The Medieval market town of Colyton is situated just 3 miles from the stunning Jurassic Coast at Seaton. There is a seasonal tramway that links Colyton to Seaton, running alongside the beautiful River Axe wetlands, which is home to an abundance of wildlife, providing visitors with an enjoyable ride and easy access to the natural wonders of the World Heritage coastline.
Colyton’s winding lanes, historical buildings, and bustling market place boast a wide variety of independent shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, making the town a great location for shopping and eating out. Surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Colyton is the perfect setting out point for walking, cycling and exploring picturesque East Devon and neighbouring Dorset by car too.
As a gateway to the Jurassic Coast, nearby Seaton is a great spot for water sports, fishing, and many other traditional seaside activities, including viewing the magnificent coastline from the cliffs on the ever-popular South West Coast Path.
Slightly further afield, but still within a short drive of Colyton, you’ll find the Cathedral City of Exeter, the Georgian resort of Sidmouth, the quaint fishing village of Beer, and the lively seaside town of Lyme Regis. This traditional seaside resort is a great spot to try your luck at fossil hunting, enjoy the beach, stroll along the famous Cobb, or treat yourself to a meal at one of the many bars, cafés and restaurants that line the seafront promenade.
A holiday cottage in Colyton provides an excellent base from which to enjoy the coastal and rural charms of East Devon and neighbouring Dorset.
A National Trust property and lavish family home, Kingston Lacy was built to resemble an Italian Palace, and houses curious details including an ‘I owe you’ note from a king. The house is brimming with paintings from the likes of Rubens and Van Dyck, while the gardens are a delight for both adults and children. Beyond that, the estate extends to Iron Age forts, heathland, meadows and a Roman road across 8,500 acres. The restaurant specializes in home made cakes and award-winning scones, there are seasonal events throughout the summer, particularly for children, and prices start at £14.90 for adults or £7.40 for children.
A National Trust property, this former corn mill still houses original wooden machinery in its peaceful riverside setting. The mill was rebuilt in 1776 on a site marked in the Domesday Book, but these days it’s all a bit fragile to be a working mill, so it’s perfect for visitors looking to explore the gardens and take in the tranquil surroundings of the River Stour. Opening times vary so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the website before you visit. The property has limited facilities and no toilets, but you can book a tour, which is worthwhile. Prices start at £3.50 for adults and £2.50 for children.
A fun family day out with rides, shows and entertainment catering to kids of all ages, Adventure Wonderland has both indoor and outdoor experiences so it’s a lovely way to entertain the children on holiday, whether the sun is shining or it’s one of those (hopefully unusual) rainy days. Opening times vary and entry is free for children under the age of one, £1 for adults, £5.95 for kids age one to three years old and £6.95 for kids up to the age of 15.
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For thrilling tree top adventures, complete with high ropes and zip wires, look no further than Go Ape at Moors Valley Country Park. With different levels for different abilities, it makes for a fun and active day out for the whole family. Booking is advised during peak times.
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Moors Valley Country Park and Forest is the natural way to have fun with the whole family in Dorset, learning about and interacting with mini beasts and reptiles. They have regular events including a Gruffalo hunt, offer accessible trails in beautiful surroundings, as well as cycle tracks, hikes, Go Ape and even their own railway, so there’s plenty to do with the whole family, including the dog.
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A large, sprawling pub with a railway station theme. There are plenty of tables and snug areas to gather. Outside you’ll find two outdoor areas to sit – to the front of the property are tables and chairs and to the rear, a smoke-free beer garden. There’s also a children’s play area. Food wise, it’s the usual pub fare, but well-cooked and in hearty portions.
Avon Causeway (01202 482714) Hurn BH23 6AS
You’ll find The Queen in the little village of Avon which straddles the B3347 between Christchurch and Ringwood. There’s a huge beer garden and play area. Inside it’s spacious, yet cosy with flagstone floor, wood paneling and lots of atmosphere. The menus reflect a more imaginative twist on traditional pub food and prices are keen.
The New Queen, (T: 01425 672432) Ringwood Road, Avon BH23 7BG
Dating from the 14th century, The Old Cottage Restaurant is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Ringwood with plenty of period features and a sunny riverside terrace . The extensive A La Carte menu features a good choice of traditional English and international cuisine served by friendly staff.
The Old Cottage (T: 01425 474283) Ringwood BH24 1DZ
This beachside favourite overlooking the Avon Beach, with sea views in every direction, serves up a high quality and varied menu, ranging from cooked breakfasts to fresh fish of the day. The new takeaway hut also serves sandwiches and snacks during the day, which you can enjoy on decking right by the beach.
The Noisy Lobster (T: 01425 272162) Christchurch BH23 4AN
If a relaxed atmosphere, superb seafood and cocktails in the sunshine floats your boat, then the Noisy Lobster is the place for you. Here the expert team of chefs let the quality local ingredients do the talking, presented in a relaxed modern style. Enjoy your meal inside in the light and bright restaurant or on the stunning outside terrace.
The Noisy Lobster (T: 01425 474253) Ringwood BH24 1AN
One of England’s most busy traditional beach resorts. Plenty of sand, a pier with amusement arcades, shops and restaurants. Also an IMAX cinema and Oceanarium. Disabled facilities and access. Parking can be tricky as it’s always busy, but being close to the town centre, parking can usually be found 10 mins walk away. The beach is also easily accessible on foot and bike.
Boscombe is a popular family beach with plenty of sand, and a small pier with extensive facilities including a children’s play area, several seafront shops and cafés, crazy golf, plenty of parking and a safe traffic free area perfect for cycling and scooters.
A stunning piece of natural coastline featuring a four-mile stretch of sandy beach and views of Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight. Ideal for water sports, sandcastles and wildlife safari. Designated trails through the sand dunes and woodlands, allow for spotting of deer, insects, birds and a vast array of wild flowers. There’s a local café/bistro and a mobile refreshment van, but this is also the most picturesque place for a picnic.
This is one of the most scenic of New Forest beaches. Lined with some of the most picturesque and expensive beach huts in the country! There’s no parking next to the beach, as it’s a traffic-free zone, but there’s pay and display parking at Hengistbury Head from where you can catch a little train to the sandbank, and Mudeford Quay which runs a small ferry (5 mins) over to the sandbank. Can also be reached on foot and by bicycle.
A picturesque, tree-lined beach of shingle, and sand at low tide. Good facilities on the cliff top including an excellent tea room, award winning public toilets, baby change and a children’s play area in the Castle gardens. Plenty of parking, but there is no disabled access and quite a few steps to get down to the beach. Lifeguard cover from July to Sept. No dogs allowed.
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Lovely clean sandy beach and a really i would highly recommend this spot for your car to break down takes the ouch out of waiting for the recovery truck