Summer is well and truly here! Okay, so the weather may be getting a bit confused but we are feeling buoyed up by some warmer evenings, striking sunsets and those few extra degrees in sea temperature that gets even our most timid team members keen for a pre-work dip (check out our guide to wild swimming)! Here in Dorset we are surrounded by stunning places to visit - beautiful beaches for lazy days, coves and caves waiting to be explored and rolling hills with a myriad of walking trails.
With so many great places on our doorstep we’re going to be spending a lot of the summer in our own backyard. Whether you’re a local like us, or a visitor coming here for your staycation we think you’ll agree that Dorset has a lot to offer. And, whether you’re an intrepid trekker wanting to take on a challenging walk, or more of a serene stroller and you simply like to soak up the scenery on a short amble, we’ve come up with some of our favourite walks, all with an obligatory tea stop where you can get your hands on ‘a cup of sunshine’ with Dorset Tea!
Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove
There’s a reason this walk features in every Dorset travel guide - because it showcases two of our most spectacular sites. The well marked trail, just over a mile long, takes you from the famous natural arch of Durdle Door, up over the cliff tops with striking views out across the Jurassic Coast, and down into picture-perfect Lulworth Cove. You’ll reach the quaint village first where you can pick up a stick of rock or choose from a zillion ice cream flavours before you reach the beautifully clear turquoise waters of the almost circular bay. Whether you want to jump in to cool off, or sit and listen to the lapping waves, the Boat Shed is a great spot right on the water’s edge where you can get your favourite cup of Dorset Tea. We regularly head here for a weekend day trip and sometimes you’ll find us out in the bay on our paddleboards.
When it comes to ‘things to do in Dorset’ Studland is a must-see. With four miles of untouched beach and its calm, sheltered waters it’s the perfect spot to spend a summers day. You could choose to park in Sandbanks, hop aboard the chain ferry as a foot passenger and then walk via Godlingston Heath, or simply along the shoreline until you reach Middle Beach Café. It’s a charming, rustic spot for a midday break so grab some lunch and choose from their full range of Dorset Tea - Fruit, Herbal & Green teas are on offer as well as our hero Sunshine blend which is a tasty premium everyday black tea. Once refreshed you could either double back on yourself, continue your exploration all the way to Old Harry Rocks or hop aboard the Purbeck Breezer for a more leisurely ride home! Oh, maybe we should mention - don’t be surprised if you spot a few skinny dippers along the way – Studland has a stretch of beach designated as a naturist section!
If you’re more of an urban explorer then Sandbanks (mentioned above) is a day out all on its own. Often cited as one of the world’s most expensive places to live, there are many incredible beachside houses to drool over. From the beach you can saunter along Banks Road admiring the heavenly pads on one side and the views out over Poole Harbour on the other. Continuing on through the exclusive neighbourhoods of Evening Hill and Lilliput you’ll reach South Deep Café, nestled in Parkstone Marina. With a waterfront garden and views across the bay it’s possibly one of the best locations to sample a nice cup of Dorset Tea and one of our favourite hang-outs.
Ringsted Bay is one of Dorset’s hidden gems. Its beautiful, unspoilt shingle beach and calm waters look out towards Portland and for walkers this area offers a multitude of options. Located on the South West Coast Path you can follow it west towards Osmington Mill and onto Weymouth. It’s a strenuous five miles with some steep sections but the views over the stunning Jurassic Coast will more than make up for it. Stop off at Lookout Café for lunch and of course a lovely cup of Dorset Tea to make sure you are well fuelled for the hike back! You’ll be surprised how different the Dorset views look as you head in the opposite direction!
The tiny village of Worth Matravers may look familiar if you’ve ever received a postcard from Dorset. Its pretty stone cottages huddled around a duck pond make it one of the most photogenic settlements on the Jurassic Coast. The village is a popular starting point for walks out to St Aldhelm’s Head and its ancient chapel. The limestone headland is gorgeous during the summer months with the grassland covered in pretty wild flowers that attract many butterflies. Getting there you’ll have excellent views down onto the quiet cove of Chapman’s Pool and sweeping panoramas of the coastline. When you reach the chapel you can then either walk via the old fisherman’s cottages and quarry back into the village or take a longer route back via the steep sided valley of Windspit Bottom for about a five mile round trip. Worth Matravers Tea and Supper Room is your end goal! It has a lovely traditional feel, serving fantastic cream teas with our very own Dorset Tea all on mis-matched vintage crockery, although at the time of writing they are still mainly serving takeaways from their kitchen hatch – still well worth a visit though!
We hope this has given you some inspiration for some lovely summer days out in Dorset. There are so many walking trails in the county that is was hard to choose just five! All the locations we mentioned are well served by footpaths, meaning you can make the walks as long or as short as you like. For a real challenge, take a look at The Dorset Jubilee Trail - it extends from the Somerset border all the way across the Dorset county to the Hampshire border. With 90 miles to discover our gorgeous rural villages, rolling hills, steep valleys and breath-taking coastline you could easily spend the whole summer here exploring!
We’d love to see your summer holiday snaps so don’t forget to tag us and let us know your favourite Dorset sipping spot. And if you can’t make it to our beautiful county this summer, then head over to our tea shop and select your favourite cup of sunshine to enjoy at home.