Where to hunt for dinosaurs in Dorset


Enjoy a memorable family break in Dorset this half term, hunting for prehistoric creatures.


31st January 2019

The Acorn Inn

With waves crashing against rocky cliffs, gradually revealing the fossils they contain, a hunt for prehistoric treasures is a popular pastime in Dorset. A 30-minute drive from The Acorn Inn, the Jurassic Coast is a must-visit during your stay. Winter is when to catch it at its most plentiful, as the stormy weather churns up the beaches, bringing back many previously lost relics. Find yourself nose-to-nose with dinosaurs at Dorset’s museums and scout for your own ancient finds on the beautiful beaches that make up England’s only natural World Heritage Site. Here’s where to go dinosaur-hunting in Dorset.

Dinosaur Dorset

The Fossil Forest

One of the region’s most famous sites for its fossilised Jurassic forest – the most complete of its kind in the world – the Fossil Forest is where history foragers should start their explorations. Traverse its ancient geographical landscape to see the imprints left behind by prehistoric trees, their trunks and roots some 144 million years old, for a glimpse of the world that dinosaurs inhabited.

Kimmeridge Bay

Ramblers seeking to collect an extraordinary souvenir on their beach walk should head for Kimmeridge Bay. Due to its crumbling rock face, beautifully formed fossils continually emerge here. To come up close with Jurassic marine life, duck into the nearby Etches Collection Museum. Immaculately preserved sea creatures line the walls, while other fossils are brought to life by giant projections.

Dinosaur Dorset


Ideal for a family trip, the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre flanks a pretty beach. Not only does the centre house a seriously impressive collection of fossils – including the Charmouth Dinosaur alongside more recent finds – it offers guided fossil hunts. The walk lasts two hours and helps children uncover their own prehistoric treasures to take home.


Children are consistently captivated by the otherworldly displays at The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester, a 20-minute drive from The Acorn Inn. Dinosaur skulls, teeth, eggs and even faeces comprise the intriguing exhibits here. Step back in time to when dinosaurs roamed Dorset, solve interactive puzzles and dare to dip your hands into feely boxes – strictly reserved for bold adventurers only.

Dinosaur Dorset

Lyme Regis

Coastal-hugging Lyme Regis is another must-visit destination for digging up dinosaurs in Dorset. Make a beeline for the Dinosaurland Fossil Museum to discover a striking collection of 200-million-year-old objects of all shapes and sizes, all found locally. Lyme Regis Museum has featured on several TV programmes and its knowledgeable team leads guided fossil walks on the surrounding beaches. Ammonites, belemnites and bones from ichthyosaurs, or ‘fish lizards’, are what you can hope to encounter here.


Travelling forward in time to the days of literary hero Thomas Hardy, The Hardy Bar at The Acorn Inn is the perfect place to kick back following an intrepid day of prehistoric discovery. Sink into a leather armchair beside the fire with a pint of Jurassic Ale – an apt toast to Dorset’s past.

Dinosaur Dorset

Stay at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Acorn Inn for easy access to Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, beautiful beaches and family-friendly activities.

Image credits: lead image © Dinosaur Museum. Fossils © iStock/purplevine. Kimmeridge Bay © iStock/JoeGough. Megalosaurus © Dinosaurland Fossil Museum. Lyme Regis seafront © iStock/mtreasure.

Related Articles

Back to nature with the children

From hunting for fossils or the Gruffalo to mini beast safaris, discover thrilling activities close to Summer Lodge.

03rd December 2020

The best National Trust houses in Dorset

Explore idyllic properties with our guide to the best National Trust houses in and around Dorset.

23rd July 2020

Mapperton House
Exploring Mapperton House and Gardens

Described as the nation’s finest manor house and gardens, Mapperton House is a short drive from Summer Lodge and a must-see.

13th May 2020