Activities




YMCA Portland, Reforne, Easton, Portland, Dorset DT5 2AN

10am-12pm, 1pm-3pm Mondays & Thursdays

The YMCA on Portland, Dorset holds Bounce & Play sessions for toddlers and young children every Monday and Thursday.

There is a large bouncy castle, ride on toys and a separate, smaller room with a tunnel, small ball pit and rocking toys for the tinies.

The sessions for Bounce and Play Portland YMCA are 10am – midday and 1pm – 3pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

There is a small entrance fee.

The YMCA Portland is also available as a children’s party venue in Dorset.

7 Albany Road, Granby Industrial Estate, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 9TH

9.30am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays

The Fun Factory Weymouth is an indoor soft play centre and children’s party venue for children aged 0-11.

The large indoor play area includes Battle Cannons and a Firing Zone, a High Glide, a Ball Pool and a four-lane Astro Slide. There is also a sports area for playing football, netball, basketball or other ball sports.

For the little ones, there is a separate Toddler’s Activity Area to cater for them and keep them safely out of the way of the bigger kids.

During busy periods the Fun Factory Weymouth sometimes has to limit play to 1.5 hours.

There is a large, free car park on site.

sandworld

Lodmoor Country Park, Preston Beach Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7SX

7 days a week from 10.30am between mid-April and the end of October

Sandworld is the international sand sculpture park at Weymouth’s Lodmoor Country Park.

In 2011, a new all-weather attraction opened on Weymouth’s seafront – Sandworld. Here you can see incredible sand sculptures made entirely from sand and water created by competing sand artists from around the world. Some of the sculptures are as large as a double-decker bus!

Weymouth sand sculptor Mark Anderson, who is well-known for his sand sculpting displays on Weymouth beach, teamed up with local businessman David Hicks to get the attraction off the ground. Mr Anderson also drafted in 10 of the world’s best sand sculptors to help him create Sandworld.

The sand sculptures are staged under a huge marquee and outside, under a canopy cover, there is an activity and sand play area so children can have a go themselves.

All the sand is from Weymouth beach, with permission from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, and Mr Anderson said all the sand artists commented on its excellent quality.

Accessibility

Pushchair and wheelchair friendly.

Facilities

  • picnic tables
  • ice creams for sale
  • small shop
Mini Golf

Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7SX

Open daily from 11am-6pm (last entry at 5pm), except Christmas Day and subject to weather conditions

A swashbuckling game for the whole family!

At the Pirate Adventure Mini Golf in Weymouth, each hole has its own unique challenge to overcome as you work your way around the themed course, which includes treasure chests, gunpowder barrels and a pirate galleon.

Can you conquer the tricky uphill hole with a single deadly shot?

Do you have enough skill to avoid the obstacle blocking your way to the treasure?

Can you make that magical ‘hole in one’? But be warned…you only get the one chance!

Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UF

Various, see full listing

The Nothe Fort was built by the Victorians to protect Portland Harbour, and is one of the best preserved forts of its kind. Nothe Fort is located at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour and is a labyrinth of underground passageways and outdoor areas with stunning views of the Jurassic coastline.

The history of the Fort is explained through the many displays, exhibits and audiovisual facilities on the ramparts, gun decks and underground passageways.

You don’t have to be a military enthusiast to enjoy the Nothe Fort. It is a great day out for all the family whatever the weather – but beware, the fort is also haunted!

Facilities

  • Shop
  • Canteen and picnic areas
  • Facilities for those with mobility impediments
  • Dogs welcome
  • Parking (pay and display)

Opening times (2014)

Winter Opening:
Sundays only from 16th February to 30th March
11.00am – 4.30pm

Spring & Summer Opening:
Open daily from 1st April to 30th September
10:30am – 5:30pm

Autumn & Winter Opening:
Sundays only from 5th October – 14th December and Half Term from 25th October to 2nd November
11:00am – 4:30pm

Greenhill, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7SW

At the edge of Weymouth town centre, sloping up from the beach and promenade, are Greenhill Gardens, where you can get some of the best views across Weymouth Bay.

The winding paths and brightly coloured flower beds of the Gardens are a true delight to discover but there is also an 18-hole putting green, tennis courts, a bowling green and two cafes to keep you occupied.

Weymouth’s Greenhill Gardens have been recognised as one of the best green spaces in the country.

** CONDOR FERRIES NO LONGER OPERATES A SERVICE FROM WEYMOUTH, DORSET **

Condor Ferries operate a regular, high-speed ferry service between Weymouth and Guernsey, Jersey and St Malo in France.

Weymouth to Guernsey

Service operates all year. Crossing time 2 hours 10 minutes
With its scenic harbours, quaint cottages, beautiful countryside and sandy beaches, the island of Guernsey is like a big picture postcard. The island has over 100 miles of coastline with sandy beaches and dunes, secret coves and rock pools, rugged harbours and beautiful cliff walks.

The island’s capital, St Peter Port, is a vibrant harbour town with a mixture of well-known high street stores and more individual shops. Many of the retailers in Guernsey offer low duty prices on a range of items, so big savings can be made on jewellery, photographic and electrical goods.

When it comes to visitor attractions, the Guernsey Aquarium is a popular choice. Its displays include local sea fish and European freshwater fish as well as tropical marine fish, anemones and inverts of various kinds. Another family favourite is the Little Chapel, which is beautifully decorated with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china.

With an environment that is conducive to outdoor pursuits, it is not surprising that a range of sporting and other activities are available on Guernsey. These include cycling, horse riding, golf, surfing, windsurfing, diving, angling, sailing, scuba diving and kayaking.

Guernsey offers visitors a good choice of pub food, bistro dining or contemporary cuisine, where Indian, Turkish, Spanish and Italian culinary styles sit comfortably alongside more traditional restaurants. St Peter Port also has a good choice of lively pubs and bars where you can soak up the atmosphere, along with a few cocktails or locally brewed ales.

Weymouth to Jersey

Service operates all year via Guernsey. Crossing time 3 hours 25 minutes
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands boasting spectacular coastal scenery, beautiful countryside, fascinating history, golden beaches, great dining and entertainment, plus sporting facilities that are second to none.

Plemont, situated on the north coast has a reputation as Jersey’s most beautiful beach. Plemont is a sheltered sandy cove where the golden sand is covered at high tide, but when the water retreats, pools with sandy bottoms are exposed – ideal for young children to play in. Alternatively, Green Island is a favourite local beach on the east of the island. St Ouens Bay stretches for five miles along the length of Jersey’s Atlantic west coast, and is one of the best beaches for surfing in the UK. Jet skiing and cycling are other popular activities.

One of the island’s top visitor attractions is Jersey Zoo, headquarters of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The zoo is set in 31 acres of land with over 190 species of rare and endangered mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Jersey also has two award-winning museums, the Jersey and the Maritime Museums, containing interesting exhibits for both adults and children with a glimpse of Jersey’s past and maritime heritage. Jersey’s aMaizin! Maze and Adventure Park is a popular attraction with activities for all ages, including go-kart tracks, crazy golf and a maze in the shape of the island.

Jersey has built an international reputation for its cooking styles and range of restaurants. Seafood is the specialty of the island, and is complemented by a wealth of fresh local produce. Around St Helier, St Aubin and St Brelade are a range of simple cafes, family-friendly brasseries, traditional country pubs and gourmet restaurants.

St Helier is the shopping centre of Jersey. The main streets provide an eclectic mix of high street stores, small boutiques and local gift shops. Many of the retailers offer low duty prices on goods such as jewellery, photographic and electrical goods. Further afield, areas such as St Brelade, St Aubin and Gorey offer a selection of shops and garden centres.

Weymouth to St Malo

Service operates all year. Crossing times from 5 hours 15 minutes (may require a change of vessel in either Guernsey or Jersey)
St Malo in Brittany is famous for its old walled city where you will find beautiful buildings, museums, restaurants, cafes and open markets in a maze of tiny cobbled streets.

St Malo offers a range of art, music and book shops, as well as a choice of hypermarkets and specialist shopping.

The Grand Aquarium is situated a few miles south of the citadel. It houses fish and sea life from around the world in eight different aquariums, including a circular fish tank where visitors can stand in the middle of swirling fish shoals, and an open air touching pool. Cobac Parc is another popular tourist attraction in St Malo. Inside the park’s 12 hectares of woodland, the whole family can take part in around 30 different activities, including a water park, mini golf and a merry-go-round. The Chateau de St Malo, to the right of the city’s main gate, houses the Musee de la Ville. This museum has exhibits covering all elements of St Malo’s historic past incorporating piracy, colonialism, slave trading and the German Occupation during World War II. Visitors will also enjoy the Cathedral of St Vincent dating back to the 9th century, and the walk along the 12th century city ramparts, which stretch from St Vincent Gate to the St Thomas Gate and provide fantastic views of the old town’s houses, the bay and the islets at the mouth of the Rance estuary.

As you’d expect, St Malo has an abundance of good places to eat to suit all tastes and budgets. Local specialties include fresh lobsters and Cancale oysters, as well as other classic French fare such as crepes and moules. Some of the most popular restaurants and cafes are situated in a long line inside the city ramparts between Porte St-Vincent and the Grande Porte.

** CONDOR FERRIES NO LONGER OPERATES A SERVICE FROM WEYMOUTH, DORSET **

Leaving Swanage - Cliff Baxter

Weymouth Pleasure Pier, Dorset DT4 8ED

The Waverley is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. This historic ship is operated by a charity and carries over 250,000 passengers each year, transporting them to favourite seaside haunts or to marvel at the unfolding landscape around the south of England’s Jurassic Coast.

The paddle steamer Waverley was built on the River Clyde in 1947. In 2003, a major restoration project was completed, returning the ship to the original 1940s style in which she was built. The Waverley is the only remaining real Clyde steamer and the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. In 1974, The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society bought the 693-tonne ship for £1 to preserve it for the future.

On the cruises, passengers can gain unrivalled access to spectacular scenery, miles of golden sandy beaches and an island steeped in history. This award-winning attraction provides a range of day, afternoon and evening cruises on selected days throughout September from Weymouth Pleasure Pier to various ports including Bournemouth and Yarmouth.

Cruise by the famous Lulworth Cove one of Dorset’s most recognisable features heading onwards past Durlston Head with its imposing castle on the hilltop and into Bournemouth, the perfect place to spend a day out with the family. Take a ride on the mini land trains, play with the kids on one of the cleanest beaches in the UK or enjoy a quiet stroll through Bournemouth’s glorious gardens.

Alternatively steam through the Solent and view the magnificent coastal scenery of the Isle of Wight. Stop off at Yarmouth with its natural harbour, which is a mecca to numerous boats and yachts that visit, or stay on board and enjoy a cruise around the Isle of Wight passing Newtown, Thorness and Gurnard Bay and along the coast to Cowes, famous for its huge sailing events during the summer.

Finally, don’t miss the legendary Evening Showboats with a live jazz band on board and make it a night to remember!

The Waverley has excellent onboard facilities including a restaurant serving hot and cold snacks, two bars, heated lounges, engine room and paddle wheel viewing gallery, and a souvenir shop.

Osprey Quay, Portland, Dorset DT5 1SA

Monday- Friday: 9am-5pm Saturday & Sundays: 8am-6pm

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), which was the host venue for the London 2012 Olympic sailing events, has an established global reputation for its outstanding facilities. WPNSA was formed in 1999 as a not-for-profit company by a group of far-sighted individuals who identified the brown field site with immediate water access into Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay as a huge asset to not only the local Weymouth and Portland communities but as a destination that would attract sports people and events at national and international levels.

Looking at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from a purely sailing related perspective, the surrounding waters of Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay are some of the best sailing waters on the planet. The clean winds, sheltered waters and weak tides also have added value due to these natural conditions being preferential to a large and growing range of water sports.

In fact the Academy is ideally suited to hosting water based events including sea swimming and rowing, canoeing and sea kayaking, motor boating, sport fishing, model boating, water skiing and wake boarding. In addition, a range of land-based events from running, cycling or indoor rowing and combined events such as triathlons are run from the centre.

Spinnakers Restaurant, positioned in the heart of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, boasts breathtaking views across Portland Harbour and beyond. This unique venue is open for Sunday carverys throughout the winter as well as being available for private hire when not required for sailing events.

Preston Beach Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7SX

Monday - Sunday. Various Times.

The Front Skatepark in Weymouth is a state-of-the-art centre for skateboarding, rollerblading and BMX in a great seafront location.

The skate park currently has three distinct sports areas: a beginners’ area; the main street course with long planter; and the bowl, halfpipe and spine section. These offer challenges to suit different ability levels allowing for progression and choice.

There is a vast array of ramps to suit all levels of user. There is an undercover beginners’ area plus street and ramp obstacles for the more experienced.

Sessions run all year round, after school, at weekends, in school holidays, and at other times by arrangement. There is also a regular events programme. Low key supervision and support is provided by first-aid trained staff and skatepark volunteers. There is a simple membership scheme and entry fees are kept as low as possible.

The Front, Weymouth’s skate park is a not-for-profit community enterprise managed by the Weymouth Skatepark Association.

Facilities

  • custom-built ramps for all levels from beginner to expert
  • helmets for hire
  • skateboards for hire
  • snack bar and cafe
  • pool table
  • car park

This circular tour starts and ends at the Jubilee Clock on Weymouth’s seafront. The tour takes approximately two hours.

The Jubilee Clock was erected in 1887 to mark the 50th year of Queen Victoria’s reign. It was originally positioned on a stone base on Weymouth sands, but in the 1920s the Esplanade was built around it to protect the sands from the encroachment of shingle from the eastern end of the beach.

Face away from the sea and walk down King Street, passed the railway station on your right. At the traffic lights, turn right along Radipole Park Drive. Continue along Radipole Park Drive until you see an entrance on your right to the Princess Diana Memorial Gardens, just behind Aldi. These Victorian, tree-lined gardens are a haven of tranquillity where you can sit and watch the world go by. Take a circular stroll around these beautiful gardens and then leave the same way you came in, onto Radipole Park Drive.

Walk back towards the traffic lights but before you reach them, cross over the road into the Swannery car park. In the far right-hand corner of the car park, you will see the entrance to Radipole Lake RSPB Nature Reserve. Radipole Lake is considered to be one of the most important areas for migrating birds on the whole of the south coast of England. It was declared a bird sanctuary in 1929 and has been managed by the RSPB since 1976. It is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The reedbeds at Radipole Lake are now home to many rare birds, including Cetti’s warblers, bearded tits and bitterns. You can take a detour here to walk around the reserve if you wish.

Continuing with the tour, head towards the far left-hand corner of the car park and follow the path under the road bridge. Walk along the edge of the River Wey, where you can feed the ducks and swans. Pass the Palm House cafe on your left and the Gurkha Restaurant on your right. Continue walking towards the bridge ahead of you (Westham Bridge). You will notice there are actually two bridges; one a footbridge and the other now a car park. The older bridge is in fact a dam controlling the water level in Radipole Lake that is fed by the river.

On reaching the bridge, carry straight on (actually a left then an immediate right) along the new Marina Walkway that runs parallel to Weymouth harbour. This new walkway was completed in May 2001 and provides an accessible walkway along the marina’s edge. Weymouth Marina provides moorings for a thousand boats and is a thriving part of the local community.

Walk under the Town Bridge, turn left up the steps and cross the bridge. The current Town Bridge was built in 1930 on the line of an earlier 1824 bridge. The first bridge was built in 1594 between Melcombe Regis and Weymouth. Before this, crossing was by rope-hauled ferryboat, when not disrupted by frequent feuding between the two communities.

Once across the bridge, turn left and continue along Trinity Road where the elegant bow-fronted houses date from the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Continue along the side of Weymouth’s Old Harbour to the town pump. To the right in Trinity Street is Trinity House, a fine Georgian brick building, and next to it is an Elizabethan town house, which became part of Weymouth’s first Assembly Rooms in the 1760s when a new wing was added at the rear for balls and concerts. Opposite is the classically-designed Hope Chapel, built in 1862. Also in Trinity Street is the Tudor House, one of Weymouth’s few remaining Tudor buildings. The building once stood on the harbour edge and was built at the end of the 16th century.

From the town pump, continue along the terrace cottages of Cove Row, which were built in about 1810. Carry on to Hope Street, which was once on the water’s edge of the ‘ope’ or cove that ran back into what is now Hope Square and had houses on both sides, some right by the water. The ope was filled in 1782 across the mouth of the inlet. Despite its relatively modern appearance, No 21 Hope Street dates from the 16th century or earlier.

Continue along the Harbourside past the Nothe Parade. This delightful terrace of houses contains a mix of late Georgian and Victorian architecture. As you walk along here note the bridge which crosses a slipway used for boat repairs. This is an old established yard, and the slipmasters house with its balustraded steps dates from about 1780. Continue along the path passing the Lifeboat Station and shop.

From the harbourside, take one of a number of flights of steps up towards the Nothe Fort. One of these flights of steps has an iron rail on each side, which was an inclined tramway for ammunition trucks serving the fort in its early days. If you look further along the harbourside you can see the stone pier protecting the harbour mouth.

Once at the top of the steps turn to your left. In front of you is the Nothe Fort. This coastal defence fort was completed in 1872 under Lord Palmerston’s programme of re-arming against possible French invasion. It was armed with heavy muzzle-loading guns. It is open to the public and well worth spending time exploring.

With the fort in front of you turn to your right and follow the path along Elizabethan Way through the gardens and along Jubilee Walk. Take time to look at the view across Portland Harbour, the second largest man-made harbour in the world. Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay were the venues for the London 2012 Olympic sailing events.

At some steps, turn right up the steps and follow the road to the corner. Continue down Horsford Street passing a fine pair of 1830 cottages. At the bottom of the hill turn right into Hope Square. As you enter the square turn to your right and see the newly-converted flats built in the early 19th century malthouse and standing above that, the late 18th century Red Barracks and Wellington Court. As a contrast to these modern redevelopments, a little way down to your right is No 6 Hope Street, an 18th century Portland stone town house with probably the best stone facade in Weymouth.

On your left is the imposing front of the old Devenish Brewery. This very interesting building dates variously from 1869 to the grand Dutch gabled facade of 1904. Across the square you can see Pilgrim House, dating from 1640 but rebuilt as an elegant Georgian house.

On leaving Hope Square, bear to your left up the steep hill, and at the top turn right into Herbert Place, then turn right in to Hartlebury Terrace. From here follow the path to the left into Trinity Terrace. These small houses, dating from the 1830s, look from their bow windows over the original Borough of Melcombe Regis and northwards across Weymouth Bay towards White Nothe and the chalk cliffs. In the immediate foreground are the backs of the late Georgian houses fronting Trinity Road and the harbour. In the back plots of some are fragments of mainly Portland stone walling of still earlier dwellings (16th century), which overlooked the harbour before the quays were built.

As you walk along Trinity Terrace, look carefully above each door at the carvings; each one is different. At the end of Trinity Terrace there are good views over Weymouth Marina and towards the Ridgeway in the distance. Turn right here and walk down the steps behind the church to the bottom.

Trinity Church is now in front of you. The church was designed by Philip Wyatt and built in 1836. It was then extended by the local architect G.R. Crickmay in 1886. When first built, the church had its altar on the east wall and galleries set back on either side. When it was enlarged, the altar was set on the south and two large transepts formed the east and west. The north front faces Melcombe Regis and dominates the approach to the Town Bridge.

At the bottom of the steps you will see you are back at the Town Bridge. From here you can take a small detour to visit Weymouth’s oldest pub, The Boot Inn, and the old Town Hall. Both are located to your left along North Quay past the Council Office on the left-hand side.

Cross back over the Town Bridge and turn right down the steps on to Custom House Quay. Walk along the edge of the quay with the harbour on your right. Here you can see the old railway lines running along the road; trains stopped running along the line in 1994. On your left is Maiden Street. Look up this road towards the Stuart building at the junction with St Edmund Street. A cannon ball fired during the English Civil War fighting is embedded high in the wall. Continue walking along the harbourside. Further along is the fish market, which dates from 1855 and was built to enable local fishermen to market their catch more satisfactorily than on the quay side; in formal style with wide overhanging eaves, it is a building of distinction. This is still the place to buy locally caught fresh fish. When you get to Vaughan’s Restaurant, you will notice a plaque on the wall to indicate where a trading vessel berthed in 1348, which brought the Black Death to England. All along Custom House Quay you can see how bow windows are a feature of many late 18th century houses in the town. The Sharky’s Indoor Play area, originally a 19th century warehouse is also located here, together with other 19th century warehouses. Despite some demolition most remain and have been converted to other uses. The Royal Dorset Yacht Club occupies a mid-19th century Gothic-style, chapel-like building and was formerly an institute for seamen, known as the Sailor’s Bethel. Before that, the 18th century Baths were here. The Custom House is a fine red brick Georgian house with deep bow windows. It was built in the late 18th century by a merchant to enable him to oversee his shipping interests from his home. It was the Custom House from the early 19th century until 1985. Nowadays, the building is the office for the Harbour Master.

At the end of the Quay is the ferry terminal and green-roofed Pavilion Theatre. The original theatre, The Pavilion, opened in 1908 and was the centre of the local entertainment scene until 1954 when a huge fire completely destroyed the building, then known as The Ritz.

From the Pavilion Theatre, walk back towards the Jubilee Clock along the seafront, called The Esplanade, which is one of the finest Georgian seafronts in the country. Look out for the famous sand sculptures, the award-winning beach donkeys and the Punch & Judy Show. Just before you reach the Jubilee Clock you will see a statue of King George III. Weymouth’s popularity as a seaside resort began in the 1780s and continued with King George III regularly visiting Weymouth from 1789 to 1805. It was the King himself who started the tradition of sea bathing here in Weymouth.

radipole

Map grid reference: SY671804

Visitor Centre is open daily 9am to 5pm (4pm in winter). The hide is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm. The Visitor Centre and hide are both closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Radipole Lake RSPB Nature Reserve is a great place to come, whether you are new to wildlife watching or an experienced birdwatcher. There are well-known birds at the reserve such as house sparrows, finches and robins, alongside rare birds like the Cetti’s warbler and bittern. On a typical walk you can even see seven or eight different kinds of ducks.

There is plenty for families to do, with specially-created trails, bird events and, during the summer, family activities such as pond dipping and bug hunts.

Spring highlights

In spring, the air is filled with bird song as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. Flocks of swallows and martins gather over the water to feed on insects after their migration from Africa. Warblers also arrive, including grasshopper, willow and Cetti’s warblers, blackcaps, whitethroats and lesser whitethroats. The reed beds are full of singing sedge and reed warblers.

Summer highlights

In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Hobbies can be seen flying after small birds and dragonflies, which they catch with their feet then pass to their beaks while still flying. Flowering plants attract good numbers of butterflies, such as commas, painted ladies and peacocks.

Autumn highlights

Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds – some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. Bearded tits become easier to see, with family groups roaming the reed beds and making their distinctive ‘pinging’ call. As the water levels are lowered in preparation for winter reed cutting, the mud attracts wading birds such as dunlins, snipe, redshanks and lapwings.

Winter highlights

In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm. You may see a bittern if you are patient – they will fly up from the reeds occasionally to get to different feeding areas. During cold snaps, water rails become much easier to see as they must feed outside the frozen-up reed beds. There is a large roost of pied wagtails in Weymouth and the birds can often be seen at Radipole Lake before heading into town for the night.

Marsh Harriers

The first marsh harriers to breed in Dorset in almost 50 years successfully raised three chicks in 2009 at Radipole Lake RSPB. Being only 10 minutes’ walk from Weymouth town centre, these marsh harrier chicks are thought to be the most urban of their species to fledge in the British Isles. The arrival of the parents at the reserve was filmed for the BBC television programme Springwatch.

Facilities

  • information centre
  • shop
  • refreshments available
  • picnic area
  • pushchair friendly
  • wheelchair accessible
  • pay and display car park (not RSPB)
  • toilets, including disabled, in the car park (not RSPB)
  • binocular hire
  • group bookings accepted
  • guided walks available
  • dogs allowed on public footpaths and bridleways

Entrance fees

It is free to walk around the reserve. Fees are only charged for use of the hide.

lodmoor

Map grid reference: SY688809

Open at all times

Bearded tits and Cetti’s warblers can be seen all year round, and the autumn migration can be spectacular with hundreds of swallows, martins and wagtails, as well as lots of wading birds.

Lodmoor RSPB has one of the largest common tern colonies in the south west of England, and the hide provides great views of their fascinating courtship and the chicks growing up through spring and summer.

Spring highlights

Little grebes ‘whinny’ in courtship displays and pairs of shovelers spin around each other, heads locked together below the water’s surface. By the middle of spring, summer visitors will have arrived: swallows, martins and by the beginning of May, swifts. The reed beds are noisy places to be, full of warblers staking out their territories.

Summer highlights

Listen for the explosive song of the Cetti’s warbler – a little like a wren’s song but even louder. Hobbies fly overhead in their attempts to catch small birds, causing havoc among the flocks. The tiny, stripy little grebe chicks can be seen out on the water with their parents.

Autumn highlights

Kingfishers are easiest to see at this time of the year, as young birds disperse from where they hatched. Bearded tits are also more obvious. Lodmoor RSPB is the perfect refuelling site for waders en route from the Arctic to Africa – you may see birds like black-tailed godwits, and green and wood sandpipers.

Winter highlights

Bitterns fly in from Europe during cold weather, but can be tricky to see. Grey herons stand at the water’s edge, waiting for fish to swim by within striking distance. Little egrets are more proactive and stir up the water with their yellow feet to entice small fish, worms and shrimps. This is the best season for watching wildfowl, with pochards, teals, tufted ducks, shelducks and gadwalls around the reserve. Marsh harriers can still be seen hunting over the reeds.

Facilities

  • pay and display car park (not RSPB)
  • group bookings accepted
  • guided walks available
  • pushchair friendly
  • dogs allowed on public footpaths and bridleways