Baby and Toddler Groups in Dorchester and Dorset

Baby and Toddler Groups in Dorchester and Dorset

As a shop owner there is one question I get asked over and over again – and that is – ‘what local groups are there I can join in with?’.  Whether it is forest schools, craft groups, movement or music, so many of us crave a bit of connection as parents and there are so many wonderful groups out there that can help us to get it. Here I have collated as many groups and classes as I can possibly think of, predominantly around Dorchester but some others across the county that I have been made aware of. As always please check the links to see the most up to date info!  Some of these I have experience of and others I have just heard about so please just use this as a starting point and go and discover for yourself!


I have pulled together as many useful bits as I can but if you think of anything else or have any comments, as ever, do let me know! ☺️


Forest Schools / nature connection:

 forest school

  • Dorset Wild Ones - based near Bere Regis and expanding to a second site soon, the team at Wild Ones do birthday parties, home ed sessions, stay & plays and more! 
  • Child in the Wild Forest School, Owermoigne - now open for all sorts of forest school fun including birthday parties and home ed sessions.
  • Nurtured by Nature, Bridport Steiner inspired parent/ carer and child groups guided by the wheel of the year and rhythms of nature. Run by holistic childcare provider Jess.
  • Poole Forest School, Ringwood
  • Dorset Rewilding, BCP
  • Tree Babies, Thorncombe Wood also Relax Kids / The Budding Minds - mindfulness for older children, run by the lovely Sian - a lovely friend of mine and super skilled at what she does. 
  • Nature Tots at Kingcome Meadows Visitor Centre, every Wednesday, and various half term acitivites, check their events page for the latest info. Daisy at Dorset Wildlife Trust is really passionate about providing events for families to get involved with so do get in touch and try out something there is to offer!
  • The Woodland School based at Southover Woods near Affpuddle, run by Chloe and Lizzie and offering forest school birthday parties, yoga and lots more.  Head to the website for more info.
  • Dorset Wild Tribe: meet ups for families who like to spend time outdoors, a new venture so keep an eye on their social media for updates.
  • HOBs Camps: forest school holiday clubs in the heart of Dorset 
  • Forest Yogi Minds: nature, yoga and mindfulness for children in Sturminster Marshall 

 If you are lookng for an alternative education option then the nearest Steiner / Waldorf School is in Ringwood - the Ringwood Waldorf School.

Musical / baby sensory groups:


  • Moo Music, various across Dorset
  • Monkey Music, Sherborne, Dorchester, Weymouth – Ali Bryant is super fun and friendly – you will have fun at her classes across Dorset
  • Do Re Mi, Dorchester – we absolutely love this class and have attended with both my girls. It is a lovely, gentle music session deeply centres on the child and is based on Colour Strings and Kodaly methods.Traditional songs that will take you back to your childhood, ages 0 – 3 years:
  • Rhyme Time, Dorchester Library (check your local library) – check out Rhyme Time, craft and reading clubs held at libraries across the county.
  • Babigloo Music - Bridport 
  • Bloom Baby Classes - run by a mum of three in Poole and Wimborne




  • Parkour Play, Dorchester YMCA (ages 4-6 with another session for age 6-10 years) – run by a passionate professional, these sessions are great for building confidence and joy in movement for all children, all held at the YMCA which is just near Tesco in Dorchester:
  • Gymnastics, Dorchester
  • Rugby Tots, Dorchester:
  • Ballet, Dorchester:
  • Wigglets, Dorchester and surrounds: lovely Fiona leads children through a fun dance session, sure to be enjoyed for ages 0-5years.



Arts and crafts:


  • Nature Art Kids, run by Sarah you can find details on Facebook of their latest group
  • Oops Wow Messy Art, Bridport: these groups just look like super fun and all led by artist Jo Burlington.
  • Messy Church – check your local area for a messy church group near you:



sling walk dorchester
  • Blossoming walks and talks, Weymouth
  • West Dorset Sling Walks, Dorchester & Weymouth & surrounds: lovely informal group meeting at various locations around Dorchester and Weymouth, usually Poundbury, Thorncombe and even a lovely circular walk from the shop every now and again! Babies in slings and older children welcome. Sling advice available if you prebook, donations of £2 per walk advised.


Parenting / baby support:


  • Baby Massage, Baby Yoga, Blossoming Walks and Talks, Relax Kids and meditation and relaxation for grown ups all from the absolutely lovely Sian Parsons of The Budding Minds.  Sian really can look after you from baby to toddler and into adulthood and she also runs beautiful whole family sessions in the woods, too. Well worth following what she is up to.  
  • Baby Massage – Blossoming Touch: Kora runs lots of different classes from The Mutha Hub in Weymouth and comes highly recommended.
  • Baby massage with Sharon Cox-Button at Dorchester Yoga Centre. This group got me through first time parenting with gentle guidance and holding space whilst also learning a useful skill to help soothe my baby. 100% recommend anything led by Sharon and the team at Dorchester Yoga Centre.
  • Baby massage, baby signing, pregnancy and post-natal yoga and chat and cake sessions with lovely Sue of Suething Hands Baby Massage, in Dorchester and Blandford.
  • NCT @ Dorchester Yoga Centre: run by Ellie - a great overview of all things new baby 
  • New Parent Nurture Project, Bridport: led by friendly doula Clare Cameron, this group provides a relaxed and welcoming environment for Bridport parents.
  • FAB Dorset Breastfeeding groups, across Dorset: have a search and find the closest group to you, attended by trained peer supporters these are great groups to attend wherever you find yourself on your feeding journey.
  • West Dorset Slings Antenatal Classes – Mary-Clare is so good at providing the Village that is so often talked about in child-rearing, let her nurture you through new parenting with her gentle guidance and support.
  • Daisy parenting classes: Yeovil and Sherborne
  • Sherborne breastfeeding group:
  • Lyme Kids Club, The Hub, Lyme Regis
  • Nurture Baby group, Bridport: baby massage and baby sensory
  • NEST children - all sorts of useful workshops run by Norland Nanny Lucy
  • The Huddle Yeovil - sling support and playgroups for varying ages run by Kizzy, super friendly and knowledgable

 Feeding support

  • Breastfeeding Network support groups - Swanage, Poole, Blandford, Sherborne
  • Lucy Ruddle IBCLC, feeding support - also published a number of books.  If Lucy is busy check out the IBCLC website to find a consultant near you.
  • FAB Dorset Breastfeeding groups, across Dorset: have a search and find the closest group to you, attended by trained peer supporters these are great groups to attend wherever you find yourself on your feeding journey.

    Soft Plays:

    • Nikki's Play Cafe in Brewery Square boasts a soft palette, sesnory room, a therapy dog and very engaged staff, well worth a visit. Suitable up to age 7 although they do have special bookings available sometimes for odler age groups. 
    • Likewise 100 Giggles in Poundbury is a popular soft play and cafe, for up to age 5, with food for adults and little ones and family run. 
    • Vurlands is a huge soft play on a farm just outside of Dorchester and is good for a whole day out in all weathers. 
    • Kingston Mauward also has a soft play within its cafe as well as the farm and gardens to enjoy. 




    • 1610 swimming lessons, Dorchester
    • Water Babies, Sherborne, Yeovil: a gorgeous setting near Sherborne for this swimming group
    • Puddleducks, Ferndown, Blandford, Wimborne
    • Turtlebacks, Weymouth: run by the formidable Sarah, this class builds confidence in the water from 3 years up.
    • Splash Together -  a purpose built pool for little ones with lessons in Chickerell, Weymouth


    Baby friendly cafes:

    • Bean on the Green, Fordington: again near to the Salisbury Fields park which makes it great for picking up take out or snuggling down in the cosy cafe too. ecommend the chicken and avocado sandwich and the sausage rolls :) - the croissant cake is truly something else too!
    • Fables and Food, Poundbury - a little play area in the garden, gorgeous handmade cups, delicious food, and a really welcoming vibe will greet you here!
    • Peppina, Poundbury - delicious Italian food here, just perfect for a morning pick me up or an after school treat.
    • Vivo Lounge, Dorchester
    • Coffee No1, Dorchester
    • Wagamamas – bottomless babyccinos, crayons and noodles. Plus noise to drown out your own kids whinging!
    • E-Bike Café Weymouth
    • Palm House Café, Weymouth - a proper play cafe with everything you need to keep little ones entertained while you eat.
    • Kingston Mauward – the animal park, café and soft play make this well worth a visit, just outside Dorchester, beautiful gardens and free parking too.
    • Vurlands soft play and animal park
    • Nautico Lounge Weymouth offer free coffee mornings for new mums! 
    • Special mention to Joeys Family Foods - not a cafe but a supplier of nutritious meals specially designed for tiny tums - find them on Antelope Walk in Dorchester. 
    • Feed the Soul: beautiful vegan food in Godmanstone, a little drive but the food is so worth it and you can get your shampoo refills, veg and other delights at the same time.  Yoga for grown ups too and if you have a date night they do some awesome pizza and curry nights.
    • PIP at the Carriage, Lopen: over the border in Somerset but so worth the travel time. Combine it with a day out at Barrington Court, Montecute or Ham Hill if you like but worth it all on its own.  The food is amazing and they have a beautiful train carriage or a double decker bus you can sit in, plus ample space for running around and a mud kitchen last time I checked.  We have many happy memories here but you must book, it is very popular.
    • Finca - any of the Fincas in Dorchester and Weymouth are an easy win with good cakes and babyccinos for little ones


    Look after you:


      • Mummy MOT and Pilates classes at the Womens Wellness Centre, Dorchester: Abbie is lovely and really knows her stuff when it comes to post natal recovery. Worth getting checked out post birth just to see how you are getting on and feel looked after.  Her Pilates classes are also fantastic and she has helped me heal diastasis with her exercises.
      • Pregnancy Yoga, Dorchester Yoga Centre, Kim Jones Wellbeing: Kim is just a lovely person and so well practiced in supporting new parents: also post-natal recovery with Kim is well recommended.
      • Yoga for Blokes, Dorchester Yoga Centre - something for the men! 
      • Holding Spaces, women’s Circles with Tia Corrywright – a new venture so keep an eye out for updates! 
      • Lucy Ruddle IBCLC, feeding support - also published a number of books.  If Lucy is busy check out the IBCLC website to find a consultant near you.
      • Baby Birds Wellness Centre
      • Blossoming Touch: Pregnancy Massage
      • The Shed Hair and Beauty - will look after you with a pregnancy massage, as well as Reiki and all sorts of other pampering treatments in an absolutely beautiful setting in Symondbury.
      • Fertility Reflexology with Rowena in Weymouth - Ro can help you with all kinds of things, so get in touch with her to find out more.
      • Reiki with White Feather Healing in Gillingham 

    First Aid:


    Birth Preparation:

    • Wise Hippo Hypnobirthing: Jane Pardoe – we did hypnobirthing with Jane and it was absolutely the best decision I ever made. I wish it was offered on the NHS but until it is, there are practitioners offering courses across the county.
    • Hypnobirthing with Corinne, free hypnobirthing session every Tuesday at 7pm on Zoom
    • Hypnobirthing and Birth Preparation Classes with our friend Kim Jones
    • Amba Doula offers birth preparation courses alongside a whole suite of other support.
    • West Dorset Slings Antenatal Classes – Mary-Clare is so good at providing the Village that is so often talked about in child-rearing, let her nurture you through new parenting with her gentle guidance and support.


    Birth trauma / perinatal anxiety / PND support

    If you are experiencing or have experienced the loss of your baby, Tommy's can help.  Dorset specific support can be found at SPRING and the Forget-me-not group at DCH. My door is always open, no matter your circumstance.


    Independent midwives are available through Wessex Independent Midwives.

    Baby-wearing (sling) support


    Please check the Dorset Council site for up to date lists of childcare providers near you! 


    Other Activities (all cheap / free or spend what you want):

    • Poundbury Mega Park: speaks for itself, an absolutely mind blowing park in Poundbury on the Great Field. Tip: don’t wear sandals – the gravel is highly annoying otherwise!
    • Thorncombe Woods: stunning and relaxing woodland just outside Dorchester with a café and toilets. Perfect for a run around and resting your soul.  Small parking charge.
    • Weymouth Beach: any of the beaches around Weymouth are worth a visit but the seafront is so easy to access, has sand which kids seem to just love as well as cafes and toilets within easy reach that just make parenting a little bit easier. Parking charges - don't skip these as you are likely to be fined on the sea front. 
    • Kingston Mauward: as above the animals and café make this an easy win for a day out just outside of Dorchester. Great for meeting friends with children of differing ages. No parking charge and as far as I know free entry at the moment too.  Tempting gift shop though! 


    Family photographers:

    • Little folk Photography – Kate Hibberd: absolutely stunning photography and a really beautiful person doing it too. Great at making you feel at ease, highly recommend.  Her drone shots add something totally different to the usual family shoots.
    • Sarah Mac Photography - beautiful photographer for capturing the most important moments in your life. 
    • Madeline Jones Photography
    • Jason Perkins Photography: fun and different, with a real talent for capturing the authenticity of a person / family. Jason did our wedding and some subsequent family shots that we treasure.
    • Two’s Company Photo, Dorchester


    1 comment

    What an absolute gem you are Charlotte!!! This blog is insane. What do we give you in return for the hours you must have spent on compiling such an extensive list for us mums and dads around?! So so grateful. Thank you! And an extra thank you for including me!! Never believed it when I saw my name there. Can’t wait. Thank you again. Xxx

    Tia Corrywright

    Leave a comment