Lavender fairytales | A photo essay

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[August: London | September: Italy / Dubai | October: Delhi / Agra / Varanasi / Mumbai]

Your Ultimate Guide to a Weekend on the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast, I’m sure you all know, it’s a beautiful part of England. But if you only have a weekend there, it can be hard to choose what you really want to see and experience. That’s why this guide is going to take off your shoulders the heavy duty of deciding where to go and what to do. In a very simple way, this is also the perfect route if you just took the impromptu decision to take off to Dorset on a Friday morning. Old Harry's Rock

Day One

Let’s say that you’ve left London (or your home town) early in the morning to start your long drive to Dorset, if you have been smart (and lucky) enough, you should hit the coast around lunch time. So, what’s best than a pub lunch to stretch your legs and get some fuel into your belly. The best place is  Banks Arms, an award-winning and stunning pub perked on the coast of Studland. Not only has a beautiful indoor area, but also has a grand al-fresco area looking into the sea. If you are a member of the national trust you can park here for free.* The Bankers Arms  Once you have recovered from your first leg of your road trip and you are finally ready to explore, gather your things, set your camera ON  and head to Old Harry’s Rocks. Leaving the pub behind you,  walk down the road on the right and take the first little path on the left. There you can enjoy a very first view of the stunning white cliffs and warm your camera and fingers with some first stunning shots. Once you’ve done so, walk back and carry on on the main path towards the coast. Take time to embrace the scene, the stunning coast changing shape and colour around you  and if you are not too scared, go up to the edge to see how high you are. Old Harry's Rock Once you are done, go back to the car and drive to Corfe where you can once again park for free* at Castle. You can then walk up the castle ruins and enjoy the view from there. It’s pretty impressive. Corfe CastleThe view from Corfe CastleBut once you are in Corfe, don’t forget to go to the train station for a short time travel when a on old-style train will pass by.  Check the train timetable as they are not very frequent.   Corfe Station While you are in the centre, you should also go and visit the little church in the main square and if you are lucky as we were, you might bump into a groom holding hands with his freshly wedded bride. Watch the show and maybe wish the couple well. And I know you are a bit peckish by now, so head to the bakery in front of the church and try their onion and cheese pies and yes, there is a fabulous Sweet Shop next to it. Buy some sugary fuel for the rest of your journey too. The Sweet Shop in Corfe If you didn’t have a very long lunch and didn’t spend hours at the sweet shop, you should be now ready to see the most famous part of Dorset, so go back to your car and drive to  Lulworth Cove.

IMG_4401 You can once again park here to admire the untouched beauty of the cove and embrace the calm of the place. After this and depending on your energy level, you have a double option. You can either get into your car and drive to Durdle Door for sunset photo or if you have time you can walk your way there. It isn’t close nor easy, but surely is a great experience with some stunning views of this incredible coast. Take some beers and crisps and enjoy the sun go down sitting on the beach at Durdle Door, see the ray of light painting it and changing the coulor of the sea itself, embrace nature and its incredible, speechless beauty. IMG_4402You are almost done for the day, it’s time for dinner, so drive to Wareham and eat some burgers or sausages and mash at Hall & Woodhouse. Service is friendly and food is great. Remember that kitchens close early in the countryside (even earlier than London!), so make sure to hit here or any other restaurant in the same square before 8pm. Hood & Woodhouse

Lulworth Cove

Day Two
On your second day, go and explore the west side of the Jurassic Coast. Start your day with a delicious full English breakfast or, if your are watching your weight, some skinny pancakes at Cafe Blue in Weymouth.
Cafe Blue - Weymouth Weymouth looks like a city that stopped in time and when we were there we were lucky to stumble on the Armed Forces Seafront Parade with over 1,000 veterans, marching bands and historic military vehicles.Weymouth The ParadeThe Parade
After your breakfast, you should totally take a walk on the beach and maybe cool your feet in the water for a bit or maybe go for a swim if the weather allows it. But don’t chill too much! There is still so much to see 🙂
Weymouth beach
Once you are ready, head back to your car and drive towards the Isle of Portland. On the way there, drive slowly: safety first, but there are also some stunning viewpoints over Portland. The street can be narrow sometimes, but you should be able to find some space to park here for a couple of panoramic shots.
Once you get to Portland head to the still functioning lighthouse and maybe walk down on the rocks or take a  leisurely walk throughout the beach huts and do some people watching. There are some stunning views here both towards the sea and the countryside: in the summer the green is greenest and the blue is bluest.
Portland Bill Lighthouse
Nissan Figaro
Beach huts in Portland
Porland beach huts But we are not done for the day yet, so it’s time to go again and this time we are going to…guess.. yup another  beach! Well, probably the most famous beach in Dorset: Chesil Beach. If you haven’t read the novel by Ian McEwan, you should maybe bring it along with you so that you can read it while you sit on the perfectly-rounded stones that form this 29 km long, 200m wide and 15m high beach. I was told you cannot take these beautiful rocks with you as they are part of the protected UNESCO site that covers the entire Jurassic Coast, so…you’ve been warned!
Chesil Beach
Once you are ready you can hop back on your car and drive to one next and last destination for the day: Lyme Regis, another small, beautiful village by the coast. On your way there, if you have time, remember to stop in some of the small towns you will pass by; Attonsbury, one of them, is super-cute, and filled with colourful cottages. Once you get to Lyme Regis, park your car on top of the hill before entering the city centre so you can take a pleasant walk down through the main street. Grab your ice-cream from Parlour Stores on Cobb Road (it’s like proper Italian gelato) and walk along the Cobb.

 Once again, look at the fishermen and weekenders working on their boats and admire the landscape. Inhale the atmosphere and breath deeply. Take a wander through the little streets and the colourful houses or maybe chill in the park for a while.

Lyme RegisThe best way to close the day is to get some fish & chips and couple of drinks from Cobb Gate Fish Bar right on the beach and sit there to enjoy your food and the sun going down. But beware! The seagulls here are particularly hungry and brave, so make sure to protect your food and eat quickly!

Day Three

You are on your third and final day of your weekend away and it’s time to explore the east side of the Jurassic Coast. The best way to start your day is to head to Clavell’s Cafe in Kimmeridge’s; a super cute family-run restaurant. The food here is amazing and prices very reasonable

Covell's Cafe Covell Cafe

After you have filled your stomach, you can either walk up to Clavell Tower (about 20 minutes) or drive at the bottom of it. Whatever you decide, make sure to stop on the way to take pictures of the cutest cottages right outside the restaurant.
Best house of KimmeridgeIf you decide to drive it’s 5£ for the toll road and parking there. We decided to drive as it was raining, but I guess it is a pleasant walk to the tower on a sunny day.
Clavell Tower Clavell Tower is a four storey circular tower that stands on the cliff overlooking Kimmeridge Bay  Built in 1830 its location has attracted many writers including Hardy and PD James and it was recently turned into a holiday accommodation with one bedroom on each of the four floor.
Clovell Tower
Jump back on your car and drive to Swanage. Park on top of the hill for long car park stay and take in the view over the bay. Walk towards the beach and pay 0.65£ to stroll to the new pier and take some pictures of the fishermen in action. The wooden floor of the pier is filled with plaques with names and words dedicated to beloved ones who’ve passed away. Sit on one of the benches and let your cheeks be caressed by the wind for a while and maybe give some thoughts to your own beloved ones who are no longer here.
The Pier
Walk along the beach up to the other end of the cove and admire the colourful beach huts and stop somewhere for people watching and for taking in the scene and the sky.
The PierSwanage
But a trip to Dorset wouldn’t be complete without an afternoon tea, so head to Swanage city centre and sit at a table at Love Cake Etc. Beware that portions are very, very generous so keep that in mind before ordering.  Staff is incredibly nice and genuine too.
Love Cake Etc Menu
Love Cake Etc
Love Cake Etc
Have a safe journey back!!
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During this weekend we stayed at an amazing converted church in East Stoke, kindly sponsored by AirBnb. You can see a few pictures of this property below and book here. *All views on the the accommodation or the places mentioned above are my own. 
AirBnb AirBnb AirBnb AirBnb AirBnb
Notes to the reader:
*Car Parks: many of the locations and sights mentioned above offer free car parking to National Trust members, if you are one remember to bring your sticker, if you are not, but are thinking to explore more in the next few months, if might be worth getting a membership ahead.
**This guide is tailored for a long weekend away – obviously, if you are travelling during the week, it can also work, but please double check opening times of the places listed above.
*** In order to really enjoy and explore the Jurassic Coast, a car is necessary; this was the way I managed to see so much in such a limited amount of time. If you do not own a car, I recommend you to rent one through one of the most popular rental cars or ask a car-owner friend to come with you! 🙂
*** *If you have some extra time or even an extra day, add the Blue Pool to your itinerary. We couldn’t see it, but the pictures of it are very promising!Did I forget anything? Would you add something to this guide? Let me know below!
Copyright © 2015 Sabrina Andrea Sachs. All rights reserved.
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