Winners of the Dorset Primary Times Reader Star Awards 2019

Local families vote for favourite places in the Primary Times Reader Star Awards 2019


The best of what Dorset has to offer families is revealed in the results of this year’s Primary Times Star Awards, as voted for by parents of children aged 4 to 11 years in the county. This year saw the greatest ever response to the Primary Times online survey where readers voted for their favourite local family friendly places and people.

Local parents were informed of the survey in Primary Times, a family friendly magazine that is delivered directly to primary schools across Dorset. With a distribution of 48,000 copies the magazine reaches 200 primary schools in the county.

The specially designed online survey appeared on the Primary Times website from July to October. Questions in the survey were formulated to incite open and honest replies from readers. The results are truly organic, with the winning awards given to the attraction that gained the most reader nominations in a particular category.

The outcome of the survey is of special importance to many local businesses who value the insightful nature of the award results, as the families who complete the survey are often customers or potential customers.

In addition, the results provide an interesting snapshot of what is popular with families at this current time. It’s a way of local families recommending venues and attractions that deliver good quality service and provision to other readers.

Winning an award is a real accomplishment and many winners proudly display their certificates at their venues and promote it on their marketing material.

Aside from the overall winner, there were 10 different categories asking readers for their favourite: family attraction (full day out); family attraction (half day out); indoor play or activity centre; outdoor play centre; party venue or entertainer; free local family event; best seasonal event of the year; local fair, show or festival; best family holiday or break in the region; best value for money attraction.

The results, which can now be revealed, give the winners’ a well-deserved round of applause…


And this year’s winners are…

Once again, the highly desired Family Attraction award was split into two categories to accommodate the places where people like to spend their time for a full day out and for a half day out.

Winning the Family Attraction Award (for a Full Day Out), was Adventure Wonderland. This much-loved attraction continues to add variety with new events and attractions year-on-year. This added interest, along with its existing fun rides and play areas, really hits the mark with local families who visit the park regularly. Monkey World was the runner-up in this category.

The best Family Attraction (for a Half Day Out) Award includes places where people may visit, perhaps, for a few hours but on a frequent basis, or attractions that offer timed schedules. Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park was chosen as the winner in this category. This wonderful attraction is a big hit with Primary Times’ readers and its seasonal events, play areas and wide range of animals tempts local families to return again and again. The runner-up in this category was Splashdown Waterpark.

The all-inclusive admission prices make a visit to Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park great value, enabling it to pick up the top prize in the ‘Best Value for Money Attraction’ category. Adventure Wonderland was the runner-up in this group.

The importance of outdoor play and its positive effect on children makes the Outdoor Play category a particularly significant one. Moors Valley Country Park won this category, closely followed by Snowtrax Alpine Activity Centre. Whilst the Indoor Play award, another highly valued prize, was scooped up by Lemur Landings, with the indoor play activities at Monkey Madness coming a close second.

The entertaining events and family orientated activities at the Bournemouth Air Festival, enabled it to be chosen as the favourite Local Fair, Show or Festival for 2019. The hugely popular Wimborne Minster Folk Festival was runner-up in this category.

The highly prized category of Party Venue and Entertainer is always fiercely contested as the quality of party entertainment in the area is first class. The kid’s parties at Monkey Madness acquired the highest number of votes, whilst the party packages at Adventure Wonderland tipped it to second spot.

The award for favourite Free Local Family Event was won by Bournemouth Air Festival for its thrilling aerial displays and on-ground activities. The second highest number of votes in this category went to Christchurch Food Festival.

A new category for this year was Best Seasonal Event. The Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland was chosen as the best event by the readers of Primary Times, followed by Santa’s Winter Wonderland at Stewarts Garden Centre.

Another new category for 2019 was the Best Family Holiday or Break. The wonderful family friendly facilities and accommodation at Devon Cliffs Holiday Park enabled it to get the top prize in this group, followed by Sandford Holiday Park.

The blue-ribbon category, that of Overall Winner, asked readers to think about their favourite attraction which offered them the best overall experience. Collectively, readers chose Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park as their Overall Winner for 2019. Adventure Wonderland scooped the runner’s-up prize in this prestigious category.

Linda Edwards, Publishing Editor at Primary Times said: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to our readers for their valued contribution to the Reader Star Awards. The results are incredibly insightful and are sure to help other local families decide what to do and where to go. We would like to applaud all the individual winners of each category and congratulate them on their success. We’d also like to congratulate Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park on being such a big hit with our readers, winning the particularly significant Overall Winner award. This really is a wonderful reward for this exciting attraction that offers great value for money and plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. We look forward to seeing what the next twelve months will bring.”


Regional winners in Dorset are as follows:


Overall Winner

• Winner: Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park

• Runner up: Adventure Wonderland


Family Attraction (Half Day Out)

• Winner: Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park

• Runner up: Splashdown Waterpark


Best Value for Money Attraction

• Winner: Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park

• Runner up: Adventure Wonderland


Family Attraction (Full Day Out)

• Winner: Adventure Wonderland

• Runner up: Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre




Indoor Play / Activity Centre

• Winner: Lemur Landings

• Runner up: Monkey Madness




Free Local Family Event

• Winner: Bournemouth Air Festival

• Runner up: Christchurch Food Festival


Local Fair, Show or Festival

• Winner: Bournemouth Air Festival

• Runner up: Wimborne Minster Folk Festival


Outdoor Play Centre

• Winner: Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

• Runner up: Snowtrax Alpine Activity Centre




Party Venue / Entertainer

• Winner: Monkey Madness

• Runner up: Adventure Wonderland




Best Family Holiday / Break

• Winner: Devon Cliffs Holiday Park

• Runner up: Sandford Holiday Park





Seasonal Event of the Year

• Winner: Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland

• Runner up: Santa’s Winter Wonderland at Stewarts Garden Centre




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