UK holidays in Dorset
  • Day540

    Tolpuddle; The Martyrs' Trail

    April 1 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Tolpuddle is a small village, but famous because of its association with The Tolpuddle Martyrs.

    These were 6 Methodist labourers stuck in poverty in 1833 who founded a small society to protest against poor pay; this "trade union" was frowned upon by the local land owner who claimed they had sworn a secret oath together. His betrayal led to their arrest, trial by a biased judge and sentence to 7 years transportation and hard labour in Australia. People rose in their support and demonstrations led to their eventual return after a pardon; the government backed down as it transpired that a senior official's brother was in a "secret society". We now have many trade unions in the UK.

    We start at the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Museum and Memorial Cottages; a statue, a row of cottages and a small museum commemorate the Martyrs. We visit the Parish Church of St John the Evangelist, where the grave of one of the Martyrs is to be found, and see the Martyrs' Tree, an ancient sycamore where their secret oath is alleged to have been sworn. We pass the Martyrs' Cottage on the way to the new Methodist Chapel (1867) with its Memorial Arch (1912), now a listed monument.

    An interesting excursion.
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  • Day256

    Abbotsbury - Swannery and Gardens

    June 21, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Abbotsbury Swannery has the only managed colony of Mute Swans in the world and is situated on a 2 acre site on the western end of The Fleet. There are two nice walks and we see lots of swans, a decoyman's house and a decoy (used for catching duck and swan which were tempted to enter and then forced down, often with the aid of a dog). The Swannery was originally established in the 11th century be Benedictine Monks who used the swans for lavish feasts; since the dissolution, however, it has been under the stewardship of the Ilchester Estates.

    The Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens are situated nearby on a 20 acre site in a wooded and sheltered valley; the microclimate is good for many exotic plants. We see these as we walk through the walled garden, jungle glade, southern hemisphere garden etc and following the Woodland Sculpture Trail; this celebrates characters from classic literature. An excellent visit!
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  • Day256

    Abbotsbury - Village

    June 21, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Abbotsbury is very pretty with many old, stone houses and a number of notable buildings. We stop off on our way to the Swannery.

    What became Abbotsbury Abbey was originally established in the 11th century as the Benedictine St Peter's Monastery. It was large and self-sufficient with all its needs met by its market garden produce and swans from its nearby Swannery. As it grew, the Abbotsbury Abbey Tithe Barn was built around 1400 to store its supplies (it is the world's largest tithe barn), as were St Catherine's Chapel, used by the monks for private prayer, and the Parish Church of St Nicholas. The Abbey was destroyed by King Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 ; only one small section of the wall plus an entrance gate, both close to the Church, remain.Read more

  • Day255


    June 20, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Bridport is a small, but very attractive market town. We cross the River Brit, on our way back from a walk to Lower Eype, to reach St Mary's Parish Church and then walk up South Street to get to the Town Hall (both Grade 1 listed buildings) - the town hall is situated on the curiously named Buckydoo Square.

    We walk up East Street and cross the River Asker, a tributary of the Brit, and walk down though Asker's Meadow crossing back over the river close to its confluence with the Brit, to walk back up to the church.

    We head south alongside the River Brit and see Palmer"s Brewery - which was established in 1794 and is one of Britain's oldest and prettiest brewery sites - before following the Hardy Way back down to the coast and West Bay.
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  • Day8

    Kingston Lacy

    October 16, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Following the "slighting" of Corfe Castle after the English Civil War, Dame Mary Bankes and family relocated to Kingston Lacy country house and estate. The original house has been extensively altered by subsequent generations of Bankes's and is now reimagined as a Venetian Palace by William John Bankes in the late 19th century. The house, together with the entire Bankes estate (including Corfe Castle and Shell Bay), was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1981.

    We visit the house and see a statue of Mary with her sword of defiance and castle keys - they were returned to her and can be seen in the Salon here. We see the incredible Spanish Room. Next, we walk in the Formal Gardens, noting the Philae Obelisk shipped back from Upper Egypt. We stroll the 3 mile Woodland Trail and finish bsck at the lovely Japanese Garden.

    The Badbury Rings are a few minutes drive away by road, but still part of the Estate; they are the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort, with its ditches and ramparts, and there is much evidence of Bronze age barrows in the area. In the Roman era, several Roman roads converged here.
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  • Day7

    Lulworth Castle and Worth Matravers

    October 15, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Lulworth Castle was originally a hunting lodge on the Lulworth Estate built in the style of a fortified castle, but now houses a museum: access is via the converted stables. Next to the castle is St Mary's Chapel, a Catholic church built in the style of a Greek mausoleum; this was done so that it did not look like a church - it was the first Roman Catholic church to be built in England after the Reformation.

    The Square and Compass at Worth Matravers is an incredible pub; it only has a hatch for service (no bar!) and real ale and home pressed cider is served directly from the barrels. The pub has been in the same family since 1907 and we are put in the tap room, in which "a returning Victorian labourer would find nothing out of place" (according to my recent Camra Beer magazine) - it is a correct description, this is an extraordinary place.
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    Ant Travels

    And pasties are fab

  • Day4

    Sandbanks and Studland Bay

    October 12, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    We drive to Swanage and take the bus and then chain ferry to Sandbanks, a small peninsula on the end of a spit crossing the mouth of Poole Harbour: it is famed for being one of the most expensive places in the world for real estate. We walk on the beach and circle back via Panorama Avenue - Rick Stein's restaurant is on the junction next to Caff (their spelling) and an estate agent.

    We take the chain ferry back, about a 5 minute journey, and enjoy a view of Bournemouth in the distance. We start at the beginning of the South West Coast Path - of which the Jurassic Coast Walk forms part - and enjoy walking on the beach of Studland Bay; this section is extremely popular with dog walkers and people of a certain age!

    We reach Redend Point and have an excellent view of thecOld Harry Rocks. We also see the Dragon's Teeth - apparently Studland Bay was considered an invasion point during WWII and these are anti -tank fortifications. We also go into Fort Henry, an observation bunker overlooking the bay, on the route to Handfast Point and the Old Harry Rocks.
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  • Day3

    Corfe Castle

    October 11, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

    Corfe Castle itself was built in a strategic position between a gap in the natural chalk hills; its elevation means that they could also see Poole Harbour. Originally a Roman site, the castle was established by William the Conqueror, with the large keep added added by Henry I. It was demolished to its present state after the Engish Civil War ended in 1651.

    After visiting the castle and Corfe Castle village, we set off on a circular walk across Corfe Common, up the hill to Kingston and then back across another part of the "common land"; Kingston has a magnificent church with a disproportionate tower; the church is built from Purbeck stone and appears pink - due to algae, apparently.
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  • Day2

    Poole - The Old Town

    October 10, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    After lunch we follow the so-called Cockle Trail through Poole Old Town.

    We start at the Quayside and see the Custom House, a Grade II listed Georgian building now used as a restaurant. We walk up Thames Street, past many beautiful buildings and St James Church (closed), to reach the lovely West End House, built by a Newfoundland merchant. We go up Market Street to Guildhall, enjoying a new lease of life as a wedding venue. From here we double back down High Street, with its many old buildings, to Poole Museum. We see the Poole logboat, an Iron Age boat found in the harbour; the museum is extremely interesting and features local history.

    Later, we meet up with two old friends who moved to this area from Duxford six years ago. Beers and an excellent Indian dinner follow!
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  • Day2

    Poole - The Quays

    October 10, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Poole is a large coastal town in Dorset, well known for its natural harbour. We arrive there on the Purbeck Breezer bus from Corfe Castle village and embark on the Rotary Club Five Quays Walk.

    We walk through Baiter Park and arrive at the interesting Fisherman's Dock on Poole Harbour before proceeding along Poole Quay - lots of nice pubs here (two were visited later in the day). We walk along Great Quay, passing the Sea Music Sculpture, and walk onto the Twin Sails Bridge; we were lucky as it opened a little later and we saw why is named so from West Quay. Lifeboat Quay is the home of the RNLI College and Trainng Centre; there is incredible architecture and a beautiful memorial honouring all lifeboats men who have lost their lives (they are all named).Read more