Take a Dorset adventure in the 75th-anniversary year of Enid Blyton’s first Famous Five book by spotting squirrels on Brownsea Island, eating top-notch seafood, staying in cool hotels and visiting Instagrammable villages.
Set in its own micro climate in a woodland valley, the dreamy Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens flourish with rare and exotic plants from all over the world, including eucalyptus and banana plants. Bring your dog along on a lead and admire blissful views of the Jurassic Coast from the top of Magnolia Avenue and ramble along palm tree-lined pathways.
Get ready for a food-fuelled weekend on the 8th and 9th September in the charming seaside town of Lyme Regis. Cooked up by celebrity chef and Lyme Regis native, the two-day festival celebrates food producers from the South West and also features seafood supper clubs hosted by Hix and demos and masterclasses by foodie experts.
For true Instagram perfection, head for Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill (AKA Hovis Hill) which is picture-perfect in any season but takes on a golden hue in the summer sun. Head along the Park Walk for views over the 12th-century market town and across Dorset’s Blackmore Vale.
With a mix of habitats including woodland, heathland, lagoon and seaside, Brownsea Island, in the middle of Poole Harbour, is an ideal setting for wildlife like the red squirrel, sika deer, peacocks along with common lizards, dragonflies and butterflies in the summer months. And don't miss their open-air theatre performances from 25th July to 10th August.
Stay in one of 15 stylish beach lodges lining the waterfront on Bournemouth beach. Sleeping up to five adults (or two adults and two children), the pretty cottages have direct access to one of Britain’s best beaches, and they’re pet-friendly too.
This year marks the 76th anniversary of the publication of Enid Blyton’s Five on a Treasure Island. To celebrate, visit the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle – renamed Kirin Castle for Blyton’s series. From there, hop on the steam train to the super cute coastal town of Swanage
Drop your bags off at this chic hotel in Burton Bradstock overlooking the glorious Lyme Bay. Here, you can dine on an abundant of local fare, including Bridport smoked kippers and organic bacon for breakfast, or a crab sandwich wrapped in greaseproof paper if you’d rather make a beeline for the beach.
For a meal with a lovely view of the deep blue, head to the Rick Stein’s restaurant in Sandbanks, near Poole. Feast on local seafood while looking out over the marina and towards Brownsea Island in the distance.
One of the most impressive sights along the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, the huge natural stone arch called Durdle Door is definitely bucket list material. A walk or swim there can take in other lovely spots such as Lulworth Cove and Man of War Beach.
Indulge your inner palaeontologist with a visit to the Lyme Regis Museum, reopened in July 2017. Discover its new extension devoted to the famed female fossil hunter Mary Anning, and join one of its well-known fossil walks, which are available even while the museum is closed.
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