Come and visit the ‘Jewel’ in the crown of the Jurassic Coast, The Etches Collection Museum of Jurassic Marine Life situated in the village of Kimmeridge, Dorset
Housing the finest single collection of Late Jurassic age fossils all found by just one man, Dr Steve Etches MBE - you will be mesmerised by sea monsters, prehistoric predators and the marine flora and fauna of 152-157 million years ago when Kimmeridge was but a shallow, tropical sea, during the great age of the Dinosaurs. All of the fossils in the collection were found by Steve in the Kimmeridge Bay locality, from the world-famous oil-rich Kimmeridge Clay, within 2 miles of where the Museum is located.
Learn about their Stories from Deep Time interpreted with state of the art CGI imagery of Jurassic marine life swimming above the amazing fossils in the museum gallery. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/the-etches-collection-museum-of-jurassic-marine-life-p2629493
Dorset Adventure Park is an outdoor, active park featuring the Waterpark and Mud Trail. 18 acres of woodland, and lakes overlooking Corfe Castle. Whether you’re looking to get wet or muddy, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
The Waterpark is a huge woodland aqua assault course spread over two lakes overlooking Corfe Castle. Each lake features different inflatable obstacles for you to tackle. More than 200m of wet inflatable fun for you to challenge your family and friends.
The Mud Trail is an outdoor adventure trail for any age and is fantastic fun in any weather; great on a sunny day, but even more fun in the rain. Featuring 50 different muddy obstacles over a 2km trail. Mud washes off, memories last a lifetime! With free parking and the Snack Shack serving hot and cold food and drinks, come and spend an action packed family day with us! https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/dorset-adventure-park-p2212943
Executed for arson. Transported for asking for fair pay. Given six months hard labour for stealing clothes. 200 years of justice, injustice, crime and punishment are brought to life at Dorchester’s Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum.
The new immersive museum enables visitors of all ages to explore the history of law and order, as well as past and present efforts to achieve justice for all people.
Walk in the footsteps of everyday people who were tried and sentenced in the court. Use the interactive multi-media guides to find out what happened to them. Discover the depths of the cold, dark cells, and stand in the dock of the historic courtroom, where famous novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was a magistrate. Dress up in wigs, gowns and hats to play the part and uncover the remarkable stories of those who passed through the building. Learn what it means when we say “crime,” what we want when we demand punishment for those crimes and how we can all make the present-day world https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/shire-hall-historic-courthouse-museum-p2468793
Monkey World was set up in 1987 by Jim Cronin to provide a permanent, stable home for abused Spanish beach chimpanzees. Today, his wife, Dr Alison Cronin, continues to work with foreign governments worldwide to stop the illegal smuggling of primates from Africa, Asia and South America. The site is now a 65-acre sanctuary for primates from across the globe. Many have been neglected, kept in unnatural conditions or experienced unbelievable cruelty, but here they can all enjoy the company of their own kind in a safe and natural environment. The primate care staff regularly develop and change the enclosures so their environment is constantly evolving on a yearly basis. With over 250 primates of more than 20 different species, Monkey World is the largest ape and monkey rescue centre in the world. In memory of Jim Cronin MBE, the Jim Cronin Memorial fund was established to continue his legacy and promote primate welfare worldwide https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/monkey-world-ape-rescue-centre-p1316523
No trip to Devon is complete without visiting The Donkey Sanctuary.
There’s a tranquil corner of the Jurassic Coast near Sidmouth that hundreds of donkeys call home, and they’re all waiting to meet you.
This free-to-visit, the award-wining attraction has something special to offer, whether you’re looking for quality time with the kids, or somewhere calming to kick back with coffee and cake.
Explore everything the sanctuary has to offer, from award-winning gardens and scenic coast path walks to engaging exhibits and losing yourself in the maze - all year round, whatever the weather. With activities, trails, tours, talks and demonstrations, there’s so much to explore with your own herd. Friendly dogs on leads are welcome too! And there are lots of family events and donkey experiences throughout the year, including overnight camping if you fancy a ‘Bray and Stay’!
Take sanctuary in the Taste of the West award-winning restaurant and enjoy fresh, local, seasonal produce while soaking in the unparalleled coast and country views. Hearty breakfasts, luscious lunches and tempting afternoon treats are dished up daily - best served with friends, family and fabulous views. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/the-donkey-sanctuary-p125753
Devon Sculpture Park is the UK's leading smaller-scale rewilding project and environmental art centre, just a few miles south of Exeter City.
Capability Brown gardens & main exhibition open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/devon-sculpture-park-p2720143
Entertaining guided tours inside the Castle take you through secret doors and even across a haunted landing! Outside there are acres to explore and discoveries to be made. Children can earn themselves a Powderham medal on our nature trail, get stuck in to arts and crafts in the Nature Nook and even plant a seed to take home in our Potting Shed. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/powderham-castle-p2290733
Brownsea Island is a wildlife sanctuary that’s easy to reach but feels like another world from the moment you step ashore. There is wildlife to spot and woodland to explore; outdoor activities to try and beaches to picnic on; birds to watch and trails to wander.
Sample the scouting life at the Outdoor Centre; spend a night under the stars on our Eco Adventure Camping experience, or learn about intriguing tales of survival and adventure at the Trading Post.
Wildlife spotters can follow waymarked routes through a wealth of diﬀerent habitats from the sheltered lagoon and sweeping shorelines, to woodlands and heathland. As you wander, keep an eye out for the famous red squirrel. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/brownsea-island-national-trust-p2360813
The museum which is fully registered with the Museums and Galleries Commission features the history of the town and port of Topsham including shipbuilding and ship owning, and the wildlife of the Exe Estuary. It incorporates a late 17thC house furnished in period. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/topsham-museum-p137673
Voted Devon’s best family attraction, Crealy Theme Park & Resort offers fun and excitement every day!
During your day out, experience over 60 amazing rides and attractions including the adrenaline pumping rollercoasters Twister and Maximus, as well as water rides Tidal Wave and Vortex.
Crealy also homes over 100 animals and for rainy days, you can enjoy over 75,000 square feet of the indoor play area and indoor rides and a rollercoaster!
Crealy also offers a host of live events throughout the Devon School holidays including Summer shows, the SpookFest at Halloween and the extremely popular Christmas Spectacular. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/crealy-theme-park-and-resort-p154963
Set in 33 acres of beautiful woodland on the edge of Dartmoor with some stunning views of the surrounding countryside, Dartmoor Zoological Park is a unique zoo with a fantastic collection of animals. These include tigers, lions, cheetah, jaguar and lynx (the largest variety of big cats in the region), bear, wolves, tapir, capybara, racoon, meerkats, monkeys, a fantastic collection of bugs and reptiles and much more.
Home of the Hollywood film “We Bought a Zoo”, Dartmoor Zoo is a charity dedicated to wildlife conservation, education and research. It works hard to ensure that the development of the zoo does not have an adverse effect on the beautiful woodland environment which makes it quite unique among zoos. As a consequence, they have plenty of open spaces for the kids to run free and visitors are very welcome to bring a picnic and simply enjoy the surroundings. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/dartmoor-zoological-park-p1362693
Upton Country Park in Poole has over 140 acres of beautiful award-winning gardens, open parkland, woodland and shoreline, with stunning Georgian Grade II* listed Upton House as the centrepiece. Something for everyone to enjoy, whatever the season, so come along and see what has made Upton Country Park one of Poole’s premier attractions!
The Country Park is open seven days a week from 8 am – 6 pm (winter timetable) or 8 am – 9 pm (summer timetable).
Winners of two Dorset Tourism Awards 2017 - Venue & Busines of the Year and Dog-Friendly Business of the Year. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/upton-country-park-p140023
Set in the middle of ten miles of golden sand, Bournemouth Pier is the destination of choice for thousands of families every year.
As well as stunning views across the bay, framed by the Isle of Wight on one side and the Purbeck Hills on the other, Bournemouth Pier also boasts a wide and varied selection of attractions, entertainments and retail outlets to make any visit to Bournemouth memorable.
At the entrance of the pier is the Pier Amusements Family Entertainment Centre. Here you will find a wide range of entertainment machines and all of the most up-to-date videos and prizes.
RockReef presents the first pier to shore zip wire! Located at the very end of the Bournemouth Pier and the first of its kind in the world, the PierZip is an experience not to be missed. The RockReef Adventure Activity Centre is also located on the pier and features a wide variety of fun climbing challenges using the Clip ‘n Climb concept, the Pier Cave adventure that includes 3 different levels of challenge and the HighLine aerial obstacle course. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/bournemouth-pier-p1369993
Bovisand beach is a sheltered bay of yellow sand with cliffs either side. Located within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is popular with locals and families. There is a large expanse of flat sand when the tide is out, ideal for ball games and warms the water with the incoming tide, and is perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
On a good day, you can see across to Plymouth sound, and there are plenty of walks to enjoy along the coastline.
The beach is situated on the South West Coast Path. Walk north walk to Plymouth (5 miles) or, a little further, walk south-east to the River Yealm passing other beautiful bays - Heybrook and Wembury. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/bovisand-beach-p432713
Dive into a magical underwater journey and discover 1000’s of amazing creatures above and below the waves at Bournemouth Oceanarium.
Submerge yourself in our newly re-themed underwater tunnel, home to stunning sharks, Carrie the loggerhead turtle and many more. Get up close to a cunning croc, mischievous otter family, mesmerizing jellyfish, colourful clownfish and not forgetting our playful colony of Humboldt penguins!
Shark Wreck Reef! The newly refurbished walk through tunnel display which incorporates a shipwreck theme surrounded by stunning coral encompasses an impressive 350 thousand litres of saltwater! Visitors can get up close to over 75 creatures, including a variety of shark species, southern stingrays, moray eels and a giant turtle. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/oceanarium-the-bournemouth-aquarium-p126323
The Pavilion Theatre and Ballroom is Bournemouth's venue for year round entertainment. Built in the 1920s, this vintage theatre retains its original and elegant styling. Bournemouth's regular home for West End stage shows, Opera, Ballet, Pantomime, Comedy and concerts as well as for corporate presentations and dinner dances, product launches and small conferences. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/pavilion-theatre-p155113
Welcome to the Russell-Cotes: House Gallery Garden – One of the most fascinating historic houses in England. The Russell-Cotes was the home of two Victorian collectors and travel enthusiasts, Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/russell-cotes-art-gallery-and-museum-p137603
Boscombe Chine Gardens were developed originally from a ‘chine’ of heath and mire into a splendid Victorian garden, a central part of the then thriving Boscombe resort. https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/boscombe-chine-gardens-p903503
Pinces Gardens stands on the site of William Lucombe's nursery founded in 1720, most famous for his development of the Lucombe Oak. The nursery became Lucombe, Pince & Co. in the 1820s. By the 1880s the nurserymen had established the 45-yard long wisteria arch as the centrepiece of the garden, and a position that it retains today.
Exeter City Council has managed the site since 1912. Today, the site is home to Pinces Gardens Bowling Club and the Pinces Gardens Croquet Club.
The annual blossom of the wisteria arch attracts visitors every spring. The rose garden, planted in 2008, continues the Victorian theme of the garden. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/pinces-gardens-p763593
Visit the UK's largest Aquarium and be amazed by our fascinating underwater world and how we all play a part in conserving it. All-day tickets come with a free 12-month pass so pay once, and return as much as you like throughout the year!
The National Marine Aquarium is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.
A visit to the Aquarium will take you on a journey across the world's Ocean, from the shores of Plymouth Sound to the coral reefs of the tropics of Australia. With over 4000 animals to meet including sharks, stingrays, octopuses, jellyfish and a cheeky turtle, there will be something different on every visit.
Their Ocean Conservation Trust’s public Host team deliver an action-packed talk schedule, including feeds, workshops and their famous not-to-be-missed interactive Dive Show every day at 2 pm. With four main zones, their exhibits include the UK’s deepest and largest tank, the UK’s largest native exhibit, the UK’s largest single viewing panel and many more interactive displays.
If you’re looking for a day to keep the little ones engaged, then you can break up the learning & inspiration with some hands-on fun in Aquarium’s new Loola Land Soft Play or catch some sun in their stunning garden with sea views and games. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/national-marine-aquarium-p126153
The Mayflower Steps are close to the site in the Barbican area of Plymouth, south-west England, from which the Pilgrims are believed to have finally left England aboard the Mayflower, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to settle in North America on 6 September 1620.
The traditional site of their disembarkation in North America is Plymouth Rock.
The Mayflower Steps are flanked by the British and American flags and mark the final English departure point of 102 passengers who set sail on the Mayflower in 1620.
The actual steps the pilgrims left from no longer exist. A granite block bearing the ship’s name marks the approximate site, while a tablet commemorating the voyage was erected alongside in 1891.
The 'Steps' today consist of a commemorative portico with Doric columns of Portland stone that was built in 1934 and a small platform over the water with a brushed steel rail and a shelf with some nautical bronze artwork and historical information. It is on a small pier that was built about a century ago when some very old houses that were blocking construction of a road around the seaward side of the Citadel leading to the Hoe were cleared together with the significant Watch House. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/the-mayflower-steps-p1398993
Exeter Cathedral is a testament to the creativity, skill and devotion of those who built it. Dating back 900 years, it is one of England's most beautiful medieval cathedrals and one of the finest examples of decorated Gothic architecture in this country. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/exeter-cathedral-p130543
The story of the Mayflower Pilgrims is an enduring tale of courage in the face of adversity. Though these early settlers of the New World play a significant role in America's past, they left their mark in Plymouth too. These early religious refugees, who sailed into Plymouth by chance, were only in port for a few days. Evidence of their stay can be found on the streets around the city and Mayflower is a familiar name heard by many.
The Mayflower set sail for the New World in 1620. However, this epic journey begins some years earlier in the Midlands, in a small village called Scrooby.
The gallery features a model of the Mayflower Ship built on a 1:11 inch scale by apprentices at Devonport Royal Dockyard for the 350th year anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims sailing from Plymouth. The model features 360 fathoms of rigging, 332 handmade blocks and six handmade sails totalling 64 square feet in area. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/mayflower-museum-p928703
Together with the B-Bar, Barbican Theatre offers a diverse programme of theatre, dance, comedy, live music and spoken word. From hilarious Christmas performances for the whole family (as well as just for the adults) to chilled-out soul and jazz music in the relaxed atmosphere of the B-Bar, this vibrant little venue really does have something for everyone.
As well as putting on high-quality performances for the public to enjoy, Barbican Theatre is also a regional centre of excellence for young, new and emerging theatre and dance artists. Their Performance Training programme enables 12-25s to learn dance and theatre skills, whilst residency workshops give practitioners the opportunity to learn from nationally touring artists.
They are committed to developing talent on and off the stage and work with emerging artists in theatre, dance, production and technician, directing, writing, choreograph, producing and many other areas of performing arts. But there’s more to this waterside theatre than meets the eye. For 39 years, they have also been empowering schools and local communities through the arts, raising awareness of important social issues. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/barbican-theatre-p1884723
St Martin’s props up the black-and-white building of Mol’s Coffee House on a corner of Exeter’s historic Cathedral Close. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, consecrated a year before the Norman Conquest, and was once one of six churches clustered in the cathedral’s shadow.
It is the most important and complete church in the centre of Exeter, having escaped both Victorian refurnishing and the Second World War bombing which severely damaged many other Exeter churches. The first church on this site was consecrated on 6 July 1065 by Bishop Leofric, the same bishop who founded the cathedral in Exeter. Its tiny parish –- smaller than the size of a football pitch –- served the workers and traders who crowded into the three- and four-storey houses in the surrounding streets.
The roughcast exterior of red volcanic stone with bright, white Beer stone windows makes it look a little bit like a fancy gingerbread house. Inside, it is simple and full of light. Look out for the communion rails with their closely set balusters designed, according to a 17th-century order from the Archbishop of Canterbury, to keep parishioner's’ dogs from reaching the altar! https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/st-martins-church-p1437773
St Nicholas Priory is Exeter’s oldest building. Founded by William the Conqueror in 1087, the priory with its extensive grounds was dissolved and partly destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. Turned into a rich merchant’s townhouse, the priory was linked to the woollen cloth trade and the busy life of commerce in the city. Turned into homes and later tenements, the city council rescued the building and made it accessible to the public as a living history museum. In the West Wing, visitors can now experience the Undercroft and Tudor Parlour, the medieval kitchen, the Great Hall and Tudor bed-chamber, and special exhibitions by Devon and Exeter Medical Society, who also have their home at the priory. The tranquil meeting room in the North Wing was rescued from near-dereliction in the 1990s by the trust, and now allows a close look at the fine 15th-century arch-braced timber roof. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/st-nicholas-priory-p2424573
On Plymouth's historic Barbican, you'll find an ancient doorway to 32 New Street which takes you back in time to Drake's Plymouth.
This beautiful house is being expertly restored for the Mayflower 400 anniversary and is set to be one of the key legacy projects for Britain’s Ocean City.
The House was built just before 1600 on the street that was originally called Ragg Street due to links with the cloth trade. The house was home to merchants and businessmen who wanted to work and sleep by the bustling harbour.
In the Victorian period, the House was a slum, housing up to 58 people at a time. 32 New Street was rescued from demolition in 1926 with support from the people of Plymouth and opened as a historic house museum in 1930. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/elizabethan-house-p131323
Exeter's Underground Passages were built to house the pipes that brought clean drinking water into medieval Exeter. A guided tour of Exeter's Underground Passages is a memorable event - narrow, dark, interesting and exciting. Visit the heritage centre before your guided tour, packed with interactive exhibits and interpretation.
These are the only passages of this kind open to the public in Britain!
These tours are likely to fill up quickly and are also subject to change at short notice. Pre-booking is advisable and during school holidays is essential to avoid disappointment. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/exeters-underground-passages-p134013
This delightful little garden is an oasis of tranquillity in a sea of shoppers and tourist activity, in a street that was new in the 16th century when wealthy merchants built their houses here. Although a popular tourist stop it is tucked away and can be quiet and completely empty even on a hot August day.
Very low box hedges contain beds of colourful flowers and fragrant herbs in the old Elizabethan manner. Underfoot are cobbled paths and areas of old slate. Stone seats are very welcome to the weary shopper, although unfortunately, this is not a place for those whose mobility is limited, as there are lots of stone steps and no room for ramps.
Relaxing beside the cooling fountain, it is easy to think yourself back in Elizabethan Plymouth. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/elizabethan-gardens-p1417583
Today the enclosed and tranquil waters of Sutton Harbour are filled with the modern fleet of fishing vessels, yachts and leisure craft. But, it is not difficult to imagine the scene as it would have been in the past when the Harbour (then a tidal basin) was similarly filled with the timber vessels, masts, rigging and drying sails of Elizabethan and Georgian sailing ships. The "China House" in particular, still projecting out from the wharves to the right, would have been the focus of considerable maritime trading activity as exports of fine China were, at one time, loaded directly on to vessels there.
Sutton Harbour Marina is in a central sheltered location and combined with the excellent facilities and first-rate customer service it makes for a truly enjoyable experience – the place to berth in Devon.
With one of the finest deep-water harbours in the country, Plymouth makes for an exceptional sailing destination. The Sutton Harbour lock gate is operated 24/7 monitoring both tide height and weather conditions, ensuring safe mooring in Plymouth for winter or summer berthing.
From The Marina, at Sutton Harbour, some of the best cruising waters in the UK are right on the doorstep. Situated in the old quarter of Plymouth, the places to eat and drink, places to shop and to be entertained, make this the natural choice for mooring a boat in Plymouth. Plus, The Barbican, The Hoe, The Lighthouse ‘Smeaton’s Tower’ and Plymouth Lido are only a short stroll from The Marina at Sutton Harbour. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/sutton-harbour-p1692913
There’s more in Exeter’s award-winning museum than you might imagine, its 16 galleries of displays take visitors on a voyage of discovery from pre-history to the present day and from Exeter all around the world. https://www.visitexeter.com/things-to-do/royal-albert-memorial-museum-and-art-gallery-ramm-p265663
Black Friars Distillery, the working home of Plymouth Gin since 1793, is the oldest working gin distillery in England and is situated in the heart of the historic port city of Plymouth.
The building dates back to the early 1400s with the oldest part of the building – the Refectory, a medieval hall with a fine hull-shaped timber roof, dating back to 1431.
Take a guided tour and learn about the art of making the world-famous Plymouth Gin, enjoy a tutored tasting of the range and then relax in the Refectory cocktail lounge – the ultimate place to enjoy a cocktail and where the Pilgrims are said to have spent their last night before setting sail in the Mayflower to the New World. https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/things-to-do/plymouth-gin-distillery-p241563