It’s official, school’s done and dusted for the year and we have 6 glorious weeks of summer stretching out ahead of us to fill with whatever we please! After a year full of restrictions and lockdowns, we should all make the most of any free time (and good weather!) to do the things we were wishing for back in January. Nevertheless, it is important to remember to go at your own pace, if you don’t feel comfortable going into indoor venues or big crowds, plan some smaller events with your close friends or go and explore a new part of your local area.
However you decide to enjoy yourself over the next month, we encourage you to do so safely by wearing a mask and washing your hands regularly.
With all that said and done…let’s move onto the list!
We couldn’t kick this list off any other way than by reminding you to join us at Bourne Free Pride in Meyrick Park, Bournemouth on August 21st where we will be taking part in the walking parade! Bourne Free are also running a Family Fun Night on August 20th and a ticketed 18+ event in the Triangle on August 21st.
Outside of Dorset (but still fairly local) are Yeovil Pride and New Forest Pride which share the same date as Bourne Free on August 21st and Salisbury Pride on which is taking place on September 4th. You could even throw your own Pride with your friends by wearing clothes in the colours which represent your pride flag and watching LGBT+ movies or listening to music by LGBT+ artists (keep your eyes peeled for our recommendations in a later blog post!)
2) Visit the Beach!
Dorset has nothing if it doesn’t have beaches! Nearly every single major town in the county has a seafront and you can get a truly unique experience at each one. While Bournemouth is sure to be packed with extra attractions (personally I am a huge fan of the arcade) there are also quieter beaches around Christchurch where you can find some space away from the crowds to play games or set up a BBQ/picnic.
If you’re heading to the beach this summer, consider getting a Pride flag beach towel or a rainbow inflatable ball (and don’t forget to cover yourself in sun-cream!)
3) Go fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast!
The Jurassic Coast starts over in Devon, but luckily for us it ends in Dorset! This rocky seafront crosses through West Dorset, Weymouth, Portland, and Purbeck before it finally ends at Old Harry Rocks near Poole and is a great place to find fossils (so long as you keep your eyes peeled while you walk!)
If you stop in Swanage you can even see a dinosaur footprint on the Priest’s Way walking route or visit their free Museum which tells you all about the history of the local area.
4) Brush up on your local history!
If fossils aren’t enough to quench your thirst for local history, there’s plenty of places for you to visit all around Dorset. The most obvious candidate is Stonehenge (which isn’t actually in Dorset but is impossible to leave off the list!) but there are smaller, more local historic sites too.
The Pirate Graveyard is located outside St Andrew’s Church in Portland and contains a stone tomb, with a Jolly Roger-style skull and crossbones on the end. Rumour has it that it marks the resting place of a pirate who terrorised the Caribbean before returning to ravage his native shores in the south coast of England –this is most likely an old wives tale but you could still go and have a look to make your own mind up on this one.
Another great place to visit is Tyneham near Wareham. It is often referred to as Dorset’s ‘lost’ village, because it was completely evacuated in December 1943 during WWII and has been deserted ever since. You can still see some of the original buildings and ruins while both the Church and School buildings have been restored and house exhibitions about the village and villagers.
Our final historic suggestion is the Ducking Stool in Christchurch – not be confused with the café (although if you’re there anyway you should definitely stop by and try one of their HUGE milkshakes!). The ducking stool is a piece of history left over from medieval times when witches used to be tried by ‘ducking’ which means they were dunked under the water and if they drowned they were innocent, if they lived they were a witch. Although you can’t sit in the ducking stool, it is within walking distance of a set of stocks (medieval punishment devices) which you are free to put your head and hands into for a funny photo opportunity and which are right next to the ruins of a typical early 12th-century castle and a chamber block now known as the Norman House.
5) Even more history at Kingston Lacy!
Kingston Lacy is a National Trust house just outside of Wimborne and while you do have to pay for entry (£17.20 for adults and £8.60 for children) it is a great piece of local LGBT+ history.
William John Bankes, a traveller and collector, started to make some dramatic changes to the décor of Kingston Lacy, but only 7 years after he started he was caught in an intimate relationship with one of his guardsmen in a time when being gay was a crime punishable by death. He had no choice but to leave his home and exile himself abroad where he continued his travels for a further 14 years. While away he sent gifts in the form of great works of art, marble carvings, and furniture, back to his house in Dorset and left detailed instructions for his siblings to complete his redesign of the house.
6) Go for a walk and see a giant’s 🍆👀!
This one is only for the people with a silly sense of humour! Visit the Cerne Giant between Dorchester and Yeovil to see an ancient naked figure sculpted into the chalk hillside. You can’t get up very close to it but you can take a lot of silly pictures and the walk itself is a nice day out and a good way to get a bit of exercise.
If you’re looking for something a little less R-rated then try a walk around Badbury Rings where there are the remains of Iron Age forts or try the Osmington White Horse near Weymouth which is another chalk sculpture but with clothes firmly on.
7) See some art for free!
TheGallery in Poole is a space for Bournemouth Arts students, but displays work by all sorts of different artists from all over the world. It hosts a number of artist talks, panel discussions and other events to support the exhibition programme but the main gallery is free! They have a tonne of events happening all summer so check out their website if you’re planning a visit.
8) The Selfie Wall Trail
Have you even been to Bournemouth if you haven’t taken a selfie in front of some graffiti?! Well it turns out, you’re supposed to do that! The Selfie Wall Trail goes all around Bournemouth and features paintings by numerous artists which you’re encouraged to take a photo in front of. Whether you complete the whole walk in one day or you find the paintings closest to you while you’re out and about, it’s a great way to explore Bournemouth and see the city through a new lens.
9) Summer Live
Our next activity can be done on the same day as the Selfie Wall Trail, and can take as much or as little time as you like! If you’re around Bournemouth we recommend dropping into Summer Live in the square. Summer Live is a free event for all ages with live music every evening (and weekend afternoons!). You can see Bournemouth’s amazing winter fair given a new look for a new season, watch artists in action as they create right next to their stalls, browse some local, beach themed products ,drop in for Henna body art or face painting or just sit and enjoy the music. This is one we recommend doing on a lazy sunny day!
10) Space Youth Project!
What would this list be without a shameless piece of self promotion eh? Our groups are continuing to run all over Dorset all summer at their usual times and locations – no need to book, just turn up! For more information please feel free to contact us at email@example.com, on the contact us page of our website or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!