What’s On this May Half Term

Food festivals, exciting nature trails in the grounds of grand houses, smuggler themed adventure golf and zooming down ae zip wire are just some of the events and activities that can be enjoyed by everyone this May half term across Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole. 

At the end of this month the temperatures will be perfect for enjoying the coastline but beyond the beach there are castles, museums, theatres, cinemas, country houses, harbours, boat trips, cycle paths and nature reserves, as well as a huge variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes.

Cllr Millie Earl, Deputy Leader, BCP Council and Portfolio Holder for Connected Communities, said: “Whatever the weather there is always so much to do across our three towns – much of it free.

“There are brilliant attractions, fantastic children’s activities, every kind of water sport and of course plenty of places to find delicious ice cream and other half-term treats.”


At the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum admire the works of French impressionist Albert de Belleroche (3 May – 22 September) while the children make their own masterpieces in arts and crafts sessions. 

Bournemouth seafront is the perfect backdrop to enjoy 18 holes of action-packed fun at Smuggler’s Cove Adventure Golf, open every day between 10am and 5.30pm. Packed with challenges this course is perfect for some healthy school holiday competition.

There are plenty of thrills to be had on Bournemouth Pier, from Rock Reef’s multiple climbing experiences to the two-person PierZip adventure. Celebrating its tenth birthday in 2024, the Bournemouth PierZip transports people at great speeds from the 25ft Pier Tower over the waves to the beach.

Stroll through The Grade II Listed Lower Gardens which run from the beach to Bournemouth Square offering a tranquil, flower filled oasis with music and art in Pine Walk, crazy golf, a bandstand, and plenty of refreshment pit stops. 


The free Christchurch Food Festival returns to The Quomps on the late May Bank Holiday weekend with a stellar line up of chefs, locally produced food, and entertainment for all the family.

Get a full house in Highcliffe Castle’s £1 Woodland Bingo trail or craft your own origami butterfly inside the magnificent Grade I Listed building.

On Wednesday 29 May why not take advantage of a 50 per cent off family admission which includes all indoor activities in the castle.

Christchurch Priory stands tall in the centre of town and is a key stop on all the many walking trails, including the recently refreshed Millenium Blue Plaque Trail.

Explore the 11th Century Place Mill which will be hosting a series of art exhibitions through the summer including the fantastic work of the South Coast Makers at the end of May.


This May half term Upton Country Park have teamed up with the Dorset Heaths Partnership and the Bird and Recreation Initiative (BARI) to bring visitors two free wildlife trails to enjoy from 25 May to 2 June. 

Alternatively, join in the weekly Saturday morning Park Runs and Junior Park runs at Upton Country Park or enjoy a free guided tour of Upton House during the Open Day, Sunday 26 May.

Enjoy the cafes, lakes and wild bird life at Poole Park or the stunning gardens of Compton Acres, one of the finest private gardens in the UK.

Hop on a cruise boat from the bustling Poole Quay to visit Brownsea Island, located in the centre of Poole Harbour. The island is home to a huge array of sea birds, rare flora and fauna, peacocks, and red squirrels. 

Poole has something for visitors and residents alike – a rich mix of medieval and maritime history, high quality seafood and fish restaurants, a nationally acclaimed arts centre and the second largest natural harbour in the world.

Head over to our ‘whats on‘ page for more details.

Photo credit: BCP Council