The UK holiday resort with an indoor swimming pool and golden beach that costs just £15 a night

After a walk through ancient forests, we finally reached what seemed to be the perfect picnic spot.

It was a nice patch of grass in the shade of a large tree, near a group of grazing wild ponies.

Dorset features the Sandbanks Peninsula and its famous Millionaire's Row


Dorset features the Sandbanks Peninsula and its famous Millionaire’s RowCredit: Alamy

While we ate sandwiches from our selection of local treats, we watched in fascination as the horses trotted about.

This is the true beauty of the New Forest.

Everything comes to life at this time of year as birds sing from the bushes and the warmer weather brings happy faces to the pub gardens overlooking the rolling Dorset hills.

My family and I lived in St Leonards, near Bournemouth seafront, and our modern caravan in family friendly Oakdene Forest Park was the perfect base for exploring.

Book a lodge with a hot tub if you want to enjoy the view in complete privacy.

But kids will likely prefer the indoor pool, which has a waterslide, plus a sauna and steam room for the adults.

All of the on-site activities on offer, from archery to water scooters, could easily entertain a family.

But it would be a waste not to make the 30-minute drive to Sandbanks, a peninsula in Poole with a golden beach and pretty harbour.

The weather was good on the day we visited and we spent the morning building sandcastles, paddling in the cold water, strolling along the beach and enjoying the gentle breeze.

The area is also not short of excellent cafes and restaurants.

Grab a table at Rick Stein, which is owned by the TV chef and offers a three-course weekday meal for less than £30.

Expect delicious seafood dishes, including grilled sardines with tomato and garlic or fish cakes with aioli and arugula, followed by peanut butter cheesecake or panna cotta with poached pears.

Sandbanks is known for its opulent neighborhood, often referred to as Millionaire Row for its luxurious waterfront properties.

It soon turned into a little family game where we tried to guess who lived in each glamorous house.

Dorset has many beaches where you can build sand castles and paddle in the sea


Dorset has many beaches where you can build sand castles and paddle in the seaPhoto credit: Getty
Head inland to the New Forest, where everything comes alive at this time of year


Head inland to the New Forest, where everything comes alive at this time of yearPhoto credit: Getty

If beaches aren’t your thing, history buffs will love Hurst Castle’s artillery.

It’s a short boat ride from the seaside town of Lymington and is packed with fun exhibits.

Built by Henry VIII, the ramparts once held Charles I prisoner in 1648 before he was led to London to be executed.

The kids loved dashing around the stone building, although getting there seemed to be the most exciting part for them.

Both gasped in awe at the panoramic view from our small boat and squealed with excitement as they spotted the lighthouse overlooking the Solent.

Back on the couch in St. Leonards we treated ourselves to an ice cream in front of our trailer.

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With such glorious weather, there is few place in Europe that can beat the British coast.

And when it costs less than £300 for a family, it’s a no-brainer.

GO: Dorset

STAY THERE: Four nights self catering in a Sensation Caravan at Oakdene Forest Parks costs from £230 based on a family of four.


Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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