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Great Escapes for Discerning Drivers

Dorset & Devon

7 April 2019 - 11 April 2019

If you want to sample a classic slice of rural England with some impressive coastline thrown in, Dorset and south Devon are for you – perfect for a quiet country escape. Find fossils on the beaches of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site with 95 miles of stunning coastline, hidden bays, sandy beaches and crumbling cliffs, and drink ale in ancient inns once frequented by smugglers. Inland, Thomas Hardy’s lyrical landscape offers the largest, most complex Iron Age hill forts in Europe at Maiden Castle, rude chalk figures at Cerne Abbas, fairy-tale castles and must-see stately homes.

Stay for four nights in a fabulous country house hotel, renowned for its warm hospitality, superb food and wonderful cocktails.

Highlights

  • Stay in a beautiful, historic country house hotel
  • Drive along Dorset’s fabulous Jurassic Coast
  • Visit Lulworth Cove & Castle
  • See the incredible earthworks of Maiden Castle
  • Enjoy the gardens and historic houses of Athelhampton, Forde Abbey, Kingston Lacy and others
  • Visit the lovely towns such as Sherborne, Dorchester, Beaminster & Lyme Regis
  • Marvel at the Cerna Abbas Giant
  • Learn about Thomas Hardy’s Dorset
  • Scenic drives through pretty villages and across rolling hills with far-reaching views

 

Route map
Price: £995 per person
Starts: 7 April 2019
Duration: 4 nights / 3 days
Mileage: 320 miles

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What's Included?

  • An extensively researched and carefully designed itinerary to optimise your trip
  • Tour book – includes a brief history of the regions to be visited, emergency details, maps and directions, accommodation information, and a very detailed, tailored account of sights and visits for each day. The book effectively eliminates the need for any other guidebooks
  • Three days of wonderful scenic drives
  • Four nights luxury accommodation with full English breakfast each morning
  • Three-course dinners with wine (1/2 bottle per person) on three evenings
  • £10 National Trust card per person (can be redeemed against entry or membership, or for current members in the cafes or gift shops)
  • Road atlas, rally plate, luggage tag, pen/highlighter, windscreen sticker
  • Accompanied by experienced & friendly tour director, Sarah Dowding & assistant

Itinerary

May be subject to change.

Day 1: 7 April 2019

Make your way to Dorset to check-in at the beautiful country house hotel that is your base for the next four nights. There will be welcome drinks followed by dinner this evening.

Day 2: 8 April 2019 95 miles

A circular tour to Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. It’s a beautiful and scenic drive down to Bridport and West Bay at the western end of Chesil Beach. The coast here is also known as the Dinosaur Coast due to the number of fossils to be found. At Abbotsbury visit the subtropical gardens or the famed swannery before continuing on to Weymouth and the Isle of Portland.

Head north to the county town of Dorchester, taking the opportunity to visit Maiden Castle, the largest and most complex Iron Age hill fort in Europe. Dorchester is also home to a number of interesting museums.

Drive past the famed Cerne Abbas Giant chalk figure, cut into the hillside for all to see. Then return to the hotel for dinner.

Day 3: 9 April 2019 131 miles

Head west starting with the lovely town of Sherborne, famed for its abbey, school and castle. Visit Forde Abbey and then cross into Devon and the Blackdown Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Head for the coast at Sidmouth, a beautiful town with a Regency feel.  Motor east, back along the coast to the pretty village of Beer, surrounded by white chalk cliffs and part of the East Devon World Heritage Coast, then the historic resort of Lyme Regis, known as the Pearl of Dorset. The route turns inland to the delightfully picturesque town of Beaminster then winds across beautiful scenic countryside back to the hotel. Dinner is at leisure this evening but local recommendations will be made.

Day 4: 10 April 2019 101 miles

Explore the eastern part of Dorset today. Head to Blandford Forum, where there is the possibility to visit the Royal Signals Museum. Then continue to the magnificent Kingston Lacy, an elegant & lavish country mansion, built to resemble an Italian Palace, set in attractive formal gardens and parkland, now in the care of the National Trust.

The route continues down to Wareham, on the edge of Poole Harbour, and onto Corfe Castle,  one of Britain’s most iconic survivors of the English Civil War, also under the care of the National Trust. Drive to Studland, with its superb beach and perhaps stop for lunch at the renowned Pig on the Beach.

The journey along the coast continues westwards, visiting Swanage, Lulworth with its castle and cove, then along to Durdle Door, the famous cliff formation.

On the way back to the hotel, visit the excellent Bovington Tank Museum and/or Athelhampton House, one of the finest 15th Century manor-houses and is surrounded by one of the great architectural gardens of England.

There will be a farewell dinner this evening.

Day 5: 11 April 2019

After a good English breakfast depart for home at your leisure.

Accommodation

A Jacobean country house, still owned by the family that built it over 400 years ago and now run by them as the archetypal, luxury, country house hotel. The family will make you feel very much at home,  indulge you with fine food and fabulous cocktails, whilst you relax in this idyllic location, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Situated in one of the most beautiful parts of Dorset, in the heart of Thomas Hardy’s ‘Vale of Little Dairies’, yet also ‘far from the madding crowd’, it’s an ideal base to explore glorious Dorset and parts of East Devon.

What’s Excluded

  • All entry fees, unless stated
  • Dinner on one evening
  • All lunches
  • Fuel and other personal expenses

Pricing

Price is per person, sharing a twin or double room. Please enquire about single occupancy
Small Double Room: £995
Classic Room: £1,100
Superior Room: £1,250

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