Seashore summer events in Dorset

Kayaking at Kimmeridge

Kayaking at Kimmeridge - Credit: Archant

There are plenty of family friendly happenings along Dorset’s coast this summer from kayak safaris in clear-bottomed boats to rockpool rambles and snorkling trails

Kayak and Snorkelling Safaris

Go on a guided two hour kayak safari and view marine wildlife in its natural habitat through clear-bottomed kayaks and goggle viewers in Kimmeridge Bay. Kayak Safaris are every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of August (three sessions each day). Cost £25 per person per session, kayak, buoyancy vest, shortie wetsuit and cagoule all provided (12+ year olds only). Booking for this event is essential, call 01929 481044.

Kimmeridge is also the perfect venue for snorkelling. Go on the self-guided Dorset Wildlife Trust’s snorkel trail, where five buoys guide you through the different habitats of the Purbeck Marine Reserve. A waterproof ID guide helps you identify the more common species you may encounter such as ballan wrasse, mullet, lobster and tompot blennies as well as colourful rainbow wrack and coralline seaweeds. Snorkels and masks can be hired from the Fine Foundation Marine Centre Kimmeridge open 10.30am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday plus Bank Holidays. Waterproof ID chart and trail directions can be purchased from the centre for £3.

More details: Fine Foundation Marine Centre, Kimmeridge, BH20 5PF. 01929 481044 or visit


Go on a Rockpool Ramble

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Some of the country’s best rockpooling sites are in Dorset – Kimmeridge and Worbarrow Bay are particularly good spots. A rockpool ramble is the best way to see the little critters up-close such as anemones, sea squirts, crabs and seaweeds. You might even be lucky enough to find a star fish! Throughout the summer holidays Dorset Wildlife Trust has a selection of guided rockpooling events at Chesil Beach: 29 July, 10 & 14 August (2pm-3.30pm) and Kimmeridge: 30 July & 10 August (1.30pm – 3pm).

More information:


Bird Watching on Brownsea

Discover the myriad of birds that reside at Britain’s favourite nature reserve with Dorset Wildlife Trust. Bird hides offer spectacular views of the famous lagoon and its nesting islands. If you’re lucky you may even see one of the island’s red squirrels in the treetops.

More details: Brownsea Island is open everyday until 5 November (10am – 5pm). Ferries run daily from Sandbanks, Poole Quay and Bournemouth Pier during the summer. Boat fares and National Trust landing charges apply see website for details or call 01202 707744.


National Marine Week - 26 July – 10 August

This annual event, which is celebrated across the country, features a whole host of exciting marine-inspired events along Dorset’s coastline. Perfect for keeping any budding marine biologists enthused for hours!

29 July: Seashore Detectives - Explore the amazing underwater world of the Fleet Lagoon - spy anemones, sea squirts, crabs, seaweeds and much more. Meet at the Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre at 2pm, £2 per person. More details 01305 206191.

31 July: Peculiar Plankton - Enter the weird and wonderful world of plankton. Make your own plankton net then view these fascinating creatures through a microscope and turn them into giants on the big TV screens. Meet Chesil Beach Centre at 2pm, £2 pp. More details 01305 206191

2 & 3 August: Wild About Seahorses - Two days of events at Knoll Beach Discovery Centre inspired by the magnificent sea horses that live in the Studland seagrass meadows. More details 01929 450500.

8 August: Eco-friendly Crabbing - Learn how to catch and care for crabs without harm to other rockpool animals at The Fine Foundation Marine Centre, Kimmeridge (11.30am-1pm). Cost £3 includes eco crab kit. More details 01929 481044.


Window on an Underwater World

The Fleet Observer is a shallow drafted glass-bottomed boat specifically designed to explore the lower reaches of the Chesil Beach Lagoon - the largest saline lagoon in the UK. The lagoon is home to many marine species, including rarities such as the little tern, and thousands of wading birds. In addition to spectacular views of Chesil Beach, below the water you will be able to view, through the glass hull of the boat, 150 species of seaweed, 60 species of molluscs and 25 species of fish including corkwing wrasse and two-spot goby.

More details: The Fleet Observer sails daily, weather and demand permitting Easter – September. Trips last an hour and run six times a day. Cost - adults £7, children £4. The Fleet Observer jetty is behind the Ferrybridge Inn (DT4 9YU). To book or for further information please phone 01305 759692 or visit


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