Review: The Beach House, Dorset
An enchanting thatched cottage refurbished tastefully within, it’s one of many properties owned by Boutique Retreats around the country.
Quirkily, the chic nautical-inspired bedrooms (one double en-suite, one twin and one bunk bed) and modern bathrooms are downstairs, allowing the spacious open-plan kitchen and living room to occupy the whole of the first floor, all beneath an impressive timber-beamed vaulted ceiling.
Our party comprised three couples so this sociable space, kitted out with high-tech appliances, a retro digital radio and a huge farmyard dining table, was ideal.
I bagged the master bedroom downstairs, furnished in soft greys and fresh blues, with fluffy bathrobes awaiting in the en-suite. The set-up is perfect for a family, and though we tossed a coin for the bunk beds we were all quite taken with this fun, cabin-like arrangement and its cute fairly lights.
Buckets and spades are even provided for younger guests, plus a well-equipped kids’ area with toys, games and an impressive DVD collection. Rainy days: sorted.
In clement weather you can relax in the house’s attractive private garden, comprising a manicured lawn with leafy flowerbeds running down to a small stream. The raised deck kitted out with comfy super-size sun beds is perfect for snatching half an hour’s shut-eye in the shade after a long day at the beach.
While we think of beach breaks more as a perk of summer, I’m a huge advocate for exploring the English coast in the colder months when the shores are wild and windswept and free of tourists.
You don’t have to walk far from the Beach House’s front door to find a breathtaking view, and there’s nothing like a good hill-climb or costal clifftop path hike – salt wind whipping rosying cheeks – to really blow away the cobwebs and experience the grandeur of nature.
The two nights were spent cosied up indoors, wine in hand and meals on laps, working our way through the board games provided, and in the nearby pub, The Anchor, sampling their superlative fish and chips. A sociable spot all year round, it serves a fine range of real ales too.
Foodies should also make a beeline for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage, a 20-minute drive inland. Make sure to tell them where you’re staying: Beach House guests get 15% off their bill.
Lyme Regis makes for another enjoyable day trip: a town steeped in maritime history and stocked with plentiful teashops and restaurants. Search for fossils on the beach then take a stroll along The Cobb, which hugs the harbour and has provided the setting for many a movie (The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Jane Austen’s Persuasion among them).
Dorset is also quintessential Thomas Hardy country: nearby Dorchester was the fictional Casterbridge in his eponymous mayoral tragedy. You might even spot the cast of Broadchurch filming the new series in the vicinity.
To conclude, the Beach House is an ideal base from which to explore this rich and rewarding corner of Britain at any time of year: strike out for the scenery, stay in for the luxury home comforts. There was plenty of local information provided at the property, enabling us to make the most of our stay. Boutique Retreats really have thought of everything.
After our successful cold-weather stay, we’re already planning to return for the warmer months or even autumn, and heartily advise anyone reading to follow suit.
The Beach House, Seatown, Dorset www.boutique-retreats.co.uk
Prices from £918 for a long weekend in winter, to £2,553 for a week in summer.