On the coast about a mile south of Bridport is the small town of West Bay. It has developed significantly since I last visited twenty years ago and it now has a well defended harbour and a thriving collection of associated shops around the port.
I wanted to get a better view of the coastline and so climbed the steep hill above the town. From here you can look east towards Portland Bill and west towards the coastal hills of Eype and Golden Cap. In the sunshine the views are glorious.
Poole is a large coastal town located on the south coast in the county of Dorset and has the largest natural harbour in Europe and the claimant of the title of second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney Harbour. Must see sights include: Poole Quay, Brownsea Island, the Lighthouse Arts Centre and Sandbanks to name but a few.
See My Travel Page for more information.
Bournemouth is a modern busy seaside resort with a mixture of old and new buildings jutting up above the line of the cliffs and treetops. Bournemouth’s seven-mile stretch of white sandy beaches, backed by high sandstone cliff, has a promenade that is lined with multi-coloured beach huts, there are many bars, cafes and arcades along the route, these make excellent stop off points away from the beach. Must see sights include: Bournemouth Pier, the Bournemouth Eye, Saint Peter’s Church and the Bournemouth Gardens to name but a few.
See My Travel Page for more information.
KINGSTON LACY: The 17th century house,gardens and grounds are in a lovely country setting ,close to the town of Wimborne Minster in the county of Dorset.
The gardens consist of several different features such as a Rose garden,Victorian fernery,sunk garden,Camellia walk,Japanese garden,Kitchen garden,Woodland walk,winter garden and a Lime and Cedar avenue.
The house is well worth a visit with its lavish interior and a fine art collection, with paintings by Van Dyck,Rubens,Titian and Tintoretto.Please note that the house is only open from 2nd March to 3rd November Wednesday to Sunday.
The restaurant is in a nice courtyard setting where you can sit outside on a good day,you also have a shop and plant centre close by.
A nice way to see some of the Purbeck countryside is to take the train between Swanage and Norden, passing Herston Halt,Harmans Cross and Corfe Castle on route.The line runs for 6 miles, although plans are underway to extend this to Wareham.
A busy airfield with a bar, restaurant and runway terrace, giving great views of the surrounding countryside and aircraft.Flying training and flights available from here.
Asil Nadir flew from here in May 1993 to France in a Piper aircraft, finally ending up in Northern Cyprus.
The grand stately home of Kingston Lacy, close to the picturesque town of Wimborne Minster and amongst countryside filled with thatched cottages, is a feast of lavish interior design and beautiful (and extensive) gardens.
The house was built as the new home of the Bankes family in the late 17th century after their original home, Corfe Castle, was destroyed on the orders of Parliament during the English Civil War. Mrs Bankes had been holding out against a long siege by the parliamentary forces (the Bankes family being ardent Royalists) and once the roundheads had possession of the castle they didn't want to risk it ever being used as a royalist stronghold in the south west again, and so they blew it to pieces. About the only thing the family were allowed to take with them from the castle were the keys, which now hang above the fire place in the library of Kingston Lacy.
Through out the interior of this grand house you see evidence of the wealth of the Bankes family in the plush furnishings and decor. Each room has a National Trust volunteer who all seem extremely well informed and very keen to share their knowledge.
It's one of the National Trust's more expensive properties as adult admission is £13 and it's £6.50 for children. Entry is of course free to National Trust members.
As well as the house the grounds are well worth exploring, particularly the Japanese Tea garden, the Victorian Fern garden and the kitchen garden which is only now being restored but has a wisteria over 100 years old and still blooming!
Weymouth is a traditional British seaside town with a long stretch of golden sand, safe water, promenade, pedestrian precinct and a host of shops and restaurants. There are lots to do for children on the beach with donkey rides, Punch and Judy, sand sculpting and many other traditional British seaside pursuits.
Abbotsbury is a quaint, if busy village, most of the houses here have thatched roofs and are very uniform sandstone built.
The area is steeped in history, with evidence of middle stone age man living here, dating back 6000 years.
Nice cafes & gift shops, from here you can park as start your walk to St Catherines Chaple on a near by hill.
If you are planning to visit, I really recommend taking a look at the below webste, it is packed with information about the village and area.
Although we had lived in Dorset almost 10 years we only discovered Monkey World last year!! We became hooked on the Monkey Business series and decided to adopt a monkey each and go as often as we like! Apes are rescued from around the world by the owners and keepers. Our daughter even got involved in fund raising for them and so far has raised almost £200! We felt like we were seeing celebrities when looking at the apes we'd seen on TV and better still when we spotted some of the "famous" keepers, Jeremy, Mike and of course meeting Jim and Alison when doing a cheque presentation!
On a very grey and damp day in mid February it was a great pleasure to see some wintery signs of life emerging out of the cold wet ground. At Kingston Lacy, a National Trust property near Wimborne in Dorset, it is possible to see large swathes of woodland floor covered with these delicate white flowers. The photo shows them in the woodland at its best in February even though there was absolutely no sign of sunshine. Nearer to the house is a Victorian Fern garden - not many ferrns in February - but lots of snowdrops, hellebores and cyclamens. Great to see the colour at this time of year.
In the extensive grounds there are areas landscaped into a Japanese style garden and also a Victorian walled kitchen garden.
For non -members it costs £6.00, National Trust members get in for free but the annual membership is £48.50 in 2011.
In the winter the country home of the Bankes family is off limits to the public. Through the downstairs windows you can see that all of the furniture has been covered in white drapes to help preserve it through the damp winter months.
There is an excellent café on site and, of course, a shop.
If you enjoy country walks you will be pleased to stroll through the grounds at this time of year. The snowdrops certainly make it look attractive. All you need is a bit more sunshine to brighten them up.
This famous reserve due west of Poole Harbour is a stronghold of the Dartford Warbler, a small but characteristic bird that overwinters on the reserve unlike most of its other warbler relatives that head off south to warmer climes. We were lucky enough to see one pop up and perch prominently on the heather. It gave out a short burst of song before diving into the nearest bush. Visit the RSPB's website (address below) for a picture of the Dartford Warbler.
The reserve now has a small information centre staffed by enthusiastic volunteers who will point out to visitors the best places to go on the reserve. They also keep the bird feeders well stocked which encourages a constant stream of bird life coming down. The birds seemed totally unconcerned about onlookers and so it is possible to get some closeup photographs if you have the appropriate camera.
Just a hundred yards from the car park ( there is a parking fee for non-RSPB members) a Tawny Owl had taken up residence high in a conifer tree. The reserve staff had placed a telescope underneath enabling people to get a really close-up view of it.
There are hides overlooking the muddy inlets on the fringe of Poole Harbour which make for terrific vantage points to see a wide variety of water birds. At other high viewing points there are comfortable benches where one can sit quietly admiring the view. This is unless you see something very rare which happened when a passing White Stork was spotted off in the distance. Its sighting brought with it a small gang of people all training their binoculars and telescopes upon the white dot disappearing off into the distance. Never mind it's one more to add to ones UK bird life list.
The reserve has a really lovely setting and is worth a visit even if you are not particularly keen on birds. In October when the Heather is flowering and the sun shining it must be one of the most attractive reserves in the UK.
A fogure 55m(180ft) long, Giant is naked apart from belt or girdle
and holds a knobby culb (37m/120ft) above his head.
Also, he has the erect 6m(20ft) Pxxxx ?! Wow!
(some recent reports suggest that this has grown since earlier times,
when there may have been a navel....)
Coming from South Africa, we are used to sprawling white beaches with fine sand, blue skies and rolling waves... here the waves werent exactly rolling, but the sky was blue, the sun was hot... the sand wasnt that fine, but a lot finer than other pebbly beaches we have been to in England.
They have lovely facilities here for the kids! Bumper rides, donkey rides, 'crazy gold (mini golf),kite flying etc. They also had a big amusement park to the one side of the beach, with all kinds of thrilling rides for parents and children alike... but more for the kids I think :)
There were a few stalls packed to the brim with kids beach equipment.
They are temporary stalls it appears, put up for the high season, when the beach is packed full of people. Being such a sunny, hot day, the beach was packed, and the shops were BUSY!
A lovely day out at the beach for the family!
We visited Dorchester on market Saturday.
It was bustling and alive, and was a good day to visit the town and see the locals.
This is the heart of Thomas Hardy country of course, and there are references to him in a few places as one walks around. There was also an impressive statue of him, seated, as we entered Dorchester. Not as much as the Shakespeare references in Stratford-upon-Avon (tons!), but a good few!
There is beautiful architecture all around, from the impressive and ornate church spires to the stained glass windows.
I definately would like to come here again to take more in. It promises much!
Great location being very close to the town centre and beach. Free parking!!! Good food, good booze...more
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