Romantic Ruins, More Beaches and Delicious Restaurants’ – My Second Review of the South Coast

For first review of the South West, click the link here:

 

https://actingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/peaceful-walks-sandy-beaches-and-something-inbetween-my-review-holiday-to-the-south-coast/

What more than just the countryside? Well, look no further. The South West Coast reviews are back again!

Nearly a year after our last visit, my Mother and I decided to spend another trip to see our family again for the Easter Holidays. Although the weather isn’t warm (unlike London), we decided to make the most of it. We didn’t stay long this time, as it was approaching to the end of my break. We would have liked to stay longer; alas, that wasn’t to be. Despite this, we have enjoyed our mini-holiday. Again, I offer a huge thanks to them for being wonderful hosts; it’s a pleasure (as always) to have their company. This is what happened:

Day One – Took a walk on West Bexington beach, before heading to dinner at the No 6 Restaurant in the heart of Dorchester. 

Arrived in the afternoon. Had a steady walk on the beach, minus the strong, heavy wind. Walked for about half-an-hour.

In the early evening we travelled to a decent, yet quiet restaurant. In fact, we were the only one’s there. To be honest, it was in a tight street corner, which made it impossible to be seen. If there isn’t anyone who hasn’t been to the restaurant before, then where have you been? The owners of No 6 were extremely friendly and provided excellent hospitality. The food was top-notch. Rather than your usual heat-eat ready meals, the chief provides customers fresh, ready-to-eat meals on your plates: from the small appetisers to the breakfast-plate desserts. I also have to give them a huge credit to how they dealt with those who have allergies. Not only they give you clear information of what they could replace with on your dishes, but they also kindly give you food substitutes to replace the usual bread, and butter (before your main dish, or with your starter) and explaining to their customers about what’s in them, i.e., ‘the rice cakes are made with corn, and are gluten and wheat-free’. No problems with my experience at all: however, one small tip – dress casually, as No 6 is very posh.

Day Two – Went to visit Corfe Castle, headed to the Tea Shop for Morning Tea and looking around the village. Then, travelled to Studland Bay; had an hour walk, before making a stop at The Halfway Inn Pub and Restaurant for some late lunch. In the evening, we went for a walk in the countryside, near Frampton Village.  

School holidays never fails to disappoint all. So, it’s no surprise that Corfe Castle is the King of entertainment. Come rain or shine, activities are provided for all ages; from the tiny tots to the energetic over sixties. There are demonstrations of Medieval weaving, cooking and historic talks of swords. You can even practice your archery skills and see how you go. But the main attraction has to be the castle. Considered to be England’s romantic castle, Corfe is a crown jewel for every historic eye. It has a one thousand year history, full of excitement and wonder. Every crenellation and stone is worth stopping for; even the breath-taking view from the Keep is picturesque.

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View of the Castle grounds and village, from Corfe’s Keep tower.

 

To end our morning, we stopped at the Tea Rooms and we’re served, with the fashionable displays of tea, cappuccino’s and apple juices. Afterwards, we went around the shops before heading back to the car park, via the New Inn.

Next stop was Studland Bay. The beach did have a couple of walkers, even though it was getting close to high tide. We had fun and there was plenty to see, including a training exercise with the Coastguard and the Lancaster.

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View of Studland Bay.

We got hungry after our walk, so we paid a visit to The Halfway Inn, a pub and restaurant in the middle of the countryside. The Inn was in a cosy, friendly environment. And like No 6, the staff were really friendly and were very good with customers who had dietary requirements. The only downside we had however, were the waiters, serving the incorrect meals. This meant that we had to wait for an extra four to six minutes to the right ones to arrive. It was only a small issue, so there was reason to make a huge fuss about.

Later on in the day, we decided to walk around Frampton Village. Starting from the Village car park, we pasted Millennium Park, went over The White Bridge, and headed through Metlands Wood, via Tibbs Hollow. We then ended our evening constitutional, down the Roman Aquaduct and Frampton Park, before heading back to the Hall.

What’s a way to spend a beautiful day by spending quality time with your family. From Stonebarrow Hill, the views of the sea were spectacular and breathtaking (especially when the sun was out). When we went on the walk around the Hill, and Golden Cap, I noticed that there were a lot of steep steps and hills. But in between  there is farmland, landscapes and St Gabriel’s Chapel, a small, romantic, thirteenth century ruin, which is now a place of worship. My uncle, auntie, cousin, parents and I have enjoyed our afternoon, from the picnic to the walk – it was a wonderful experience. I recommend the Hill and Cap, as a wonderful day out. Also, I suggest to bring a picnic but near the car park, as it would be easier than carrying heavy bags and walking around the steep cliffs.

Day Three – Spend our last morning back in Frampton Village; this time, we took a longer walk …

The weather was calm and bright; a prefect end for our mini-holiday. We decided that before hitting the road home, my Mother and I would join our family on a last walk outside Frampton Village. This walk was in Nunnery Mead, a nature reserve. We started via the same route, only to change direction when we approached Southover. Then, we continued past Maiden Newton and into the woodland, before arriving at the reserve. Nunnery Mead is full of woodland; it also has two excavation sites – one was a Roman Villa and the other a Medieval Village. And to top it all off, there are short pathways where you can walk, whilst listening to the peaceful sounds of the River Frome. If you lucky, you might also hear the distant sounds of resident peacocks or newborn Spring lambs.

 

Overall, we’ve enjoyed our second stay in the South West; in fact, it was bigger and better than the first time. Each time we come down, I feel I’m already home. A home of which I can belong too, as well as for those who enjoy the taste of the English Countryside. In my last review, I remember saying:

It has been a wonderful experience and we are sad to leave. But as we do, we leave behind the memories of our week’s stay and the wonders we’ve experienced and enjoyed. I’m delighted to share them with you in the hope that one day, you will share and have many experiences when you visit the South West Coast of England.

While the feelings for leaving are so strong, I’m already seeing the positive vibe I have about the South West. There’s no doubt that they’ll be more experiences to come. It may not have tall buildings or have the shine factor (as to the Shard in London); but it has everything to offer.

If you get a chance to visit the South West (especially during the holidays), I would recommend visiting West Bexington beach and Studland Bay during low tides. They should occur during the lunch hour, but check before you travel. For a fair, decent timetable for Tide Forecasts, I would recommend using The Beach Guide. However if you ever visit the beaches during high tide (especially in rough weather), NEVER EVER under any circumstances go near the waves. A lot of deaths have occurred, mostly at West Bexington due to strong currents.

If history is your thing or a simple country walk, Corfe Castle would be a good place to start. However, there are three things to bear in mind:

  1. You’ll be walking up and around the hill, within and around the grounds. So, wear some decent shoe wear.
  2. Wear warm clothing, as there you likely to bump into very cold wind.
  3. Be careful where you go, if you walk around the hill (before the main entrance). There are lot’s of pathways that are close to the edge. It is also really steep and any accident could be seriously fateful. Always stick to the path and keep an eye while you walk.

If you want to walk around Frampton Village, I would highly recommend Tibb’s Hallow and Nunnery Mead. But if you come across any wildlife, do not approach them for they maybe protective of their young. Also, wear sensible footwear and be careful when you walk near the River Frome.

If you want to stop for a late luncheon, I would recommend both restaurants. For No 6, I would look out for the Special’s on their board/menu’s; especially anything with fish involved. As for The Halfway Inn, I seriously try the vegetarian Five Bean & Lentil Chilli. It’s gluten-free and tastes amazing when you blend the chilli, rice and nachos together. You’ll really, really enjoy this; it can also be served without cheese.

Anything is made possible and nothing is possible when your there – in the South West.

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Peaceful Walks, Sandy Beaches and Something Inbetween – My Review Holiday to the South Coast

What do get if you cross sandy beaches, very green landscapes, historic places and some bits all over the place? A holiday in the South West of England! 🙂

We planned to go there for a while as I have family living there; we met up most for most of the week, while my parents and I where down. They took us to many places and on one day my eldest cousin, my Mother and I spent time together, as did my uncle, who spent time with my parents and myself. It was nice to see them, as we missed their company. They haven’t moved there very long (been there since the New Year), but they know the area very well – they suggested the best places to go and what’s on around the county. It was very kind of them; we would have been lost without their help.

Anyway, let’s skip forward to the review, shall we? Here’s what happened during our week and what I thought of all.

Day One – Visited Bridport Town Centre, where we went shopping, and stopped for tea and cake at The Green Yard Café. Then, went to visit the town of Thorncombe before stopping for a late lunch at Lucy’s Farm House & Tea Room. 

Busy morning, followed by a tasteful afternoon was just the ticket for us. We had a lovely look around in the town centre, alongside with a refreshable cup of Latte, and slices of a variety of cakes including biscotti and apple cake. Thorncombe was small and not really interesting. Apart from the churches and really, really narrow lanes. Lucy’s, however, took the biscuit of our first day. The food was incredible – I loved the omelette and my father adored his cream and jam scones. The service was very good too; the owners were very friendly, while the garden was peaceful, relaxing and creative. It had lots of fairy doors and fake animals – warning if you’ve got dogs, the animals will confuse them.

Day Two – Went for a picnic, and walked around Golden Cap and Stonebarrow Hill.

What’s a way to spend a beautiful day by spending quality time with your family. From Stonebarrow Hill, the views of the sea were spectacular and breathtaking (especially when the sun was out). When we went on the walk around the Hill, and Golden Cap, I noticed that there were a lot of steep steps and hills. But in between  there is farmland, landscapes and St Gabriel’s Chapel, a small, romantic, thirteenth century ruin, which is now a place of worship. My uncle, auntie, cousin, parents and I have enjoyed our afternoon, from the picnic to the walk – it was a wonderful experience. I recommend the Hill and Cap, as a wonderful day out. Also, I suggest to bring a picnic but near the car park, as it would be easier than carrying heavy bags and walking around the steep cliffs.

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                                          (From above) A pointy view of Stonebarrow Hill and St Gabriel’s Chapel.


Day Three – Spent an entire afternoon, walking along Cogden and Hive Beaches. This was followed by a light lunch, drinks and ice cream at the Hive Beach cafe. 

This was a fairly mixed day, as I had a peaceful day, with just my parents. The Cogden and Hive beaches were spectacular and breathtaking. We were captivated by the beauty of the coast when we saw the view from the cliffs in the middle of our walk. However, I was very disappointed in the cafe; there was very little choice of food – since most of the food there contains gluten and dairy, which I’m allergic too. It’s also bad if you are vegetarian, and allergic to fish, pastry, dairy or gluten. It was very expensive; most of the food costs around £20 maximum and we had to wait a very long time for our food (which was around thirty to forty-five minutes). So if you are not a fan of fish, pastry, gluten, or dairy, I wouldn’t recommend the cafe, unless if you are keen on the drinks and ice cream.

Day Four – This was the day, where I spent time with my cousin and Mother. We travelled to Poole, where we stopped for a short visit to the Poole Pottery. Then, we travelled on board the Castello before spending time on Brownsea Island. There, we walked around, ending the day with a spot of Afternoon Tea.

A favourite place for my cousin, it’s easy to see why Brownsea was a masterpiece. After driving from Bridport, the three of us made a stop in the town centre (opposite the query); there, we had the chance to see the wonders of the local pottery shop. inside, there were items on sale from vases to lamp stands; a section where children can paint their own pottery items and a demonstration room where visitors can see pottery, coming to life by a variety of professionals – from clay to the final preparation. It was amazing experience and so wonderful to see how pottery is made before our very eyes. It was an excellent start to our day.

After our journey on the Castello, to Brownsea. Once we arrived, my cousin, Mother and I helped ourselves to some tea in the house, before eating packed lunch by the sea. It satisfied us enough, but what came next was astounding. What took us two hours to walk around the island, brought breathtaking and emotionally overwhelming. They included seeing seven wild red squirrels, peacocks, and their chicks and the site where the Scout and Guide movements began. This was an exciting and emotional experience for me, as I grew up being a Girl Guide; seeing the stone commemorating Lord Robert Baden-Powell’s Scout group and seeing how it all began was really, really amazing – this is like the holy grail of the Guides and Scouts Association. I shall never forget seeing this special place. Our afternoon tea was fantastic – there were a variety of cakes and teas – they even have a wide selection of gluten and dairy free cakes! I had three helpings of dairy-free Rocky roads, and gluten-free, and dairy-free ginger and raisin cake. Normally, I don’t eat aloof cakes but they were so beautifully prepared that I had more than I should have.

Overall, I would recommend Poole Pottery and Brownsea. Especially Brownsea! You can even stay in the castle on the island, as it is a hotel. If you get the chance, I recommend spending a night there. It’ll be worth it.

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(From above) Brownsea Castle, Brownsea Castle, and Seaside and the commemoration stone.


Day Five – Spent a couple of hours with my Mother around Bridport town centre, where it was market day. We’d done some shopping, followed by a tea and cake stop back at The Green Yard.

There wasn’t much to do, since we had rain all day long. However, we did come across new shops and bakeries, including Bella’s and Leakers. I recommend these two bakers, as they prove a wonderful selection of gluten-free bread, pastries and cakes. I was really impressed by their offers and I was tempted to buy one; I didn’t in the end but I certainly will next time. Highly recommend them if you are looking at a little snack or something extra to add if you are planning a picnic. Your taste-buds will be tickling in no time.

Day Six – My parents and I started our day, walking on Lyme Regis beach and around town centre. While there, we had lunch at the “Penny Black Cafe” (sometimes called “Penny Black Courtyard & Tea Room Gardens”) and finished the morning in  the Langmoor and Lister Gardens. We continued our day back at Bridport, where we met up with my uncle, and returned to “The Green Yard” for another round of tea and cake. After saying our goodbyes, my parents and I went to West Bay. We walked along the East Beach, before buying a Fish N’ Chip supper at the “Ships Galley Fish N’ Chips” stand and taking it back to our holiday cottage.

Despite another day of rough, wet and wild weather, we didn’t let the rain spoil our last, full day in the South Coast. There was plenty to do on the two beaches. On Lyme Regis, there were amazing views of the crashing into the Quay (where “The French Lieutenant” was filmed). The same event happened at West Bay too, expect the water landed against the sand; the waves were bigger than at Lyme Regis, and the biggest ones went up to the height of a human stomach! It was amazing.

As for the restaurants, they’ve done it again. My parents and I enjoyed our lunch at “Penny Black”; the food was freshly prepared and the staff were extremely pleasant. I could sense that there was a wonderful community vibe inside, especially when the staff greeted a couple who were regular costumers. When we enquirer about my diet, they offered me gluten-free bread to go with my meal and they kindly gave me strawberries with my soya cappuccino, in replacement of a biscuit. And for any cappuccino fans, I recommend trying it as the strawberries bring the flavour to the drink.

For “The Ship’s Galley”, we bought our Fish, and Chips and we were pleased with our meal. Also like “Penny Black”, the staff were friendly and kind about my dietary requirements. Not only did they provide me chips, cooked with gluten-free oil, but they offered me gluten, and wheat-free vinegar and poached cod (without the batter). It was delicious and it was one of the best Fish and Chip meals I’ve ever had.

Also while we were on the subject of restaurants  I would like to mention “The Good Food Cafe” in Lyme Regis and “The Box Office Cafe”, (which is just inside “The Lyric Theatre”) in Bridport. Like “Bella’s” and “Leakers” bakeries, I didn’t order food from them but they provide an excellent selection of gluten-free food. If you get a chance to stop at “The Box Office Cafe”, you might be lucky and have the opportunity to see the “The Lyric Theatre” itself. However, try to make it early as the cafe may close early and/or rehearsals may be taking place in the theatre. That’s what happened to us before we decided to return to “The Green Yard”. However the next time we come back to Bridport, we will see the theatre and stay at “The Box Office Cafe”.

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(From above) Lyme Regis Quay, Views of Lyme Regis Beach from the Gardens and cliffs on  West Bay’s East Beach. 

And where did we stay during our holiday? A holiday rental cottage – Buzzards Swoop; this is part of a holiday company called ‘Binghams Farm Barns’, located in Bridport. Our first impressions of Buzzards weren’t fantastic. The cottage (I believe) had been redone. However, it appeared to us that Buzzards wasn’t finished; these include a missing door nob in the upstairs bathroom and cracked wall.

As the week went by, we started to have some fondness of the house, but it wasn’t enough for me. I felt let down, especially with the unfinished treatments. I felt Buzzard’s was being really neglected and it wasn’t fair. It’s not the best place I’ve stayed in but I was amazed by the countryside around the house. There was a lot of land; just the prefect place if you are a fan of walking.

Overall, my parents and I have enjoyed our stay in the South Coast. It has been a wonderful experience and we are sad to leave. But as we do, we leave behind the memories of our week’s stay and the wonders we’ve experienced and enjoyed. I’m delighted to share them with you in the hope that one day, you will share and have many experiences when you visit the South West Coast of England. 

If you ever visit the South West, I recommend going to Bridport on Wednesdays and Saturdays when its Market day. It may be busy but there’s plenty to see if you are a fan of markets. If you want to adventure through the countryside, I suggest that you should try Golden Cap, Stonebarrow Hill and the cliffs on West Bay’s East Beach. However should you do, I advise you to bring suitable footwear, take care and do not go near the edges of the cliffs, as they are a health and safety hazard. If you are looking for some seaside fun, then Lyme Regis and East beaches are the ones for you. Once you arrive there, I can guarantee that you’ll be transfixed by their natural beauties. But remember, be careful; check the tides and never walk under or shelter under cliffs, as they can cause a great risk of death or serious injury. If you are a big history fan like me, don’t forget to visit at Brownsea where it’ll await for your attendance. However if you work in John Lewis or work with their company partners like Waitrose, you may be lucky in a chance for spending the night inside the castle and to book a place on the Castello.

If you want any refreshments, whether its a spot of tea, and scones with cream or a light luncheon, I would highly recommend Lucy’s, The Green Yard, Penny Black, The Box Office Cafe, Bella’s and The Ship’s Galley. They are amazing, very friendly and most of them allow dogs in the restaurants. What more can you possibly want?