Bournemouth is one of the UK’s most beautiful coastal towns and a popular spot for families to visit all year round.
Located in Dorset on the Southeast coast, Bournemouth is an amazing spot for bracing walks, gorgeous Victorian architecture and fun watersports on the coast.
3 things that your toddler is probably not remotely interested in…
But fear not — there are plenty of things to do in Bournemouth with toddlers that make it a fantastic family destination.
And hopefully you’ll be allowed a little time to do some of the things you want to do as well while you’re there!
- Fun Things To Do In Bournemouth with Toddlers
- Kids Play Café
- Adventure Wonderland
- Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre
- Bournemouth Beach and Pier
- Paultons Park
- Oasis Fun
- Lollipops Soft Play Café
- Littledown Centre
- Giggles 4 Kids
- The Clay Studio
- Wimbourne Model Town
- Boscombe Beach and Pier
- Bournemouth Aviation Museum
- West Cliff Lift
- Alum Chine Beach
- The Bournemouth Big Wheel
- Red House Museum
- Hengistbury Head Beach
Fun Things To Do In Bournemouth with Toddlers
The Oceanarium, located right opposite Bournemouth Pier on the Promenade, is one of the town’s best attractions for kids – and one of the UK’s best aquariums!
Much more impressive than a standard aquarium, it’s home to penguins, sharks, otters, crocodiles, jellyfish, piranhas, stingrays, turtles and much more. It’ll be a real underwater education for you!
Toddlers will doubtless also love the adventure trail and Kids’ Play Zone — they can even measure themselves up against the Penguins of the World height chart! There are also daily feeding presentations and talks all over the Oceanarium.
Kids Play Café
Found on Charminster Road, not far from the Winton Recreation Ground, the Kids Play Café is an amazing play space and cafe that toddlers are sure to love.
Designed for role play adventures, it’s split into various play areas that tend to change every few months. At the time of writing, some of the areas include The Pirate Ship, The Train, The Fire Engine, The Castle, and Superheroes. There’s also a dedicated baby area if you’ve got a younger child as well.
In the cafe you’ll find meals and lighter bites for both adults and kids, as well as a selection of hot and cold drinks. The perfect fuel for a day of play!
Adventure Wonderland is a popular little theme park for toddlers found close to Bournemouth Airport that’s focused squarely on family fun for children aged under 11 years old.
Some of the rides your toddler is sure to get a kick out of include the Flying Elephants, Curvy Caterpillars Ride, Giant Yo-Yo Ride and Mr Rabbit’s Big Bouncy Burrows. There’s also a huge indoor soft play centre and plenty of entertainment at the Happydrome Theatre.
For a small additional fee, your child can even have a pony ride!
Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre
If you fancy spending some time with your toddler in the great outdoors of Bournemouth, then the Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre is a great place to start.
Located on the northwestern edge of Bournemouth, the Visitor Centre serves as a gateway to the beautiful Stour Valley Nature Reserve. Here you can learn all about the smuggling past of this part of the country, as well as all the wildlife you can expect to see on your walk.
There are accessible walks with buggies and trikes around Stour Valley and on the riverside so be sure to ask for directions at the Centre. They also host lots of activities and events throughout the year so make sure to check in regularly!
Bournemouth Beach and Pier
It wouldn’t be a visit to Bournemouth if you didn’t spend at least a little time at the beach and pier!
Bournemouth is famous for its beaches and they can get very busy during the Summer. If you’re visiting in July and August, make sure you get an LV=Kidzone wristband at the main beaches for your children, which is a scheme designed to prevent and reunite missing children with their families.
The pier, meanwhile, is a gloriously nostalgic piece of Victorian architecture that kids will love walking along and exploring. There are lots of shops and cafes along it — as well as seasonal markets and events throughout the year.
Older kids will doubtless love the watersport attractions available — but that may be a few years too early for your toddler!
Not strictly in Bournemouth but about a 30 minute drive away is Paultons Park — a family theme park most famous for being the home of Peppa Pig World.
Toddlers and older children alike will be blown away by Paultons and its various ‘worlds’. Not only is there Peppa Pig World, but also the Lost Kingdom (great for dinosaur lovers), Critter Creek, Little Africa and Tornado Springs.
You can easily spend an entire day here, if not longer. There are a number of hotels nearby that offer combination packages with a stay and Paultons tickets. It’s routinely voted the best theme park in the UK and there’s no doubt that it’s a family favourite!
Back to the centre of Bournemouth now for the brilliant Oasis Fun — an amusement centre for children that has plenty to entertain toddlers with — and even adults for that matter.
The large indoor soft play will be the biggest draw for younger kids, but there’s fun for all the family here with bowling, adventure golf, arcade games and pool. There’s also a diner and bar for when you need to fuel up for more fun!
Prices are very reasonable at Oasis Fun and it’s easy to while away the hours here. As it’s all inside, it’s a great option for a rainy day.
Lollipops Soft Play Café
Located in Westbourne, Lollipops is a fantastic soft play venue for under 8s that toddlers will love. As it’s housed in a converted church, it’s super tall at 3 storeys — so much play space!
Prices are very reasonable and graded according to age, and adults can get in for free. They also host various events here throughout the year that are worth checking out, and you can even book birthday parties as well.
As you can tell by the name, there’s also a café at Lollipops — ideal for parents while the kids are playing and your toddler for after they’ve worn themselves out! There’s a wide selection of hot and cold drinks, and plenty of food choices too.
If you fancy some active family fun, head over to the Littledown Centre, just north of the town, for some swimming.
They’ve got 3 separate pools, including a teaching pool and a splash pool with a couple of waterslides. If you’re visiting during the school holidays and weekends keep an eye out for the Wet and Wacky sessions, which is full of inflatables and fun!
There are lots of other sports and clubs available at the centre, but the pool is definitely the best choice for toddlers if you’re just dropping in.
Giggles 4 Kids
Giggles 4 Kids is another soft play centre, located just north of the centre in the West Howe Industrial Estate. There are two frames here — one for smaller babies and non-walkers, and another for bigger kids.
Entry is extremely competitively priced so this is a good place to check out if you’re looking for a day out on a budget. Bear in mind that there’s a height limit of 4′ 5″ and children over this height will not be allowed to play on either frame.
There’s also a café serving hot and cold food and drinks to keep the whole family fueled all day!
The Clay Studio
If you’re looking for something a little creative to do with your kids in Bournemouth, head over to The Clay Studio in Christchurch for some pottery painting fun.
You’ll need to pay for the pottery items you’re painting as well as studio fees, which is very reasonably priced for kids — and there’s a good family deal available as well. They also have a ‘Lazy Sunday’ deal which sees studio fees halved. You can spend as long as you want painting and there’s also a café on site.
For families with babies, take a look at their baby offerings — including hand and feet imprints, and even silver clay jewellery.
Wimbourne Model Town
Outside of Bournemouth in Wimbourne Minster is the brilliant Wimbourne Model Town and Gardens. The town has been built to 1/10 scale and features over 100 different shop fronts, set in a 1950s world.
Toddlers will probably love the absurdity of such miniature realism, as well as enjoy the other attractions like Wendy Street — an enclosed play area specifically for younger kids. Crazy golf is also available for a small separate fee, and there’s also a 1950s school to explore, a model railway and a miniature dolls’ house collection too.
Admission prices are reasonable, and under 3s are able to enter for free. Season tickets are also available if you think you’d be interested in visiting often.
Boscombe Beach and Pier
Boscombe Beach can be found just a little way down the coast from central Bournemouth, before you hit Southbourne. It’s another beautiful, Blue Flag sandy beach that’s particularly popular with families.
RNLI lifeguards are on duty between May and September, and there are plenty of beach activities to get involved in like volleyball and table tennis if you’re so inclined.
Toddlers will love Boscombe Pier, which has plenty going on all year round, including a fun Musical Trail which lets them play and explore all the instruments along the pier. Great views and plenty of refreshments make this a great day out!
Bournemouth Aviation Museum
If you’ve got any airplane-mad kids in your family, make sure you take a visit to the Bournemouth Aviation Museum in Christchurch. It’s a real hands-on experience where you’re even encouraged to explore inside the cockpits and handle the controls!
There are plenty of exhibits to discover here, and there’s not only planes — helicopters and buses are also represented! Future pilots and historians will be absolutely fascinated.
Entrance fees are very reasonable and parking is free.
West Cliff Lift
Also known as the West Cliff Funicular Railway, the West Cliff Lift is not to be missed if you want a fun toddler-friendly activity in Bournemouth. It runs from the Bournemouth seafront up to the top of West Cliff and offers really beautiful views over the area.
It was built back in 1908 and really feels like you’re going back in time as you ascend.
Ticket prices are very reasonable and under 5s are allowed on for free. It is only operational between April and October.
Alum Chine Beach
Alum Chine is one of Bournemouth’s most beautiful stretches of Blue Flag beach and can be found westwards from Bournemouth heading to Canford Cliffs.
It’s particularly popular with families with toddlers thanks to the amazing Treasure Island themed adventure playground and the land train to Bournemouth Pier. Like other beaches in Bournemouth, there are RNLI lifeguards, baby changing facilities and lost children centres too.
Nearby the adventure playground is the incredible Tropical Garden, which offers spectacular views of the beach and sea, and are usually very quiet and serene.
The Bournemouth Big Wheel
The Bournemouth Big Wheel can be found at Pier Approach in central Bournemouth and, er, you can’t miss it!
It’s over 100 feet tall and offers some really fab views over the town and the seafront. It’s open from 10am to 10pm so you can choose what light you’d like to view Bournemouth in.
You do get two full rotations of the wheel in your ticket price, which works out to around 10 minutes. Tickets are a little steep considering how quick the experience is, but it’s a good way to keep young kids entertained.
Red House Museum
If you’re looking for more of an educational experience while you’re in Bournemouth, you can’t go wrong with the Red House Museum in Christchurch, which explores the history of the area dating back as far as the Ice Age.
The building itself used to be a Georgian workhouse, and you can learn all about the Saxon princes of the area, the Iron Age history of Hengistbury Head and even dinosaurs in the garden! There is plenty of dressing-up and other hands-on activities available too.
Mums and dads will love the cakes and coffees to be had in the café. Make sure you check out their website for all their toddler-friendly events!
Hengistbury Head Beach
Hengistbury is one of Bournemouth’s quieter and most unspoilt beaches thanks to its location away from the main sprawl and the fact that it’s a pebble beach surrounded by incredible, imposing cliffs.
While it might not be quite as toddler-friendly as some of the more central Bournemouth beaches, there’s still plenty here to entertain, including a beautiful nature reserve and regular ferry transfers over to Mudeford.
Lots of parking and a café mean you can stay here all day if you wish! Make sure you go on a clear day to catch the views over to the Isle of Wight.
Looking for another location? Check out our Days Out section for more ideas.