre

Monkey World is an award winning and internationally acclaimed primate rescue centre, as seen on Channel 5, BBC, ITV, CNN, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Sky News. The 65-acre park is home to over 250 rescued and endangered apes and monkeys of 18 different species.

Monkey World successfully completed the world’s largest primate rescue operations of 88 capuchin monkeys, and also provides a home for chimpanzees, orang-utans, gibbons, woolly monkeys, lemurs and stump-tailed macaques. Take the woodland walk, drop in on the regular keepers talks or even let off steam in the huge ‘Great Ape’ play area! Youngsters love playing in the 2-acre adventure play park with a huge variety of swings, slides and climbing frames.

An ideal way to spend a day and support the rescue and rehabilitation of primates from around the world.
Address – Monkey World – Ape rescue centre, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6HH
Opening times Open every day except Christmas day from 10am to 5pm. Open 10am to 6pm in July and August.
Approximate admission charge – Adults £11 Child £7.75 Family £34
Telephone –01929462537

Moors Valley Country Park

A 1000-acre Country Park and forest with something for everyone. Adventure play trail and play areas, tree-top walkway, narrow-gauge steam railway, golf centre, Go Ape high wire adventure, restaurant and country shop.

Explore waymarked trails on foot or by bike; bring your own or hire from the cycle hire centre. Disabled access and facilities, wheelchair and mobility scooter hire (pre-booking required). Events for adults and children organised throughout the year.
Address – Horton Road, Ahsley Heath, Nr Ringwood, BH24 2ET
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – 8am-8pm
Approximate admission charge – Parking From £1-£8
Telephone –01425470721

Museum of Electricity

Established in 1981, this museum houses one of the most extensive collections of historic electrical equipment in Great Britain. The building dates from 1903 and used to be the town’s power station. It has been carefully restored and provides an ideal backcloth to more than 700 exhibits. Large domestic collection and `hands on’ items for children in conjunction with school curriculum. Bournemouth tramcar of 1914 now on display.

National Motor Museum Beaulieu

Beaulieu, in the heart of the New Forest is one of the UK’s leading tourist attractions. Beaulieu is a guaranteed great family day out, with so many attractions to discover in acres of beautiful grounds and lots for everyone to enjoy, whatever their age.

Visitors have a birds-eye view of the grounds when they ride the high-level, mile long Monorail which even passes through the roof of the Motor Museum. Alternatively, the replica 1912 open-topped London Bus is a fun way to seek out Beaulieu’s sights.

The motor vehicle collection in the National Motor Museum remains one of Beaulieu’s most famous attractions with more than 250 on show from the earliest examples of motoring and family cars of the 30s and 40s through to classic cars of the 70s and 80s and rare motoring oddities such as a giant orange on wheels. Star Vehicles currently on show include TV favourites, Del Boy’s Reliant Regal and Mr Bean’s lime green Mini. Possibly the nation’s most famous three-wheel vehicle, the Regal van featured in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses. It was the sole transport for the Trotter family until Del Boy went upmarket and purchased a Capri Ghia.

In the popular James Bond Exhibition you will be ‘shaken but not stirred’ by genuine cars from the films. You can see the Aston Martin Volante from ’The Living Daylights’, and the Ford driven by Daniel Craig in his first incarnation as Bond in ‘Casino Royale’ plus the Lotus Submarine car from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, twice voted the nation’s favourite on-screen vehicle. A selection of magnificent memorabilia includes Jaw’s shirt from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ and Odd Job’s bowler hat as seen in ‘Goldfinger’.

Visitors can see the magnificent rooms and treasures of Palace House – Lord Montagu’s family home since 1538. History comes alive with real Victorian characters, tales from the Butler, Cook and Housemaids give a fascinating insight into the workings of a Victorian household, showing their life ‘Upstairs and Downstairs’.

The Secret Army exhibition tells the story of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) which trained secret agents at the Beaulieu ‘Finishing School’ during WWll. The exhibition introduces visitors to the training schools, instructors, secret agents and unsung heroes of the SOE, their training and secret missions.

The 13th century Beaulieu Abbey features a Film Presentation and an Exhibition of the daily life of its Cistercian Monk founders, leading into the picturesque serenity of the Cloisters and Herb Garden. Upstairs in the Abbey’s Domus, impressive Wall Hangings depict scenes from the history of the Abbey.

Gardens to enjoy include the fragrant Victorian Flower Garden, the informal Wilderness Garden, dating back to the 1770s and the Ornamental Kitchen Garden laid out on the site of the original 1872 Palace House kitchen garden. Visitors can also take a leisurely stroll along the meandering pathways beside Beaulieu River and Monks’ Mill Pond.

Address – Beaulieu, Brokenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – 10am-6pm
Approximate admission charge – Adults £16 Youth£9.60 Child £8.60
Telephone – 01590 612345

New Forest Cider Brewery

Traditional forest commoner’s farm holding, where farmhouse cider is made and sold from the cowshed on farm. Generally farm animals to see. Also vintage cider press, apple press and apple mills in barn. Cider presses are usually working in autumn season only depending on supply of apples available.

There is also an annual open weekend. See website for details.
Address – LittleMead, Pound Lane, Burley, BH24 4ED
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – 10am-6pm
Approximate admission charge – Free
Telephone – 01425 403589

New Forest Reptile Centre

The place to visit if you want to discover more about reptiles and amphibians. Specially created outdoor pens display all the snakes and lizards in Britain as well as all our frogs and toads. There’s also a self-guided trail which is about 1.5 miles and is easy-going. Events run throughout Jul and Aug, booking is essential.
Address – Crow Lane, Ringwood, BH24 3EA
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – Mar-Oct 10am-5pm weekends only from Nov 10am-4pm
Approximate admission charge – Adults £7.50 Child £4.95 Family £22.50
Telephone – 01425 476487

RSPB Arne Nature Reserve

Arne is celebrated for its lowland heathland, which is rare in Europe, and its wildlife including Dartford warblers, nightjars, all six species of British reptile, plus many species of butterflies, dragonflies, and moths. It is also home to nearly 500 types of flowering plant.

A new Visitor Information Centre has been constructed with staff and volunteers manning it during the day. Nest cameras have also been installed with images shown in the Centre which can be seen during the breeding season.
Address – RSPB,Arne, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5BJ
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – Dawn to Dusk
Approximate admission charge – Low Season £2 all day High Season £2 for 2 hours £4 all day
Telephone – 01929 553360

Studland Beach and Nature Reserve

Fine sandy beaches stretch continuously for 3 miles from South Haven Point to the chalk cliffs of Handfast Point and Old Harry Rocks and include Shell Bay. A designated section of naturist beach is at Knoll beach. The heathland behind the beach is a National Nature Reserve with many rare birds. Spyway Farm and Blackers Hole near Langton Matravers support important bird and butterfly habitats as well as rare plants and give access to the sea at Dancing Ledge. NB Dogs are only permitted on the main beaches from Sep – Jun and must be on a lead from 1 May. Rest of the year on South Beach and Shell Bay only

Swanage Railway

Enjoy a nostalgic steam-train ride on the Purbeck line. Steam trains run most weekends throughout the year, with daily running Apr to Oct, Christmas week and Easter week. Many special events are held during the year, including train-driving lessons, see our brochure for details. The line operates to Norden, 6 miles from Swanage, where park-and-ride facilities are available. The line goes through the historic village of Corfe Castle offering magnificent views of the historic castle ruins.
Address – Swanage Railway, Station House, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1HB
Tel: 01929 425800
Guide to opening times (please call the venue to confirm in advance of your visit – April-Oct 11am-5pm Oct April – 11am-4pm

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