Dorset. Places to stay.


We're off to Dorset mid-May for a week or so as Mrs Chef and the Chefettes are doing a charity walk from Poole to Bridport.

Any good places to stay for a few days or places to avoid for that matter? I've only ever stayed at Bovvy/Lulworth. Which was nice but not really family orientated.
I live here. Why would I need a hotel?

(PS, avoid the Roundhouse in Bournemouth).


I've been to Swanage and it seemed popular with families, it's got a slightly old fashioned feel to it.

Worth Matravers nice country pub, tea rooms, fossil museum and a short walk to Chapman's pool, dancing ledges and assorted bat caves and old smugglers caves along the coast

If the weather is good, Sandbanks and along the coast between Poole and Bournemouth are miles of sandy beaches perfect for lazing in the sun doing absolutely nothing

Studland is good for beaches as well, there's a good pub there and it's sheltered, and it makes a good walk along to the headland from there (just watch the cliff edge...)

One thing near Lulworth you might have missed is the Fossil Forest which is good but a little stroll to get to (but I won't mention that museum, you'll have been there)
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At the Bridport end, skip on to Lyme Regis, find the Dorset Hotel and tell them I sent you and you want mate's rates.

I worked there as a teenager and the three summers I sweated over a hot sink, hot Hoover and the hot chambermaid have to be worth something (I was supposed to help the other one, too, but she was well old and fuck-ugly so...). That it was so long ago and the owners at the time have probably karked it by now and, even if not, probably wouldn't remember me is neither here nor there. It's the thought that counts.

However, it was and probably still is a tidy little place with comfortable rooms and decent scran, so... Also sits opposite The Mariner's which was also tidy in it's day and boasted a nice little public bar. Both had parking available but that's probably been sold off for housing now - well, The Mariner's might have been as it's over the junction, opposite the Dorset on it's own plot.

That being said, The Royal Oak in Bere Regis was nice when we dined there a couple of years ago and offers rooms. It's also just around the corner from a certain museum specialising in tracked vehicles.
Second vote for Worth Matravers. Idyllic little village, close to Swanage and Corfe, you also have a lovely beach and Heathland at Studland not too far away, although there are some “Exotic” sights on part of Studland beach.
Corfe Castle and Cerne Abbas are nice but tourist traps. The Scott Arms at Kingston just outside Corfe Castle was a good pub a couple of years ago with a nice line in Caribbean food but I haven't been there for a while.

Try getting the No 50 bus, The Purbeck Breezer. It's an open top bus from Bournemouth to Swanage via the Sandbanks Ferry and was voted as one of the top three bus rides in the country. There is then a steam train from Swanage to Corfe Castle.
Bournemouth Marriott is expensive but nice.
BW Connaught a few yards inland has decent food but expensive rooms are not worth the price
Poole Premier Inn has nice rooms but restaurant is a bit crap
Lulworth Lodge if you can get a deal


Poole Premier Inn has nice rooms but restaurant is a bit crap
The Holes Bay one? Stayed there the night before I got the early jetboat over to Jersey last November. Didn't use the "restaurant" (the chain pub on the side arrangement) but the room was a standard Premier Inn affair. Same decor, same bed, same sofa, same slightly grubby bathroom, same shite Freeview selection on the TV. It wasn't even a handy distance from a convenience store to get some blot-it-out booze like most of them are.

Still, if you're looking for a reasonably priced, reasonably comfortable place to sack out for the night and nowt else, why not...?
Hotel Du Vin in Poole was pretty good, if you can get a good rate. Stayed there many, many times. Good location, right off the Quay. Would depend on the age of the kids though, it’s not for nippers.
The London Guesthouse in Lyme Regis is worth a look. It has been a few years since we were last there but we used it a couple of times and loved it. Family room (sleeps 4) for about £100 a night.
Air B & B is your newest bestest friend. Have a look at Whitchurch Canonicorium - truly outstanding location and accommodation.
Cranborne . Two pubs , 1 brewery , good village shop . Stunning walks , close to everything .
May I recommend Oliver's in West St Corfe to stay overnight.
After breakfast take a bimble through town get up in the hills and walk to Swanage.
Have a few beers around the town then get the steam railway back to Corfe.
Get back to Oliver's, smash the absolute mothers out your missus or significant other then have a wee pub crawl around Corfe.

You're welcome.