BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN DORSET
Best known for its beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic coastline and cities such as Shaftesbury and Bournemouth, Dorset is a real draw for visitors. For true English luxury, book into Summer Lodge, one of Chic Retreats recommended and quintessentially British boutique hotels in Dorset. A Georgian listed house with 24 rooms set in 4 acres of land in the village of Evershot it has a croquet lawn, tennis court and a spa. Don’t miss the traditional Dorset afternoon tea which is served in the Drawing Room every afternoon or the excellent award-winning restaurant. Or, if you’re travelling with a group and would rather rent somewhere exclusively, check out Burggraaf and Voltaire, both modern barn conversions in Dorset near the Jurassic Coast (each sleeps up to 12) with heated limestone floors, an indoor pool and sauna and views of the rolling countryside. Whether you choose either of these properties or another of our boutique hotels in Dorset, we’re confident that you’ll find each one unique.
If you don’t want to stray far from the coastline, there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Spend the day at sandy Swanagewhere you can hire pedaloes and kayaks, or walk the Dorset Coast Path - part of the South West Coast Path National Trail - passing Old Harry Rocks and the shingle beaches of Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. There are more sandy beaches to be found at Weymouth, the harbour town of Poole (don’t miss Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour where scouts have been camping since Lord Baden-Powell brought them here in 1907) and Christchurch where Captains Club Hotel and Spa sits upon the River Stour. This area is particularly lovely: it’s set at the confluence of the rivers Stour and Avon and boasts an 11th-century Priory Church and a Saxon mill. A short drive away, Highcliff Castle is a cliff-top mansion with tea rooms serving Dorset cream teas.
If you prefer open spaces and green fields, check out picturesque Dorset towns such as Dorchester, Sherbourne and hilltop Shaftesbury, where you’ll find a Saxon Benedictine Abbey and iconic Gold Hill which was made famous in the Hovis adverts on television. The rural landscape is full of thatched cottages, quaint pubs and tiny towns that look like something out of a Thomas Hardy novel (the author lived in Sturminster). Fly kites up on Hambledon and Hod Hill or the Badbury Rings and cycle round Moors Valley Country Park, a 1000 acre park and forest with a hire-wire adventure course for children, a steam railway and treetop trails.
When it comes to food, head to Hix Oyster & Fish House, owned by chef Mark Hix, which overlooks the harbour in Lyme Regis. You can tuck into delicious Lyme Bay fish soup or Newlyn hake as you look out at the stunning Jurassic Coast. Michelin-starred restaurant The Jetty in Mudeford, near Christchurch, is another good bet for fresh seafood. Or try Sienna a Michelin-starred restaurant in Dorchester, for modern British dishes such as Westcountry venison and pan fried potato gnocchi with roasted squash, black pepper and pumpkin seeds.