Dorset is recently famed as the filming location for ITV’s Broadchurch on West Bay. Besides beaches, Amy Moore details alternative attractions for groups in the sunny South of England
Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre is situated amidst 65-acres of stunning Dorset woodland, providing a sanctuary for over 250 primates from more than 20 different species.
Monkey World was created by Jim Cronin in 1987 and nowadays, works in conjunction with foreign governments worldwide to stop the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia.
For groups, Monkey World offers talks and guided tours led by a knowledgeable Education Officer/Tour Guide. Tours last approximately one hour and 15 minutes and should be arranged in advance via the attractions Admin Office.
Educational talks are also available for schools, youth clubs and larger groups. Worksheets can be downloaded from the website (www.monkeyworld.org/education).
Discounted group rates are available for parties of 10 or more. School groups are permitted, with one teacher admitted per six children. Booking Forms can be downloaded from the website.
For more information visit www.monkeyworld.org
At the Tank Museum in Bovington, groups can explore six spacious halls where they can come close to vehicles that have fought in major wars of the 20th century, whilst hearing primary accounts from those who fought inside them.
The Tank Museum houses a collection of over 300 vehicles, including the world’s first ever tank – Little Willie – the feared German Tiger and the modern Challenger 2.
Exhibitions at the Tank Museum track almost 100 years of history, reinforced by a vast collection of tanks and supporting artefacts.
Exhibitions are displayed chronologically, tracing The Trench Experience in France in 1916, the rise of the tank during the Second World War and Battlegroup Afghanistan, which documents the use of tanks in the present day.
The Tank Museum offers discounted admission to pre-booked parties of 12 plus, with adults priced at £11 per person. The Tank Museum welcomes groups year-round and boasts free on-site parking for cars, minibuses and coaches.
Guided tours last approximately one hour and can accommodate up to 20 people at a time. Tours must be booked at least seven days in advance.
For more information visit www.tankmuseum.org/visit-us/groups
Corfe Castle stands on a naturally formed hill overlooking the picturesque town of Purbeck. Guarding the principle route through the Purbeck Hills, this 1,000-year-old regal mound has been shaped by warfare – mainly the English Civil War – whereby it was partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians. Group rates are available on the National Trust website (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle).
Corfe Castle Model Village is a neat addition, showcasing the castle before its demolition at 1/20th scale. Here, visitors can compare the castle from 300 years ago to what it looks like today.
Discounted rates and free parking is available for parties of 10 people or more and 40 people or more, with group travel organisers, coach drivers and teachers admitted free of charge. Corfe Castle Model Village offers a package with cream tea by prior arrangement.
For more information visit www.corfecastlemodelvillage.co.uk
To enhance their visit, groups could hop aboard the Swanage Steam Railway, which journeys through the ruins of Corfe Castle, travelling to the Blue Flag beach at Swanage. For more information visit www.swanagerailway.co.uk
Adventure Wonderland in Bournemouth houses over 30 rides and attractions including Cuddle Corner Farm, Battle Boats and Charlie Cools Driving School.
Adventure Wonderland is a family-friendly venue suitable for children aged three to 10 years and consists of three separate zones; Adventureland, Wonderland and Wild Thing.
Wild Thing is an indoor adventure play centre that boasts three tube slides, plus a more exhilarating Piranha slide, amongst others.
Discounts are available for pre-booked parties of 20 plus. For more information visit www.adventurewonderland.co.uk
Bournemouth Aviation Museum is an independently run charity, which landed across the road from Adventure Wonderland in 2008. Established in 1998 as the Jet Heritage Museum, Bournemouth Aviation Museum houses 20 hands-on exhibits relating to the world of aviation and can be easily combined with a visit to the theme park adjacent.
For more information visit www.aviation-museum.co.uk
Lulworth Cove is a famous Dorset attraction and Natural World Heritage Coastline, ideal for leisurely walks. Close to the Jurassic Coast is the West Lulworth Heritage Centre.
To the east end of the beach are steps leading to the Fossil Forest and Mupe Bay, offering a stunning cliff-top walk, though it passes through an restricted area and is only open on weekends and throughout August.
Of course, the area is most recognisable for the Durdle Door rock formation. This massive rock arch between Swanage and Weymouth overlooks a sloping beach, which makes for a wonderful place to visit, or simply a sunbathe whilst enjoying some breathtaking scenery.