We’ve had our National Trust Membership for a couple of years now. We have definitely saved money by purchasing the membership, but it’s time to start expanding our National Trust adventures and finding new places to visit. Starting locally, I’m going to showcase some of my favourite National Trust places to visit in Dorset
Many of these National Trust locations are dog friendly which is a bonus for us as we like to explore new places to explore with our Labrador Lola.
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National Trust Kingston Lacy
Kingston Lacy is one of our favourite days out in Dorset for adults and children alike. There is so much for all the family to do including taking your four legged friend along too.
A country house and estate located near Wimborne, Dorset, designed to resemble an Italian palace. If you wish to tour the house you can book online free of charge, but availibity can run out during busy days. The house is well worth a visit, with plenty of history and information to be soaked up.
We love to explore the woodland trail, it’s quickly become one of my favourite National Trust walks. The views that it provides are stunning and all the while providing lots of exercise for Lola and tree climbing for Miss A.
Whilst dogs aren’t allowed on the front lawn and some of the gardens, its well worth a visit without the pets to explore all the amazing scenery Kingston Lacy has to offer.
At Christmas time, it’s well worth a night time visit to on of their popular events a tour along the illuminated garden. We visited on Christmas Eve evening after dark last year and spent half an hour on the illuminated path followed by a hot chocolate before going home to settle in for the evening. It was a great way to end our Christmas Eve.
National Trust Max Gate
Max Gate is one of the popular places to visit in Dorset. Located a short walk from Dorchester town centre. A Victorian home designed by Thomas Hardy in 1885 who wanted to show he was part of the wealthy middle class in the area. The house was named after a nearby tollgate keeper named Mack.
Exploring Max Gate, you can expect to see the rooms where Hardy lived until his death, find the pet cemetery and the large garden where Hardy would spend a lot of his time.
National Trust Hardy Monument
The Hardy Monument can be found above the village of Portesham in Dorset. Built in 1944 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Mastermind Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The location of the Hardy Monument is very dog friendly, but be mindful of cattle grazing in the area. The carpark opens from Weds to Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm between Easter and September weather permitting.
National Trust Studland Bay
A beach we have never visited is Knoll Beach at Studland Bay. Located in Studland, near Swanage in Dorset. Sarah from Digital Motherhood loves the views to Pool and Bournemouth and the Isle Of Wight. This is definitely going to be a beach we visit this year judging by the pictures she has taken.
There are plenty of walks to be taken near Studland Bay including walking to the famous Old Harry rocks where you can see amazing views of the Jurassic Coast. A bonus for us is the pubs we can stop at along the way.
There is also a family friendly circular walk through the dunes at Studland Bay where you can spot a seahorse sculpture, amazing views across the sea and plenty of wildlife.
National Trust Corfe Castle
We have visited Corfe Castle a couple of times now, once during October for Halloween, and another time during the Spring. Both times, the views from the top of the castle were amazing, even on grey days.
Corfe Castle is the setting Enid Blyton based Kirrin Castle on in her stories of Famous Five, and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how much fun the character would have had when you explore the grounds.
Corfe Castle is located in Corfe, Dorset, and there is a large free car park for National Trust members at the bottom of the hill which is a great bonus. A short walk from the car park and you can spend hours exploring the ruins.
National Trust Golden Cap
Golden Cap is near Lyme Regis in Dorset, and provides stunning views from the highest point on the south coast. It gets it name from the golden colour of the cliffs. Hayley from Devon Mama enjoys walking to Langdon Hill which is a wood based walk suitable for dogs and buggies. She also explains how it’s very close to the filming of Broadchurch. Definitely a place for us to visit soon.
National Trust Brownsea Island
Brownsea Island is accessed via ferry from Poole Quay and Sandbanks. I remember visiting Brownsea Island for the first time when I was on a school trip years ago, and couldn’t wait to go back a couple of years ago. We visited during Easter for the Easter Egg hunt, but we also took time to explore the island and all it has to offer.
Brownsea Island is a full day out by the time you factor the ferry times in. Ferry’s do leave at frequent intervals but we did find in the nice weather the queues were increasing.
On Brownsea Island you can see some amazing peacocks, a lot of them liked to show off when we were there, so we got some amazing photos to remember the day. You may also be able to spot red squirrels as they go about their business on the island.
I’ve definitely been given some inspiration to visit Golden Cap and Studland Bay by writing this post. Where are your favourite National Trust properties to visit in Dorset?