Sharing our magical weekend in Dorset and why this staycation needs to be on your UK bucket list!
We knew that we wanted to stay in a cute cabin, something very quintessentially British and we found the PERFECT accommodation via Canopy and Stars. We spent two nights at Loose Reins, an intimate setting with 3 standalone log cabins, complete with horse riding and the most welcoming staff! We arrived fairly late on the Friday evening and were warmly greeted and shown to our beautiful cabin; it was definitely love at first site for both of us! Our cabin was super cosy but had everything we needed from instant hot water, to a super comfy bed and a log fire burner – it was Instagram dreams!
Located in the quaint town of Shillingstone, Loose Reins provided us with a stay that left us feeling reconnected with nature! Set on a ranch with lots of stunning land, we felt so relaxed and refreshed during our trip; everything we wanted and more from our country retreat in Dorset!
What to do...
During our trip to Dorset we explored a couple of picturesque areas such as Shaftesbury (my favourite!), Blandford Forums and Shillingstone. Dorset was packed full of cute towns with cobbled streets, lovely traditional pubs and the friendliest of people (it felt SO British I absolutely loved it!). My favourite trip was on our last day when we spent the afternoon checking out Shaftesbury; and more notably Gold Hill (an incredibly steep hill, famous for it being the location that the original 1973 Hovis advert was filmed!). Of course we had to visit Gold Hill to check it out; full of charming cottages and character – this was such a highlight for us to see (kind of wishing I’d recreated the advert now with a bike haha!).
If you’re ever in Dorset I would highly recommend taking a trip to Kingston Lacy, a lavish home built to resemble an Italian Palace in the rural Dorset Countryside. Part of the National Trust; Kingston Lacy is well worth a walk around, to explore the stunning grounds, see the house and stop off in the café for a coffee and bite to eat. It was the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon before heading to the local pub for dinner!
Another must if you’re heading to that part of the UK is to definitely check out Keyneston Mill! We spent a good few hours having a tour of Keyneston Mill; the largest private botanic gardens in the country! Home to the creative and experimental (and down right DIVINE) Parterre Fragrances. The ground are dedicated solely to aromatic and scented plants (with over 2,000 varieties in the 50-acre estate!).
Ben and I were lucky enough to meet the wonderful Julia and David, the founders and they were so incredibly lovely. They took us on a tour of the botanic gardens and thoroughly talked us through the distilling process of the perfume which was incredible to witness how the product comes to life through the process from start to finish! We also had the most delicious lunch whilst we were at Keyneston Mill – but more on that below! 😉
Where to Eat and Drink...
Main St, Blandford Forum DT11 8QD
After a three hour drive to Dorset from London we were so ready to check out The Cricketers and have a good hearty meal! The restaurant prides itself for using fresh and locally sourced ingredients (all of which I can confirm are delicious!). Ben went for the lamb dish on the specials board and I had the roasted vegetables, pesto and mozzarella tart which was delicious!! If you’re looking for a traditional British pub with great food (they also have a great variety of vegetarian dishes too!), then this is the place for you!
Keyneston Mill, Tarrant Keyneston, Dorset, DT11 9HZ
This has to be one of my favourite things that we did during our trip to Dorset! Ben and I spent the morning wandering around Keyneston Mill (as mentioned above), and we stopped to have lunch at their restaurant The Scented Botanist; where they offer a range of delicious light bistro meals, freshly brewed coffees and yummy pastries with a French twist.
The best part about The Scented Botanist? They use all of their own herbs, salad leaves and flowers that are grown right there in the gardens! They also pride themselves on sourcing any other ingredients locally which is a great support to the community and surrounding areas! I opted for the Risotto dish with a fresh Cappuccino and can honestly say that it was absolutely delicious – we’ll be back one day for sure!
Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 2AF
After spending the morning at Keyneston Mill learning about fragrances and an afternoon wandering the stunning home at Kingston Lacy, we headed to Plumber Manor Country House & Hotel for a wonderful meal at their restaurant. The restaurant has been in the Good Food Guide for 38 consecutive years which is incredible – and the food/venue/service sure lived up to the expectations for us!
We shared the Chateubriand (highly recommend if you’re a steak lover, it was delicious!), washed down with a nice bottle of red wine and some Raspberry and Peanut Butter cheesecake from the desert trolley (yes, they come around with a trolley full of about 12 desserts and I’m pretty sure I’ve found heaven!). Oh, and in case I hadn’t already sold you enough on dining at Plumber Manor, then let me tell you that they have a live-in dog called Angus!
High St, Shaftesbury SP7 8JA
One of my favourite dining experiences during our visit to Dorset had to be our last day stop off at the Grosvenor Arms before our drive back to London. The Grosevnor Arms has been an inn since Medieval times and the original timber framed building was a busy coaching inn! Even though the Grosvenor Arms has recently been refurbished the history and character of the building is still visible which I loved.
Ben tucked into a delicious roast dinner (definitely had food envy – it looked SO good!), and I went for the Chimichurri beef burger with hand cut fries; I can confirm that it was just as delicious as it sounds! If you’re heading to Shaftesbury to check out Gold Hill and have a wander then be sure to stop off at the Grosvenor Arms for a bite to eat, you won’t be disappointed!
There we have it – our EPIC trip to Dorset, packed full with what we got up to during our stay! If you’ve never been to Dorset (like we previously hadn’t), then I would highly recommend a trip to discover some beautiful English countryside, nice long walks, cosy pubs and tonnes of history to be unveiled!
Have you been to Dorset before? Would you love to visit? Would you love to stay in a log cabin at Loose Reins? I’d love to hear your tips & recommendations of the area!
*This post was in collaboration with Visit England, all images and opinions as always are my own.