Play Tourist In Your Own County
This week Mr OS and I got to take Monday off and head out for the day. It was a postponed birthday celebration from the week before, put on hold when H got sick with a throat infection.
In the end it turned out to be pretty serendipitous as not only did we get to combine it with our 13th wedding anniversary celebration but the weather this time was warm and sunny as opposed to last week’s drizzle.
We headed over to the Isle of Purbeck via the Sandbanks chain ferry for a walk to Old Harry rocks followed by lunch at The Pig On The Beach.
Not truly an island but a peninsula, Purbeck encompasses the most beautiful landscape with sweeping sandy beaches, nature reserves and cliff top walks. And of course the magnificent Old Harry Rocks.
And yet despite it being only a twenty minute or so drive to reach the chain ferry, we never go there! How crazy is that with all that beauty on our doorstep?
In peak season and school holidays it is heaving with tourists so I guess thats why we’ve stayed away. But there’s so much to be gained from taking a day out of routine and allowing yourself to play tourist in your own county.
…spending time here made me
fall in love with Dorset all over again
Off season, a visit to these places is a completely different experience and spending time here made me fall in love with Dorset all over again.
I’d never walked to Old Harry Rocks to see them up close and personal before. From the nearest car park its a twenty to thirty minute walk, depending on your pace, to reach the coastline.
And it is truly breathtaking. If a little leg wobble inducing, standing on the edge of that magnificent cliff trying to catch a glimpse of the sea and rocks below!
I was proud to be wearing my now faithful wardrobe addition of an Old Harry sweater to mark the occasion.
A local brand, Old Harry was set up to create simply perfect knitwear that reminded the founders of their childhood holidays spent at the often chilly seaside, cosied up in their parents old jumpers. That story alone was enough to reel me in (if you’ll pardon the seafaring pun), let alone the quality of these stand out minimal knits.
…viewing our home stretch of the coast from the
Purbeck perspective made for such a special treat!
Having induced a sufficient number of vertiginous moments that quite frankly had my knees knocking together, we tore ourselves away from Harry’s rugged beauty and headed back to enjoy lunch at The Pig On The Beach.
Relaxing post feast with a glass of wine, viewing our home stretch of the coast from the Purbeck perspective made for such a special treat!
It was at that point that I realised I hadn’t felt so relaxed in ages. Whilst the thought of taking a whole day off during what’s turning out to be one of my busiest periods in a long time made me break out in a cold sweat, it paid dividends.
Moments to recharge, chat without small ears listening or having to jump to the demands that come from a multitude of sources are few and far between as a parent.
Sneaking a week day out together is the perfect answer to the stressed pace of day to day life.
Visiting places that you know exist in your own county but have perhaps stayed away from due to seasonal crowds gives you an appreciation of the beauty right there on your doorstep.
In today’s times, the chance to just soak up our surroundings and feel a sense of gratitude for the place we live in is solid gold in my opinion.
Seeing what visitors see when they come to Dorset made me feel incredibly lucky and I vowed right there and then to spend more time by the sea… whatever the season or reason I always seem to find for not having the time.
If you fancy popping along to Dorset
I’m happy to share with you the following…
As much as I advocate you playing tourist in your own county, if you fancy popping along to mine, I’m happy to share my love with you for the following…
If you’re in need of sustenance, try The Pig On The Beach. Be warned – it does get busy in the summer so book ahead if you can.
If a restaurant table isn’t an option, see if you can grab a drink or enjoy flat bread pizza deliciousness out on the terrace or lawn. The view from here and the sense of tranquility will make the whole journey worthwhile.
Or there’s Bankes Arms where we stopped in some years ago with H. Perfect for good food and an ice cold beer with the option of the pub garden across the road to take in that magnificent view.
If you love traditional seaside towns, there’s Swanage where you’ll find plenty of fish and chips and ice cream opportunities. And don’t forget the insanely pretty village of Corfe and it’s castle.
Just as you get off the chain ferry, or before you get back on, Studland offers the most beautiful beaches – think soft sand, long grass and dunes. Keep an eye out (or not!) for the naturist beach though, handy if you’re keen on avoiding tan lines!
Some of the beach front
houses will make your eyes water!
Post short ferry ride back, take a slow meandering drive through the jaw dropping properties of Sandbanks. Some of the Thunderbirds-esque beach front houses will make your eyes water…the same could be said about how much one might set you back too!
As you leave behind millionaire mansion land you’ll find Rick Stein’s latest restaurant on Banks Road – perfect for summer seafood and a glass of Rosé. And next on our list of must-visit restaurants.
Before you hit the main road, have one last paddle in the sea on Sandbanks beach – the lifeguard huts and sweeping sandy shoreline give it a bit of a Baywatch vibe.
I spent many a childhood summer Saturday here with my family and experienced my first proper teen crush on a boy who sold ice creams in the kiosk. I always felt like I was in some American teen movie when we went to that beach!
Have you been out to play tourist in your own county recently and what would you recommend as a visit highlight?
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