Bournemouth and its surroundings are by far the most populated areas and also the major destination in Dorset during school holidays. Adjoining Bournemouth is the busy town of Poole, with its bustling Quay, some of the best beaches in England and world famous natural harbour.

Dorset Local Authority is required to set school term and holiday dates for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools. The governing bodies of Foundation and Voluntary Aided schools are responsible for setting their own dates. Usually all schools within the Borough operate the same term and holiday dates.

Dorset is one of the most rural counties of England and is situated on the south coast of England between Devon and Hampshire. There are lots of interesting places to visit whilst on holiday in Dorset. The busy seaside towns of Bournemouth, Weymouth and Poole have a huge range of hotels, self catering cottages and B&B's between them, making Dorset the perfect destination during the school holiday break.

Dorset Half Term Dates and School Holidays

Half Term Dates for Dorset Schools


Half Term Dates calendar.School Calendar Files to Download / Print

2014-2015 Dorset Term Dates PDF

The dates above are the same for Bournemouth and Dorset local authorities.


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Please note that some schools have decided to adopt slightly different half term and holiday dates to those shown here and it is therefore advisable to contact the individual school to confirm their dates.

School holidays in Dorset are usually set over 18 months in advance of the academic year. They are based on a school year of 195 days although individual schools can use 5 of these days for staff training. Parents should contact the individual school to find out when their training days will be.

The county of Dorset differs wildly from one end of the coastline to the other, giving visitors a wide choice of things to do. Delve into the long and varied history of this county, experience a slice of rural Dorset life, and enjoy a traditional seaside holiday.

Explore Rock Pools and Natural Pebble Beaches in Dorset

If it's rock-pooling and fossil hunting you want, Lyme Regis and Charmouth, close to the border with Devon, are the places to head for. Bournemouth, to the east, has a long sandy beach and a more traditional seaside atmosphere. If you want to combine the two, Lyme Regis maintains its natural pebble beach, rich in fossils, and also has a man-made sandy beach.

The sand for this beach was imported from France and makes a great addition to the seafront at Lyme Regis. Lyme Regis also hosts its own village festivals throughout the year, including the candles on the cobb in the summer and the Easter bonnet parade at Easter.

Abbotsbury Swannery near Weymouth

The swannery at Abbotsbury is the only place in the world where you can wander amongst 600 nesting swans. Time it right and you can witness the mass feeding which takes place twice a day.

Visit Abbotsbury Swannery During Half TermAstonishingly the swannery was established in the 1040s by Benedictine monks, who farmed the swans to provide food. Take a walk around St Nicolas' church in the village and you'll be able to spot the ruins of the monastery.
Abbotsbury also has a children's farm where you can ride ponies, pet small animals and help feed the goats.

The bustling town of Dorchester holds much of the history of this county and it was here that the original inhabitants, the Durotriges, lived. The history of this pre-Roman people can still be seen and felt at the nearby Maiden Castle, the biggest Iron Age Fortress in Europe.

Also close to Dorchester is Hardy's Cottage, the birthplace of the writer Thomas Hardy, who made this area famous through his novels. The cottage is open to visitors and operates guided tours, giving an insight into the circumstances of Hardy's birth and what life was like growing up here.

Dorset Short Breaks

We've put together a list of B&Bs and cottages suitable for families of all ages. Take a look at our Dorset short breaks.

Please note that some schools have decided to adopt slightly different half term and holiday dates to those shown here and it is therefore advisable to contact the individual school to confirm their dates.

Our sponsored links on each page also list events and discounts on school holiday ideas and half term events.

You can use the search box to look up School Half Term Dates and UK Holidays in the West of England for 2014, 2015 and 2016. To return to our website please use the 'Back' button on your web browser.

Dorset Half Term Dates - School Holidays in Dorset