It suddenly dawned on me that we might not be able to travel at all this year. With the UK corona virus numbers rising again, a second wave is upon us. Local lockdown has been implemented in some places in the UK, and the government is highly likely to implement lockdown restrictions (again) in London imminently. So for now, all I can do is relieve our travel memories from last year. I have been going through our travel photos because honestly, I miss travelling. This is when I realised that I haven't written about our trip to Dorset last year.
For so many years, Dorset has been on my list to visit in the UK - only because I wanted to see the Durdle Door. But when I was planning our trip, I realised that I had more reasons to visit Dorset - the land of countless roundabouts (haha). It was indeed a pleasant trip and an experience that is worth sharing.
During this trip, we decided to stay in a town called Evershot- a historical sleepy town, approximately 45 minutes drive to Lulworth where Durdle Door is located. With just over 300 population, Evershot is a perfect place for serene holiday, far from the madding crowd as Thomas Hardy put it. Thomas Hardy was an English novelist and poet who referred Evershot as Evershead in his book Tess of the D'Urbervilles. The Acorn Inn where we stayed, is a very charming hotel with exceptional service. Our four poster bedroom, the Tess, was cosy and traditional; overlooking the village. The Acorn Inn is a hotel experience I will not forget.
Places we visited:
- Lulworth is a part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and this is where the Durdle Door is found, as well as the Lulworth Cove. It was August when we went and although it was a sunny day, the wind made it quite uncomfortable for us to stay longer. It was also ridiculously busy, with all people of all ages wanting to perhaps take advantage of the good weather for a picnic. It was too busy for my comfort though, so a glimpse of the stone formation that always reminds me of Monet's "The Manneporte" was more than enough for me.
- Highcliffe was not in our itinerary, however we had a few hours left before dinner, so when we were searching for places to see on our way to Christchurch, we found the Highcliffe Castle. We took a detour and didn't regret it. Highcliffe Castle is an 18th century castle that was once a home to mr Selfridge (of Selfridges). We were not in the mood to explore the interior that day, but we enjoyed examining its picturesque exterior. Roaming around its beautiful grounds was relaxing. Not forgetting that refreshing coffee break under the tree at the end of the day.
- We only actually went to Christchurch because the restaurant that we wanted to try was in the area. As it was approaching dinner, we didn't have much time to fully explore this riverside town. We, however, had the chance to walk by the quay which was refreshing after a full day of driving from one town to another.
4. Corfe Castle
- Corfe Castle is a village located on top of a hill in Purbeck, between Wareham and Swanage. We went here on our last day in Dorset. The castle is about 10-minute walk from the car park. Once we reached the top of the hill, we were rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view of the village. The entrance fee of £10 per person was definitely worth it.
Where we ate:
1. The Acorn Inn- 28 Fore St, Evershot DT2 0JW
- As we arrived in Evershot in the evening, we thought it would be best to have dinner locally. The restaurant in the Acorn Inn where we were staying looked credible, so we decided to have dinner there. The restaurant was charming and cosy. The service was efficient and the staff were delightful and accommodating. I loved the fact that the restaurant was not busy at that time. Their menu was inviting, it made me want to order more than what I could actually eat. But I was conscious that we would be eating more in the coming days so I decided to take it slow. I saw whitebait (£7) on the starter menu, so without a question, I ordered this. It was perfectly salty and crunchy to say the least. For the mains, I had the pan roasted Dorset pork loin, black pudding and apple hash pickled fennel broad bean and apricot veloute (£19). My plate looked messy when it came, but the tasteful food overshadowed this. J had the traditional fish and chips (£15.50), which he said was good. I was not going to have dessert as I devoured the whitebait, however I saw sticky toffee pudding (£8) on the dessert menu, so I had to have it. All in all, it was an amazing first dining experience in Dorset and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting the area.
2. Rick Stein - 10-14 Banks Road, Sandbanks, Poole BH13 7QB
- When we had our Cornwall driving trip in 2017, we visited Rick Stein's Cafe in Padstow. The original plan was to dine at the main restaurant, however it was fully booked. To be honest, J and I have been watching his TV shows, and we have always been fascinated by his food. So, we thought that it would be nice to eat at his restaurants whenever we visit the Southwest of England. In Dorset, we drove to Sandbanks only to have lunch there. And perhaps, as you would expect from a Rick Stein restaurant, the food is pricey. We had a langoustine on ice each for starter which was definitely a mistake. In retrospect, I should have ordered something else. I actually went to Rick Stein for their famous fresh crab, so I ordered a whole Singaporean Chilli Crab for my mains. I found the waiter quite judgemental when he asked me if I was sure I could finish the whole crab as it was quite big. I couldn't help but say, "You haven't seen me eat a whole crab, so trust me, I will be fine". He had the shock of his waiting life when he collected my plate and found only empty crab shells. J on the other hand, had their Singaporean seafood curry which looked mediocre, but was surprisingly flavourful. It wasn't one of the best dining experiences for us, but it was worth a try. The panoramic view of the Poole harbour was a treat.
3. The Jetty - 95 Mudeford, Christchurch BH23 3NT
- Our last dinner in Dorset was at The Jetty- a seafood restaurant on water's edge in Christchurch. We didn't make any reservations but were gladly accommodated by the friendly staff. I found the food quite expensive for what it was, but perhaps you pay for the location and the stunning views of the Mudeford Quay. We ordered the octopus salad for starter (the price escapes me) and the Jetty Surf and Turf for £40.
4. The Pig on the Beach - Manor Rd, Studland, Swanage BH19 3AU
- If I were to go back to Dorset, I would make sure that I stay at The Pig Hotel. I loved the yellow house and the shabby chic interior. It's a shame that we didn't have much time to really explore the property, but I would really love to go back there one day. Lunch at The Pig on the Beach was the best way to end our Dorset trip. The food was amazing and affordable. The staff were brilliant. We were very well looked after despite the fact that we were only there for a quick lunch. The property has incredible sea views. J and I were both impressed that we wished we stayed there even just for a night. Anyway, food-wise, everything was topnotch. We shared a crab cocktail (£9.50) for starter, which inspired me to make my first ever prawn cocktail a few weeks later. J chose the Purbeck sirloin steak (£28) for his mains, whilst I had the buttery Poole Bay plaice (£21). I highly recommend this restaurant.