A Winter Visit to Kingston Maurward


Like a lot of families, we find January a bit of a struggle financially.

Not only is there a longer period between pay dates, but we also have Eliza’s birthday to factor in to the equation too.

I am always on the hunt for inexpensive or free days out to keep the children entertained, so when I was approached by Scottish Friendly to show how easy it is to save money each month by discovering affordable days out in my local town, I happily accepted.

Their new Disposable Income Index showed that 19% of us want to opt for more staycations, while 16%, like us, are looking for cheaper style holidays. In fact I have been busy saving for the last year and even a cheaper holiday is still frustratingly out of reach at the moment.

With it being January, many of our local attractions are closed until February half term and I wanted to take the children to somewhere we have never been, so when a ‘kids go free’ post for Kingston Maurward came up in my facebook feed I found my fun day out.

Kingston Maurward is a land-based college set just outside Dorchester that is home to spectacular gardens and a small animal park. We paid just £6.50 entry price, instead of £24, so I treated the kids to a bag of feed (50p each) so they could feed the animals, although they were initially transfixed by a large plastic cow that they could “milk” at the entrance.

Kingston Maurward

Once they spotted the animals at the bottom of the hill though, they shot off at speed. Eliza and Isaac managed to stay upright but Sebby managed to go over in the mud which everyone, including him, found hilarious (thank goodness I brought baby wipes and a change of clothes for the journey home).

The kids are fairly fearless when it comes to feeding animals, but the sight of a rather large Alpaca heading towards them at speed made them a little nervous, however it, and the goats, couldn’t have been more friendly and once they realised we had food, were stalking us around the paddock.

Kingston Maurward

We wanted to feed some of the sheep that were also in the paddock and ended up having to be quite stealthy as the Alpaca and Goat were determined our food was just for them.

Kingston Maurward Animals

Once our food had all gone, we stroked the ponies before heading back up the hill to see some of their other animals which included some giant rabbits, guinea pigs, an eagle owl, barn owl and harrier hawks.

Kingston Maurward, Dorset

They also have a small classroom where the kids got to identify animals by touch, look at some animal poo and see how the animals grow from babies into adults. In busier times Kingston Maurward also has an owl show, but sadly it wasn’t on for our visit so we headed to the farm themed park to burn off some energy.

Kingston Maurward Play Area

It was then time to head off and explore the gardens which are grade II listed and whether you are a serious gardener or just someone who is looking for a beautiful place to visit they will not disappoint you, even in January.

There is a huge variety of plants and trees to see as well as a pond and fountain and a beautiful lawned area which I can imagine would be perfect for picnics when the weather gets warmer.

Kingston Maurward Gardens

The kids loved exploring and playing hide and seek in the gardens as there are plenty of hedges and nooks and crannies to hide inside and behind.

Kingston Maurward Gardens

We spent a good couple of hours on site and I could imagine spending a full day here when the weather is warmer, but the favourite activity had to be feeding the animals.

We have added a new ‘go to’ place to our Dorset itinerary and I do advise you keep an eye on the Kingston Maurward facebook page for their events and offers. We will certainly be back for lambing weekend in March!

A day out for one adult and 3 children for £8 – bargain!!

What are your favourite days out on a budget where you live?

Country Kids

20 thoughts on “A Winter Visit to Kingston Maurward

  1. Joanna says:

    It looks like a great place to take the children for a day out and the fact that you paid so little is even a treat! I love that they have Alpacas, I find it so funny to see them in the UK, as they are a South American native animal. They are so cute though.

  2. It’s great when you find places like this where the price is more than reasonable and there’s something for everyone. Makes you want to go back on return trips. Looks like you all had a good day out, and who doesn’t enjoy feeding the animals?!
    tracey at Mummyshire recently posted…Project 365 | Week 03/52My Profile

  3. Sarah says:

    I have never been here despite not living far away. It looks like a great day out, will have to keep an eye out for more special offers! #CountryKids
    Sarah recently posted…Finding Gruffalos And Squelching In MudMy Profile

  4. What a fab entry price, it looks like an amazing fun filled day out #Countrykids
    clare AKA Emmy’s Mummy recently posted…Family Fun: Crazy GolfMy Profile

  5. Oh what a lovely day out. I need to look for cheaper alternatives as a lot of places are so expensive. The gardens here look beautiful x
    Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours recently posted…Merlin Annual Pass Sale & Thorpe Park GiveawayMy Profile

  6. Great savings – and a cool place to visit too. We live on an extremely tight budget and I’m always looking for cheap days out. Sarah #CountryKids

  7. £8 for a day out? That’s amazing! And I’m from Yorkshire so I know about being ‘frugal’. Glad you had such a good time! #countrykids

  8. Helena says:

    What a wonderful place. Thank you for sharing your experience. #CountryKids

  9. What a great find! And, it looks like the kids had a brilliant time, love the photos of them feeding the animals. My kids love doing that too 🙂 #countrykids
    Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…Winter: first snowMy Profile

  10. Claire says:

    Lovely photos. This looks like a great day out and a real bargain. #countrykids

  11. That’s a real bargain and a great mix of activities too. #CountryKids
    Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One recently posted…Chasing away the cobwebsMy Profile

  12. Coombe Mill says:

    It looks just like Coombe Mill! What a bargain you found. How could anyone not love this for just £8 for you all. Sounds like a great initiative to find affordable days out and you hit the jack pot with this one. I love the photos of the kids feeding the animals, they really are in their element. I so want one of those cows, we looked at the Royal Cornwall show last year but they are £’000s to buy. We keep half an eye on ebay in case one comes up there, judging by your three it would be a good investment for us.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids and I look forward to more of your local bargain discoveries.
    Coombe Mill recently posted…Country Kids 21st January 2017My Profile

  13. Looks like a great place to go with the family, especially at that price! Not sure I would be so keen paying full price if I am honest though, especially at this time of the year. Looks like there is something for all ages. #CountryKids

  14. Aaahh what a lovely place to visit that doesn’t break the bank either. Too many places nowadays are a rip off so refreshing to find somewhere that isn’t x

  15. This looks like a really great place, what a good find. There is a similar place near here actually, although there isn’t quite as much to do! You are right though, January is such a struggle as our budget is even lower than usual. I think I need to search around for a few more deals! #countrykids

  16. Kerry Norris says:

    This place looks great. My girls love feeding animals and playing hide and seek x
    Kerry Norris recently posted…The Siblings Project – January 2017My Profile

  17. Natalia says:

    This looks like an amazing plan. There is also a park with animals in Sheffield, and you can see them for free (not sure if you can feed them though!). I think I will be visiting again this weekend of the weather is ok xx
    Natalia recently posted…5 Maxi Dresses That Are Always Trendy and CoolMy Profile

  18. We visited Kingston Maurwood many years ago when I was pregnant with child #7. It was fantastic. There was a little black lamb that took a liking to then two-year-old Eddie and followed him around *everywhere*. Eddie named him ‘Little Lamb’. He still remembers it.
    Tania @ Larger Family Life recently posted…How I lost 60lbs with DDP YogaMy Profile

  19. Naomi says:

    Lovely photos- it’s so pretty! Price is a bit steep though without the discount! Would you say it’s worth the full price?!
    I love farms and a walk ❤️ My sort of day.
    Naomi recently posted…Why Matlock bath is a great day out for a baby/toddlerMy Profile

  20. That is an amazing price, and what a great activity for the kids. we struggle this time of year too so any hints and tips like this are gratefully received
    Zena’s Suitcase recently posted…Tips For Dealing With A Fear Of Flying #Travel #TTOTMy Profile

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