West Bay Adventure Playground, near Bridport (West Dorset)
West Bay Adventure Playground (and harbourside/beach wander)
Ample parking (pay & display)
Public toilets with changing facilities very close
Close to beaches, ice cream kiosks and harbour
Suitable for all ages
Accessible play equipment
Location: West Bay Road car park
Ahh, the humble playground – the classic choice for free, energy burning fun. Some are better than others, and I’m pleased to report that the one next to the large long stay car park in West Bay, near Bridport, is a great one.
And by that I mean not only does it have a huge range of exciting and relatively modern play equipment for children of all ages and abilities (some of the equipment is designed to be suitable for kids with additional needs and disabilities, including a wheelchair swing and roundabout), but also it’s right next to the loos and car park (convenient) AND it has nice views over the Dorset countryside, making it a half decent place to stand around while your kids scale the climbing frames.
The playground has recently been extended with a whole new section to appeal to smaller children, complete with lower level balancing course and some nice sensory activities such as warped mirrors and a wall-mounted musical instruments.
To add extra novelty, and as a nod to its seaside location (West Bay’s beautiful beaches and harbour are just a 5-minute stroll away), the playground is covered in sand which gives it a treasure island kind of feel.
There’s a huge rope swing thingy (I’m sure you’ve come to appreciate my playground equipment descriptions), a ship’s deck, various climbing structures, a trampoline and lots more.
Children of all ages will enjoy this play area, but my only gripe is that there’s no solid fence to contain smaller ones who don’t understand the dangers of the adjoining car park. There are big rocks to mark off the boundary, but there are large gaps in between so if you’ve got a ‘bolter’ that’s something to be aware of. Also, because the park is so large now, it’s tricky to keep an eye on more than one young child if they’re anything like mine and have a tendency to split up – I took Granny last time for supervisory reinforcement!
You could take a picnic on a fine day as there’s a few benches and picnic tables dotted around, but if you’re looking to extend your visit, we enjoy wandering around the harbour usually in search of a bite to eat. My recommendations are RISE café/restaurant just over the river bridge (good food, nice views, casual vibes) and Cherries café & ice cream parlour – not that I’ve tested it out yet personally but the menu looks great and I want to treat the girls to one of their incredible-looking sundaes one day soon!
Or, you could opt for the classic fish and chips from one of the kiosks around the harbour, as long as you don’t mind doing battle with the seagulls.
We usually finish up with a walk (buggy friendly) along to the end of the seafront promenade exploring the pier along the way, or a blow about on the beach.