Escape to Dorset

Last week was tough. (First world tough, obviously, but tough nevertheless). Both the Husband and I got totally fed up with the endless wait to get the keys to our house, and I had a pretty uncharacteristic melt-down. The Dude was poorly and got sent home from school. The Husband walked into a glass door that someone had closed (oops) and got whiplash, which needed medical attention. We got really grumpy. So we decided to go away for the weekend, and give my poor patient parents a little break from the chaos of hosting the Ramsdens. We headed to Dorset, south of Wiltshire where I spent many childhood summer holidays (and where I visited with the Dude a few summers ago). We booked a camping pod in Wareham, packed all our warm clothes and waterproofs (the forecast was grey and rainy) and set off south.

pod camping dorset

We arrived mid-afternoon on Friday, unloaded our stuff in the pod and headed straight out to Lulworth Cove, an iconic little bay further west along the coast. The beautiful, tiny main street is pedestrianised and leads down to this perfect little cove of aquamarine water, surrounded by cliffs. We walked along the beach and then climbed the footpath up to the top of the cliffs for the views!

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From the car park, we hiked up the surprisingly steep coast path over the hill to Durdle Door, a wonderful limestone arch on a shingle beach, before heading back to Wareham for dinner at an Italian restaurant by the wharf.

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durdle door dorset

dorset seaside cliffs

Saturday dawned rainy and blustery, but the forecast told us it would clear up for a few hours, so as soon as the rain stopped, we headed out to do a hike I’d wanted to do for a long time now. We parked in Norden, at the hikers’ car park, and walked half a mile to the wonderful ruined Corfe Castle. This is my very favourite castle in the UK, it’s so dramatic! But we kept walking and headed up along the Purbeck Way towards the coast at Swanage. We climbed solidly for about three miles but it was very steady (totally runnable if I was running). The only thing that concerned me was walking through the field of cows…cows make me very nervous.

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Ruined castle, pretty village, green hills…

us hiking dorset

Eventually we hit the top of the ridgeway and began the descent towards Swanage. Once we got to the outskirts of town, the signage got very sketchy so we just kept heading towards the coast and then suddenly we were there!

swanage dorset
I can see the sea!

Having explored a bit, eaten ice-cream and played on the beach, we got the steam train back to Norden. As the train pulled out of the station, the rain started falling. Flipping fantastic day out. We’d hiked just over 6 miles (the route is here) and it had been perfect!

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Not my spaniel. But one day.

steam train dude swanage dorset

Sunday dawned dry, if blustery and grey. I snuck out to run four easy miles…

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..and then we packed up and headed off to explore Corfe Castle. It was built a thousand years ago by William the Conqueror and ruined in a battle of the English Civil War and it’s so cool! I know this is a bit geeky but it felt so very Game of Thrones…seriously, it looks just like Harrenhal! No dragons though, sadly.

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And then as the rain came down in earnest and didn’t stop, we went to the Bovington Tank Museum, where they have all the tanks a person could ever wish to see. If you like machines of mass destruction, this is your place to go because it’s huge and excellent. The boys loved it. I momentarily wished I had a daughter!

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This was a really fun weekend. It was good to get outside, to show much-loved places to my boys and to give my poor parents a break from the craziness of having us. Dorset is gorgeous, we’re really looking forward to exploring more of it!

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