A great time in Dorset certainly doesn't have to cost the earth, take a look at some of these places for FREE days out

Swanage Beach [12.2 mi, 25 mins] - Probably one of the key attractions of Swanage is the beach with many flocking to it every summer to relax on the sand. The waters are clean and consequently many European Blue Flag Awards have been achieved. Therefore, Swanage beach has a well earned reputation for being a place to soak up the sun and play in the sand and sea.

Studland Beach and Nature Reserve [11.8 mi, 26 mins] - Fine sandy beaches stretch continuously for 3 miles from South Haven Point to Handfast Point. Stroll out to the noteworthy Old Harry Rocks also paddle in the sandy shores of Shell Bay. Behind the beach is a National Nature Reserve with its heathland home to a number of rare birds.

Wareham Forest [3.6 mi, 9 mins] - Walk or cycle through heathland & forest. Morden Bog is probably one of the largest valley mire habitats in England. Picnic benches & signposted walks make visits so enjoyable. Cyclists welcome the 2 metre or wider tracks. Access to the the 7 mile family-friendly Sika Cycle Trail is from the small car park or via the Northport Greenway.

Badbury Rings [11.4 mi, 24 mins] - An Iron Age hillfort in east Dorset. The site dates from around 800 BC and was in use until the Roman occupation around 43 AD. The area forms part of the The National Trust's Kingston Lacy estate. Hence the site has been restored to light grazing land which has always played an important role in establishing wild herbs and flowers.

Upton Wood [4.3 mi, 10 mins] - Another small woodland on the edge of Upton (opposite Upton Country Park). Throughout the year a number of events take place. The Wood includes footpaths, cyclepaths and also a Woodland Trail. Running streams, open glades and seats to sit and rest a while are always welcomed. Purbeck District Council provide a map & leaflet.

Durlston Country Park [13.5 mi, 29 mins] - A gateway to England's first natural World Heritage Site which has received the Green Flag Award since 2006. The combination of geology and accessible wildlife makes Durlston a very special place. The area is a 100 hectare paradise, consisting of sea cliffs, limestone downland, haymeadows, hedgerows and woodland.

Wimborne Minster [9 mi, 21 mins] - There has been a church in Wimborne since 705 AD when Queen Cuthburga founded her nunnery here and since then each generation has left its mark on the Minster. On the side of the west tower there is the famous astronomical clock with the quarterjack (a life-size soldier) who strikes his bell every 15 minutes.

Margaret Green Animal Rescue [9.3 mi, 16 mins] - A Sanctuary & Visitor Centre in Purbeck rescuing cats, horses, farm animals, rabbits, birds and more. Dogs are at their Winterborne Kingston Centre. Picnic in some of Dorset's most beautiful scenery and wander around to see the care they take of their animals.

Wareham Walls [2.6 mi, 8 mins] - Saxon ramparts which surround the historic town of Wareham. Paths on the walls give good views of the rivers & town and link into the ‘Bowling Green’ open space. Different grass cutting times encourage a variety of flowers. The Walls surround Wareham on three sides and are found in the heart of the town.

Tyneham Village [8.6 mi, 22 mins] - Evacuated in December 1943 for military training during the second world war and has been deserted ever since. Many of the buildings survive and the Church (still used for occasional services) & School now house excellent exhibitions. For opening times see here.

More FREE days out in Dorset here