England’s Southwest: Thomas Hardy’s beautiful Dorset

June, 2015

Armed with Reg the new (older) motorhome, decided that a weekend away in Burton Bradstock, Dorset would be a great test run for the next big adventure…

Freshwater Beach Holiday Park, England, campsite

The campsite

This part of England is going to be the playground and test site for frequent get-aways, as it’s an easy 1.5 hour drive from Street (Somerset). And with fuel at around £1.19/litre, you won’t need a mortgage for the trip.

The campsite also includes everything that you can possibly want, with the added bonus of many walking trails along this stunning and renown coastline.

Sights

Take a stroll along the spectacular Jurassic Coast to West Bay, which is about an hour from the campsite. But beware, there are a few pretty steep hills along the way. Steps and the occasional bench makes it a little easier to get your breath back if you need to stop.

Freshwater Bay, UK, walks

Coastal walk – view towards Abbotsbury

You could walk most of the 96 miles (154 kms) of this World Heritage coastline if you so wished or feeling energetic.

Freshwater, Dorset, UK, touring, motorhome

Reg in Dorset

 

Pillbox, UK, coastal walks, Freshwater

WWII Pillbox

The layers of sedimentary rock reveals 85 million years of Earth with some cliffs as high as 660 feet (200 metres); again, this is a spectacular part of the UK, which won’t disappoint.

With such wonderful vistas, a great campsite, and history to match, you can see why this area is a big hit with local and foreign tourists year-round.

Great photo opportunities wherever you look and especially if the weather is sunny and kind, which it was on a few occasions!

Pillboxes

For the history buffs out there or if you’re interested in a little history, just up the hill near the Freshwater campsite and not a strenuous walk, you’ll bump into remnants of WWII Pillboxes, which were constructed in the early 1940s.

The Customs House

Once you’ve walked from the campsite to West Bay taking loads of photos and enjoying nature, you’ll need a snack break and what better surrounds than to stop at The Customs House (9 West Bay Road).

Not only is there bistro dining, restaurants, antique and contemporary handmade art from creative traders – it’s worth spending a few hours wandering around the 3 floors of this beautiful 200-year old building. Within close proximity to the sea and the sound of water, it’s a cool spot to relax.


Campsite

Freshwater Beach Holiday Park (between West Bay and Burton Bradstock)

Cost – powered site £27/night (low season)

Facilities – This is a family park spread over 20 acres with over 400 pitches (I think), fantastic facilities, excellent staff, and a great position by the sea. A 5-Star complex!

A pool (not open in low season), restaurant, shop, fun centre, bar, dog walking area, and much more will keep you busy and the kids happy for a while…fabulous spot to relax and go for lovely long walks. Several spotless ablution blocks thrown in for good measure and heavenly to shower in!


At the campsite

The first adventure to the campsite was over a Thursday/Friday night during the low season. Although Thursday was quiet, Friday afternoon proved different.

A steady procession of cars towing caravans, motorhomes, campervans, and more, drove up and down the site searching for their pitch number. Finally finding the one, spilled out onto the pitch with people, children, camping gear, and started erecting tents, awnings, and other stuff for the weekend – great to watch the social interaction.

Some turned into heated discussions on why the tent wasn’t quite right, straight, or other, which eventuated into arguments, with one person finally giving up and stomping off!

Also amazing is the incredible amount of gear people ram into their vehicles to take away just for a weekend. It seems that nothing can be gone without for a couple of days and all creature comforts are required at hand.

Freshwater, campsite, UK, coastal walks, Dorset

Misty Cliff view of the campsite

UK, Dorset, coastal walk

Sunny day in Dorset

campsite, touring,UK, Freshwater

Freshwater campsite from a coastal walk

touring, UK, freshwater, coastal walk

Freshwater campsite – holiday homes on site

Freshwater, campsite, touring, UK

Reg at home in the distance – Freshwater campsite pitches

From the campsite, there are excellent coastal treks/walks east to Burton Bradstock (check out Hive Beach Cafe) and west to West Bay village (check out The Customs House).

golf course, coastal walk, UK, Dorset

Gorgeous spot for a golf course!

If you’re into fishing or crabbing then this is also the place to be…why not enjoy a spot of beach fishing to catch your own dinner and throw it on a BBQ. Sip on a glass of bubbly while you wait for your meal to arrive and watch the sun go down? Soak up the atmosphere while you can…

West Bay, UK, Dorset,

West Bay Harbour

West Bay, UK

Another view – West Bay Harbour

West Bay, UK, Dorset, coastal walk

West Bay beach – note coastal trail up the cliff back to Freshwater campsite!

West Bay, UK, Coastal Walk

View down to West Bay from coastal walk

Food

Hive Beach Café – Gorgeous location and a lovely place to stay for a drink whilst being calmed by the sea. A seafood meal costs around £17.50-£25, coffee starts from £2.20; and £2.25 for an ice-cream cone with a Flake stick stuck on top. Meals are pricey and I’m sure they’re very good (smelt great) but on the Aussie dollar, all prices are double, so a little expensive for our daily budget.

hive beach, UK, touring, burton bradstock, coastal walk

Hive Beach Café (green and brown buildings)

Lookout Café (Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth, Dorest) – Fantastic views of Portland Bay (to the west) and along the Purbeck Heritage Coast (to the east). Relaxed atmosphere but very busy on a Sunday morning; pop in for a delicious breakfast (£6.25-£8.25), coffee (£2.05-£2.65); or stop for lunch with a burger or main (£8.25-£8.95). Snacks, homemade cakes, and light bites are also served.

Lookout Café, UK, touring, Weymouth

The Lookout Café – Weymouth

 

UK, coastal walk, Dorset

On one of the many glorious coastal walks!

 

The Curve Coffee House and Cafe (57a The Esplanade, Weymouth) – Great spot for scrumptious gourmet sandwiches, coffee, Devonshire teas (£4.00), and homemade cakes. Great service and ambience, excellent staff!

Il Porto Italian Bar & Kitchen (Brewers Quay) – Lovely Ambience, great service and food! Starters £3.95-9.95; Mains £7.65-£17.95; Pizzas £7.95-£12.90. Try the Linguine allo Scoglio – simply scrumptious! I hear the pizzas are also pretty special.

Visit my Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on Touring at my Image Earth Travel site.

4 thoughts on “England’s Southwest: Thomas Hardy’s beautiful Dorset

  1. Hi Nilla ! I found your blog from the freshwater page. We are hoping to visit Dorset for the first time ever this summer, Your blog very informative and your pictures beautiful. Thank you, Dee Ribble Valley, Lancs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment and glad you found my post informative!
      Dorset is such a beautiful part of England and so lucky the sun shone on most times we were there. You will enjoy all the gorgeous coastal walks as they’re breathtaking! I have many moe post to upload yet. Just went back into this post and noticed one of the photos was missing so I’ve added this again.

      Like

  2. Really enjoyed reading this blog, found it very interesting and helpful when visiting Dorset next time we’re down that way. Lovely photos also…

    Liked by 1 person

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