If you’re looking for a caravan and camping site near Poole or Bournemouth we have a top Dorset campsite recommendation for you. In June we stayed with the Tin Box Grandparents at South Lychett Manor Caravan & Camping Park. Here’s our review of this 5 star Dorset holiday park, which welcomes families and dogs.
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About South Lychett Manor
South Lychett Manor is a multi award-winning camping and caravan site that’s three miles from Poole in Dorset. So, it is an ideal place to stay before getting on a cross channel ferry to France or to Jersey. Ferries travel to St Malo from Poole or to St Helier in Jersey.
However, we can recommend a stay at South Lychett Manor for more than a night. It’s a great family and dog-friendly Dorset campsite with plenty to do close by. The facilities are also everything you’d expect from a 5 star site – modern, clean and welcoming.
Caravan and camping pitches at South Lychett Manor
The caravan and camping park is landscaped into different areas making it feel intimate, while providing plenty of pitches and accommodation for a range of camping and caravan styles.
There is a grassy camping field, plus hard standing and grass pitches with electric hook up. There are also fully serviced super pitches.
We joined the Tin Box Grandparents on the spacious rally field – Minster Field.
It’s nearly a year since we sold our own caravan – sob – so Mr Tin Box and I stayed in a sleeping annex in the awning, while the girls crashed out on the benches at the front of their grandparent’s caravan.
Sleeping under canvas was good fun and we’ve now booked ourselves a proper camping weekend over the summer – watch this space!
Caravan and motorhome pitches at this Dorset campsite include a grass or hardstanding pitch, two adults, free wifi, electric and TV hook-up. Extra people, dogs, awnings and gazebos may cost more depending on the season. Find out the prices for your preferred dates.
Glamping at South Lychett Manor in Dorset
You can also book to stay in a gypsy caravan at South Lychett Manor. There are four hand-painted Romany caravans located near the shower block, giving you easy access to toilet and washing facilities.
These glamping caravans sleep up to four people and cost £70 per night in June. Prices at other times of year range from £60 to £130. This includes heating and use of the shower blocks.
All you need to bring is your usual camping gear like bedding, crockery and cooking equipment.
Check out my glamping packing list.
There are two toilet blocks on the site. We used the one closest to Minster Field. It was a block with a ladies and gents, both with shower, sink and toilet cubicles. There were hair dryers and you can plug in hair straighteners in the laundry where there’s also a mirror if you fancy glamming up.
Around the back of the block there were a few good sized uni-sex shower rooms with a toilet and sink. These are handy for families as you have more room than in one of the cubicles in the ladies or gents.
We used the shower blocks throughout the weekend and they were always clean and tidy, and not that busy despite the site being nearly full.
Along with the shower block there was a dish washing area, laundry room and waste disposal points.
As well as the above camping essentials, you are given WiFi vouchers that allow you free access to the network during your stay. We didn’t use these as we found the 4G reception was also good at the site.
There is a huge dog walking field next to Minster Field. This includes a wild flower patch where pumpkins are grown in the autumn. It’s a great space for pets and their owners, with a couple of benches where you can sit and enjoy the sun.
There’s also a dog wash should your pooch need sprucing up after a day at the beach.
What’s at South Lychett Manor for kids?
This family-friendly Dorset campsite has a good-sized playground, which was perfect for my four and six-year-olds with plenty of modern play equipment.
You can also go to reception and make a charity donation of 30p for bird feed to fill the tummies of the chickens in a coop by the camping field.
For older kids, there’s a small games room next to reception with a pool table, table football, books and board games. Bikes can be hired from reception and there’s an area to play football.
Onsite shop and food
The site shop is at reception and has plenty of cupboard supplies as well as daily fresh bread and pastries. We also spotted beach essentials and dog toys which we are always forgetting to pack.
Each morning a small catering van is open near reception. This is handy if you enjoy a proper coffee or fancy a breakfast roll you don’t have to cook yourself.
If you are looking to dine out then St Peters Finger pub in Lychett Minster village is walking distance from the campsite entrance.
Things to do close by
We found plenty to do near this Dorset campsite during our two night stay. If you prefer not to use your car or you have a motorhome, getting around is made easy by a bus route that stops right outside the site.
About half an hour down the road you’ll find Poole and Bournemouth, where there’s plenty to do as well as the beaches.
Here’s some things to do in Dorset that we can recommend and a couple of that we’d like to do next time we’re in the area:
Courtyard Craft Centre
An easy two minute stroll off site brings you to this charming little craft centre. Find it by following signs in the campsite to ‘Dylan’s Restaurant’, which is a part of the Courtyard Craft Centre. It includes textile and gift shops, and a pottery studio.
We had a browse around before heading home. The girls were treated to some vintage sweets and I couldn’t resist buying some camper van bunting.
There are stunning beaches at Poole, Bournemouth and Swanage. We went to Knoll Beach on Studland for an afternoon.
This is a National Trust beach that welcomes dogs all year round (they must be on a lead during the summer months).
There’s great facilities for families, including a cafe, toilet block, showers and water sports hire, and the beach is easily accessible from the car park.
It was the perfect place to entertain the kids for an afternoon with a picnic, paddling and sandcastle building.
We also used our visit as an opportunity to try our some inflatable standup paddle boards we’d borrowed from Red Paddle Co for a few weeks.
The water was a bit choppy but shallow, making Knoll Beach a good spot for us to give SUP a go for the first time. We all loved the experience and couldn’t wait to get the boards out again at home in Devon the following weekend.
Here’s some of our paddle boarding adventures in Dorset and back home in Devon:
Read our SUP tips for families.
We got to Studland using the Sandbanks Ferry. This costs £4.50 each way. The alternative is to drive around the harbour. On a busy day you can be sat in traffic on either route, so the time difference is negligible.
There are 20 different species of primates at Monkey World, including gibbons, monkeys, orang-utans and chimpanzees. It’s a rescue and rehabilitation centre, which has been working with smuggled and abused monkeys for more than 30 years.
There are half-hourly talks by the primate care staff, who introduce the characters they work with, or you can book a tour for a more in-depth look around.
As well as meeting the monkeys, there’s the Great Ape Play Area – the largest adventure playground in the south.
The Tank Museum
This military museum tells the story of armoured warfare from World War One to the present day, with more than 300 vehicles and tanks on display.
As well as finding out about the machines themselves, the exhibitions tell the story of the people who built them and the crews that drove them. There’s also a 1916 trench experience and a recreated Afghanistan Forward Operating Base.
Find out about ticket prices and special events by visiting the Tank Museum website.
Read my guide to 30 things to do in Dorset with kids.
South Lychett Manor Caravan and Camping Park review
If you are looking for a friendly and well-kept caravan or camping site in Dorset then we’d recommend South Lychett Manor. It’s in a great location for exploring Poole, Bournemouth and Swanage, and the owners obviously take pride in what they offer holidaymakers.
Every aspect of the park, from the spacious dog-walking area to the shower blocks and play park, was excellent.
Have you stayed at South Lychett Manor? Or can you recommend any other Dorset campsites? We’d love to hear about them.
More places to stay in Dorset
Take a look at our reviews of these other family-friendly places to stay in Dorset:
- Verwood Camping and Caravanning Club Site
- Caalm Camp glamping site
- Bournemouth Beach Lodges
- Hotel Collingwood in Bournemouth
More campsite reviews
Looking for more caravan and campsite recommendations? Read these reviews:
- Hendra Holiday Park, Newquay, Cornwall
- Seaview Gorran Haven, Cornwall
- Western Meadows Glamping, Launceston, Cornwall
- Ross Park, Newton Abbot, Devon
- Caravanning and camping at Crealy Meadows, Exeter, Devon
- Andrewshayes Holiday Park, East Devon
- Caalm Camp, Shaftsbury, Dorset
- Oakdown Holiday Park, Sidmouth, Devon
- Woodovis Park, Dartmoor, Devon
- Strawfields, Illfracombe, North Devon
- Stonehenge Campsite, Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Or if luxury camping takes your fancy we have plenty of recommendations for glamping in Devon.
Disclosure: we joined the Tin Box Grandparents for a weekend a South Lychett Manor Caravan & Camping Park. We’ve reviewed it because we think it’s a great Dorset campsite for tents and tourers. We didn’t receive anything in return for this blog post; just quality family time.