Taking the kids to one of the amazing holiday parks in Dorset? As well as being a fantastic break, you can also make your trip educational by immersing them in the history of the area. This county’s ancient heritage is definitely worth exploring, and there’s nothing more likely to spark children’s imaginations than the idea of a mighty castle standing tall above the landscape.
It’s tempting, of course, to think of the region along the Jurassic Coast as only being notable for its amazing beaches and holiday parks. In Dorset, however, there’s so much more to see, so make sure you don’t miss out on these three historical favourites.
Christchurch Castle Ruins
Christchurch is an extremely popular destination to visit, and it’s here you’ll find the ruins of a twelfth-century fort which once loomed large over the town. The remnants of this motte-and-bailey castle are a truly impressive sight, steeped in ancient history. You’ll also be able to take in some great views across the town from the hilltop vantage.
Nearby is a rare example of a domestic house dating back to the Norman occupation of England, which is a great way to remind the kids that the past wasn’t all about castles and knights – there were regular people living their everyday lives back then, too.
While the remains of real castles have an amazing sense of history about them, younger children may be slightly disappointed to see how little is left of them! That’s why a visit to Lulworth Castle may be a popular choice. Though it’s not truly an ancient fortification, this seventeenth-century mock castle, restored in the twentieth-century, is convincing enough that you’ll feel as though you really have travelled back in time.
For a fascinating day out, you can explore the castle, its well-kept grounds, and the fifteenth-century church and eighteenth-century chapel nearby. There’s also lawn games such as pitch ‘n’ putt, swingball and boules to keep the whole family entertained, as well as a kids’ activity room inside the castle.
The castle is located in East Lulworth, near the coast, so it’s within easy reach of many of the seafront holiday parks in Dorset.
A visit to Maiden Castle will transport you further back in history than you might expect as it dates back to the first century BC! This Iron Age hill fort was one of the largest in Europe, covering a space as large as 50 football pitches. Even though no buildings remain from the time, it’s amazing just to walk up and down the ancient artificial hills and marvel at how they were built in an age before mechanical cranes and diggers.
Beyond just the historical significance, the hills offer some fantastic views and make a great place for a bracing walk (or for the kids to tire themselves out). And, as it’s based just outside Dorchester, Maiden Castle has excellent road links with any one of the many holiday parks in Dorset.
As you can see, there are plenty of great historical sites in the county, and they’re well worth a visit from your home base in one of the local holiday parks. In Dorset, history really does come to life for the whole family.
Michael Paul is the Managing Director of Michael Paul Holidays, a holiday property agency offering a handpicked range of accommodation in wonderful UK locations. Whether you are looking for the best holiday parks in Dorset or the cosiest cottages and log cabins in Scotland, he and his team will find you that perfect property for an unforgettable trip.