Wet Weather Days Out
Whatever the time of year the West Country is renown for rain, after all it is what keeps the countryside looking so green. Although it’s fair to say that the last couple of years we’ve been lucky with the weather during the summer. The rest of the year we just have to expect rainy days, or maybe I should call them welly days!
Finding indoor entertainment can be a bonus at any tine of year, even if it’s just for an hour. I have put my thinking cap on to come up with as many wet weather days out as possible with something here for all ages. It’s made me realise again how little of my own area I have explored and what an interesting area this is
This post covers West Dorset from Lyme Regis and Bridport to Dorchester with dip into Somerset. East Devon to follow.
Town Mill – a traditional watermill that has been restored where you can watch corn being milled and enjoy a guide tour. See my review here.
Dinosaurland Fossil Museum has fantastic displays of fossils, re-created dinosaurs, natural history and a time gallery.
Lyme Regis Aquarium, set at the end of the Cobb, this small aquarium is brimming with local sea creatures, interesting presentations and historical exhibits. There’s the chance to get up close to different creatures and even hold a starfish.
Whoopsadaisy – Pottery and Crafts sessions for all ages in Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis Museum
Refurbished and reopened in 2017, Lyme Regis Museum has a new extension making this a beautiful place to visit overlooking the sea. Displays showcase the amazing life story of Mary Anning, there’s a world class fossil collection and geology gallery. There are also displays covering the town’s colourful history and its remarkable literary connections, from Jane Austen and John Fowles to Tracey Chevalier.
The museum is family friendly with lots for children of all ages to see and do. Check online for special school holiday events such as arts and crafts workshops.
You can spend a half an hour or so in the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre. Take a look at the interactive displays, marvel at the fossils, find out how to discover your own fossils on the beach and plan a fossil hunting session.
The Centre has fossils on display including the incredible ichthyosaur that starred in the BBC documentary Attenborough and the Sea Dragon.
West Bay (nr Bridport)
One of my favourite places for a stroll. Of course when the sun is shining you can explore the pretty harbour and admire the imposing cliffs. However even on a damp day there are things to do.
Head along to the free Discovery Centre Museum. Located inside the former historic Methodist Church this small museum tells the stories of West Bay both past and present. Interactive displays for children cover many aspects of West Bay’s heritage. Summer Opening Hours 11:00-16:00 Tuesday – Sunday, closed every Monday (excluding Bank Holidays)
Browse antiques, bric a brac and crafts at the Customs House before finding a nice cafe for a cup of tea or an ice cream. There are lots to choose from but we have enjoyed Cherries Ice Cream Parlour.
Bridport Museum has been redeveloped to create exciting, modern and interactive displays. Right in the heart of Bridport, a historic rope and net making town there something for all ages.
Beautiful Roman jewellery, mystical amulets and fearsome armour, amazing fossils and learn about Bridport’s dark history of disease, decay and death. There are family fun trails and for 2019 enjoy a fabulous Turner art exhibition. Free Entry.
Vintage Quarter – The Alleyways
Explore antiques, bric and brac and vintage traders all under one roof in the Antiques Centre. A great place to pass the time all located behind the bus station area of Bridport.
Bridport Literary and Scientific Institute is an historic building in East Street has a cavernous cafe and often holds small exhibitions as well.
The Electric Palace is a lovely old art deco theatre and along with the more modern Bridport Arts Centre, shows films, hosts comedy performances, music and theatre.
Palmers Brewery – wander around the shop of this traditional local brewery or book a guided tour to see behind the scenes and the history of brewing in Bridport. Tours run daily at 11am, Monday to Friday from Easter to October and last two hours (min age 13 years).
If you are feeling a bit more energetic then try Rockburn, an indoor bouldering centre set just off the centre of Bridport.
There are 75 metres of bouldering up to a height of 4.5m with enough to challenge even expert climber. There is also a climbing-focused gym and seating area. You can take children to boulder at the centre during a parent/child session if they are 5 years of age or older. Check in advance for session times and to book.
Shire Hall – An historic Old Courthouse that has been restored.
Explore the cells and find out what it was like to be held prisoner at Dorchester’s Shire Hall. Discover the stories of children and adults who were tried there. Children can be the tour guide for your family, and even become a journalist for one of the trials. Explore the digital interactive quizzes and games, try on the hats, wigs and magistrates’ gowns, and discover many more surprises. Adults £9.50 Children £5
There are lots of museums in Dorchester, surely something for all interests. The first 5 listed are linked with a special pass
The Dinosaur Museum
The Mummies Exhibition – Ancient Egypt
The Teddy Bear Museum
The Terracotta Warrior Museum
The Tutankhamun Exhibition
The Bones Museum
The Keep Military Museum – learn about the formation of regiments, military campaigns and the history of Dorset.
Find links to all of these here – Dorchester Museums Check out a special offer of participating museums. Visit 5 of Dorchester’s top attractions for the price of just 2. Valid for seven days, from the day of first use with Gold Saver Pass
Dorset County Museum -this is currently closed for a major refurbishment. Re-opening in 2020
Dorchester Curiosity Centre – a huge antiques and vintage centre set in an old bus depot warehouse.
The Tank Museum between Dorchester and Wareham is another great day out for history fans or lovers of military equipment. With many displays undercover this is a good wet weather option.
Weymouth Sealife Centre is a popular visitor attraction. With a mixture of indoor and outdoor exhibits it’s a good place to dodge the showers.
Poole and Wareham
Dorset Water Park – if it’s wet and the adventurous among you don’t mind getting even wetter then head for this outdoor water park. With wipe out style obstacles, huge inflatables as well as a mud trail assault course this is not everyone idea of fun! I reckon my teens would love it though.
Spalshdown in Poole – you may get wet but you will stay clean at this water park.
Anyone who gets to enjoy the A303 will know exactly where these places are!. Two more great options for wet weather days out.
Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton – with 4 halls all showing different aircraft displays as well as a gallery and special events for all ages this a popular day out.
Haynes International Motor Museum – if you have family members who love cars then this is the place for you. My husband enjoyed it and I helped the girls with the quiz and the Top Trumps trail and found the coffee shop! Another indoor attraction.
Work In Progress
I am going to see if I can add more to this post so book mark it for your rainy days and look out for the East Devon version coming soon. Let me know if you have more ideas.
This post has been supported by Cherries Ice Cream Parlour in West Bay