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We have had two cancellations for two cottages (Lydden & Cerne Cottages) over the Festive period. So rather than writing a Blog on it, I thought I’d Vlog how fantasticly festive it is here at Lancombe in Dorset.
Don’t forget, we are super Family friendly and Santa visits in his very own Grotto (FOC) both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. When I say family friendly, remember this means the whole family, including your four legged family members! So watch my latest video, a true story (a nativity if you like) and click on: www.lancombe.co.uk to choose your best Festive break ever!
‘Tis the Season to be jolly and we certainly are jolly at Lancombe! So I’m going to share my ‘insider’ knowledge to help you find the people and places, that you wouldn’t necessarily find on your own, just so you can join in with our Festive Spirit…..Dorset style!
We have an amazing early Christmas offer, but let me tell you why first of all…
Not only are there such wonderful Christmas events in Dorset, but there are lots of them in the lead up to the actual day itself. Meaning it’s a perfect time to take some time away for you, before the family visits start and enjoy the wonder of Christmas in Dorset, it really is magical. Here’s my little diary of our favourite Christmas in Dorset Events in the lead up to and over Christmas.
Saturday 23rd November & Sunday 24th November 10am – 4pm. Dorset Food & Drink Festival at the stunning Athelhampton House, DT2 7LG .
Speaking from personal experience, this is an amazing annual festive foodie event with over 50 amazing producers selling distinctively Dorset & seasonal produce set in the lovely grounds of Athelhampton House and Gardens.
Just to add to the festivities they’ll have plenty of local choirs and performers throughout the weekend, making it the perfect day out! £3.50 per adult, children free and includes the Food Fair and entry to Gardens and House. Hurry up booking your stay at Lancombe though because we only have one cottage available this weekend! On the Sunday, you can meet Santa too!
Christmas in Swanage Saturday 30th November 12pm – 5pm. Some of you may already know that there is a big place in my heart for Swanage. I spent many of my childhood holidays there in my Auntie’s caravan (she wasn’t my REAL Auntie 😊) and I have such wonderful memories.
Aside from that, it is a beautiful seaside town, with lots to do, so it’s worth a visit whilst you’re staying in Dorset. I have chosen this over an event in Dorchester, purely because you can experience the wonder and magic in Dorchester at the marvellous Christmas Cracker detailed later on.
At this event there are Hot Chestnuts, Santa’s Grotto in a Beach Hut, emergency vehicle displays, a Christmas sing a long, Christmas Lights switch on at 5pm and the Artisans on the Beach grand opening. For more information Swanage Information Centre (they are so lovely, so I’d probably just call for a chat! 😉) or email: email@example.com
Whilst you’re in that neck of the woods, you may as well hop on to the The Santa Express! This runs on Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December. At Swanage Railway, Station Road, Swanage.
You get to meet Santa on his Special Train! During your one hour return journey each child will receive a wrapped present from Santa, complimentary soft drink and biscuit.
Trains depart at 10.30, 12.05, 13.40 & 15.15 Call: 01929 425800 for more information.
Weymouth Christmas Fun on Sunday 1st December 11am – 4pm. Yet another wonderful seaside town, with lots to do and see. So come along to this event just outside of Debenhams DT4 8LY. There’s lots of Christmas Activities, with a Snow and a Bubble machine. Live acts on stage, including the Little Mix Tribute Act Black Magic. Find out more at: www.weareweymouth.co.uk
Farmer Palmers Farm Park, Organford, BH16 6EU Running every weekend from Saturday 30th November up to and including 22nd December. Plus Tuesday and Wednesday mornings between 11am – 12pm.
We all love Farmer Palmers right?! Even without Christmas, it’s a fabulous day out for both parents and children (up to the age of 8) or if you use me as an example up to the age of 46!!!!
No Pre booking required, turn up and pay on the day! (£7 plus admission). Now don’t forget Lancombe’s lovely Guest’s get a 10% discount off entry and a 50% discount if you go again in the same week 😉 You’re welcome! 😉
Weymouth Pavillion the Russian Opera House and State Ballet presents the Nutcracker. December 3rd at 7.30pm. This is highly recommended if you want something Christmassy but a bit different from the normal panto.
Kingston Lacey Illuminated Gardens. BH21 4EA. Runs from 4th – 22nd December every Wednesday – Sunday from 4 – 7pm. Then 23rd December – 5th January 2020 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) again from 4 – 7pm.
Take this beautiful and mystical 30 minute trail through the Formal Garden at this Country House and Estate. This year visit Blind Walk to try your hand at an interactive light experience. For the first time this year, parts of the trail will include music to add to the Christmas magic! It is spectacular.
Telelphone for more information on: 01202 843752. Please do note only Assistance Dogs are allowed for this trail.
Dorchester Christmas Cracker – 4 – 7pm Thursday 5th December and at 6.30 watch the Snow Sisters and a very cheeky Snowman turn the lights on outside St. Peter’s Church in High West Street – DT1 1UJ.
This is a fabulous event and a fun way to celebrate Christmas, so it’s really not to be missed! I mean what better way to get into the spirit of Christmas in a beautiful County town in Dorset?! With live music, santa on his sleigh, lantern parade and lots, lots, more! There’s also 30% off Skating in the Square too! Brewery Square in Dorchester.
Buttermarket Christmas Market, Poundbury, DT1 3AZ. Saturday 7th December 10am -4pm. For those that don’t know, Poundbury is an extension to Dorchester, is built according to the principles of Prince Charles, on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.
There is some lovely modern architecture there with a brilliant Garden Centre offering fab food and the most amazing Christmas displays (two ladies staying visited three times in their week’s stay this winter). At the Buttermarket, there will be Crafts, Gifts, Food and a Santas Grotto. Postcode is: DT1 3AZ
Saturday 7th December – Christmas Dog parade. Well it wouldn’t be Lancombe if we didn’t include the doglets now would it?! Prizes up for grabs and running from 2-3pm in Brewery Square. DT1 1GH. Fleur will see you there…she’s quite competitive!
December 12th 7-9pm Christmas in Brewery Square another fabulous event, a Carol Evening with late night shopping and much more back in the wonderful County town of Dorchester.
Saturday 14th December – 12pm – 4pm Christmas at The Walled Gardens, Moreton, DT2 8RG.
The Walled Garden is a beautiful five-acre landscaped formal garden situated in Moreton, Dorset. The village is close to the historic market town of Dorchester and situated on the River Frome. Moreton has become well-known because of its association with T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia. T. E. Lawrence lived near to Moreton when he served at Bovington Camp and was later buried in Moreton Church Yard. Every year thousands of visitors are drawn to Moreton to visit his grave, which backs onto The Walled Garden.
Many people also visit the village to see the Church’s unique engraved glass windows by poet and artist Sir Laurence Whistler.
On this day, there is a Santa’s Grotto, live music, food & drink, crafts, Carol Singers and much more. Best of all, it’s FREE entry and Moreton is Dog Friendly too!!!!
Want a thrill? Well you need to go to the Christmas Fire Cracker on Saturday 14 December, 11am – 2pm
Weymouth Fire Station with SafeWise, Radipole Lane, DT4 0QF
It’s free entry again…we’re so generous in Dorset 😉!
Join the festive fun as crews from Weymouth Fire Station will focus on Christmas safety with live fire demonstrations.
You will also be able to experience the thrill of the popular Blue Light Run, a Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service driving simulator that gives children the excitement of being in a real fire engine under blue light conditions.
Santa will arrive in style and dish out gifts in his grotto whilst visitors explore a range of stalls and refreshments. Choirs will create a special Christmas atmosphere and majorettes perform amazing routines.
December 15th Chase the Pudding at Weymouth Pavillion, The Esplanade, DT4 8ED. Here at 11am you can chase the Christmas pudding! The winner receives a cash prize! 😊. There is an entrance fee of £15 but this does go to charity. It is a hilarious annual event in Weymouth. Children under 14 can chase an Elf.
Between Monday 16th – Fri 20th December Christmas at Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, Tout Hill, Longthorns, Wareham, BH20 6HH
Here you can take a fairy-lit buggy ride deep into the park and visit Santa in his grotto! Mulled wine, mince pies and a gift for each child will make it a truly magical experience for the whole family.
December 22nd is the Local Producers Market in Brewery Square from 11am – 4pm. Didn’t order one of our Christmas Hampers? There’s still time, but you can always stock up if you just want ‘this and that’, or just have a look around and a sniff.
…so the Lancombe offer? I hear you ask! Well, it would be rude not to start Christmas early with you, particularly as our December dates are filling up fast. So, all our Cottages and Lodges will be festively decorated with their own Christmas Trees early too!
That’s not all though, for any bookings for 4 nights or more (subject to availability and our Terms & Conditions) where you join us between 1st December – 20th December, you can sit in your own Christmas wonderland with no interruptions, but also and enjoy the Complimentary Mince Pies and Mulled Wine we have left in your cottage for you. So click on: www.lancombe.co.uk to see if we have your availability.
With love and Seasons Greetings
Caroline 😊 x
Here’s a little history before you get started. Debbie’s first book in this series ‘Summer at the Comfort Food Café’ was based on Debbie’s first holiday with her family (and dogs) at Lancombe in the summer of 2015, which (I’m delighted to say) was the first of many.
The book itself was so successful that it ran into a series of 5 further wonderful books. Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe won the Contemporary Romance of the Year title at the 2017 Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards in 2017.
These books are marvellous and after reading them, have resulted in many wonderful holidays for guests over the years, after ‘discovering’ our little piece of heaven in Dorset.
We felt it was only fair to share these wonderful books with you, so we now have all six of the books in the Games Room for you to borrow whilst you’re staying with us.
If you fancy a little taster, watch my video for the introduction in Debbie’s very own words.
So, book (pardon the pun) some time out for you, chill, put your feet up, and have a good read. It’s just one of the many things we offer at Lancombe to help you relax!
Take a walk on the wild side…it’s not really that wild here, but it is pretty amazing!
Well, the festivities have ended for another year, most of us are still trying to lose the remainder of how much we indulged. But don’t fear, we’ve some of the best walks in the UK, some will lose you that Christmas reminder in one go, and some will ease you gently back into it. But best of all you’ll be enjoying yourself so much, you won’t even notice that it’s good for you!
So, I thought I’d give you a little inspiration and share 5 of my top walks in Dorset.
Distance – 4 miles
Landscape – Fields, tracks, country lanes, steep zig, zag gravel path.
Dog Friendly – some road walking but all the stiles have dog gates.
Car Parking – Above the Gravel beach in Seatown. there is a charge.
Golden Cap is the obvious name for a high, flat topped hill of deep orange sandstone on the cliffs between Charmouth and Bridport. Golden Cap is the highest point on the South Coast at 627ft with views along the shore to the tip of Portland Bill in one direction and to Start Point in the other.
Eat & Drink – The Anchor Inn is on the beach at Seatown and has wonderful food and an interesting selection of wine and ales.
Worth Matravers to Corfe Castle
Distance – 9 miles.
Landscape – Fields, tracks and coastal paths
Dog friendly – but some stiles which can be challenging
Car Park – The car park is just North of Worth Matravers and has an honesty box.
Worth Matravers is a picturesque village of lichen-encrusted grey cottages, complete with Duck Pond. The nearby quarries have been worked for centuries and the local stone was used to build Salisbury Cathedral. Corfe Castle stands on a high mound and is the site of a ruined castle. Burial mounds around the common of Corfe Castle suggest that the area was occupied from 6000BC. The common also points to a later Celtic field system worked by the Durotriges tribe. Evidence suggests that the tribe co-existed with the Romans in a trading relationship following the Roman invasion c. 50AD.
The name “Corfe” is derived from the Saxon word, ceorfan, meaning to cut or carve, referring to the gap in the Purbeck hills where Corfe Castle is situated.
Eat & Drink: The Dog Friendly Square & Compass in Worth Matravers serves pasties with a range of real ale and home pressed ciders. There is also a small fossil museum in the pub.
Distance – 2.5 miles
Landscape – Steeply rolling cliffs beside the sea, and green inland.
Dog friendly – Excitable dogs need to be under strict control near cliff edges.
Parking – Pay & Display Car Park, which is signposted at Lulworth Cove.
Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are two of the best known features of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. Lulworth bay is an almost circular bay in the rolling line of cliffs that form Dorset’s Southern coast, which provides a secure anchorage for fishing boats, and a suntrap of safe water for bathers. Due to the Geology, Lulworth Cove earned World Heritage status in 2002.
Eroded by time and nature, Durdle Door is one of Dorset’s most photographed and iconic landmarks and is part of the Jurassic Coast. The coastline is of such international geological importance that it was designated England’s first natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001 and is now part of a family of natural wonders including America’s Grand Canyon and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The name Durdle is derived from an old English word ‘thirl’, which means to pierce, bore or drill.
As you look towards the sea, you will see Durdle Door beach on your right.
This short walk includes some uphill walking but the path is good and well graded.
Eat & Drink: Lulworth has tea rooms and hotels, but the Secret Garden welcomes dogs.
Cerne Abbas Giant
Distance – 2.2 miles
Landscape – Country paths and tracks, minor road (if heading to village)
Dog Friendly – A lovely walk to take dogs.
Parking – Cerne Abbas Picnic area.
Starting at the Cerne Abbas picnic area car park this circular walk follows a footpath to the Benedictine Cerne Abbey, then through the Cemetery and up the south east side of the Cerne Abbas Giant Hill. It returns down the north west side of the hill and passes the Giant before returning to the car park. There are excellent views of the Dorset downlands and the Cerne Valley from both sides of the hill. The Cerne Abbas Giant is world famous and it’s origin is the subject of much speculation.
Eat & Drink: Combine your walk with the lovely Cerne Abbas village and treat yourself to a refreshment in one of the four welcoming dog friendly pubs.
Distance – 3.5 miles
Landscape – Grassy paths and tracks, level cliff tops and abandoned quarries.
Dog Friendly – beware of unfenced cliffs
Landscape – Grassy paths and tracks, level cliff tops and abandoned quarries.
Parking – By roadside in the centre of Southwell village, at road junction by Eight Kings Pub.
Starting from the car park near the Portland Bill lighthouse, this 3.5 mile walk is easy with few stretches of ascent and descent. It is a great way to see the fascinating landscape of Portland Bill associated with quarrying. The Portland Race led to many ships being wrecked over the centuries, and the towers of three lighthouses can still be seen here. This is a birdwatcher’s paradise, particularly during spring and autumn migration.
Eat & Drink – The Lobster Pot Café & Restaurant at Portland Bill, does an amazing Crab sandwich and is perfectly situated for taking in the wonderful view.
Finally and last but not least, we are very fortunate at Lancombe to be situated on the Wessex Ridgeway, so you don’t even need to get in the car to enjoy a wonderful and peaceful countryside walk.
Well, it’s nearly here again and where better to spend Christmas than in Dorset?!
As ever, I have compiled a list of some of my favourites, so you can make the most of all the fun, arts and pantos, beautiful Dorset has to offer:
Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair
When: 24th & 25th November.
Where: Athelhampton House
About: This is a wonderful event to get you in the Christmas spirit, showcasing Dorset’s produce
Stir up Sunday
When: 25th November, *10am – 3pm.
Entry Price: £5 for course and additional charge for ingredients, depending on size of pudding
Where: Bakehouse Attic, Town Mill, Lyme Regis, DT7 3PU
About: Make your very own Christmas Puddings and Biscuits.
Contact: Call Jane on: 01460 221698
Christmas Time at Brewery Square
When: 24th November 2018 from 5pm
About: A host of events lined up including Skating in the Square, live music, performances, lights, illuminations and more.
Meet Santa and Santa’s Reindeer at Brewery Square
When: 24th December 2018 from 12noon until 2pm
About: Rudolph and Blitzen are coming back to Brewery Square. They will also be joined by the man himself
Dorchester Christmas Cracker
When: Thursday 6th December 2018
About: A magical Christmas treat for all the family. For the full Dorchester Christmas Cracker event details, please head to > http://www.dorchesterchamber.co.uk/dorchester-christmas-cracker/
Brewery Square Presents…
When: Thursday 20th December 2018 From 5pm
About: Christmas Movies and Christmas songs, there is a host of exciting events lined up!
Skating In The Square
When: From November 2018 until early January 2019
Where: Brewery Square, Dorchester
About: Visitors can get their skates on and enjoy the rink in the Square.
Contact: Tickets can be booked at www.skatinginthesquare.co.uk from November 2018.
This year, families can also write letters to Father Christmas at Brewery Square.
Forms will be available from Skating In The Square for Children to write a personalised letter to Father Christmas. Simply write your letter, and post this back through our Brewery Square Mail post box, also located at Skating In The Square*.
Closes: Sunday 23rd December 2018
* Available during Skating In The Square open hours only. Please see their website for opening hours.
Santa Specials: Swanage Railway
When: 1st – 24th December
Where: Swanage Railway, Swanage Station
About: Enjoy a steam train ride and meet Father Christmas on board his special train. All- inclusive tickets with a present for every child and seasonal refreshments for adults. Advance booking essential. Our programme of Christmas festivities includes Carol Trains, Christmas luncheons and a special Christmas Belle in our luxurious Pullman Observation Car.
Contact: https://www.swanagerailway.co.uk/ or call: 01929 425800
Christmas at Haynes
When: 1st – 23rd December
Where: Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Yeovil
About: Whilst getting ready for Christmas Santa’s reindeer have gone missing and rumour has it that they are hiding in the Museum. Help Santa by finding the missing reindeer and win a present from Father Christmas’ festive lucky-dip-bin
Vintage Christmas at the Tank Museum
When: 1st – 2nd December
Where: The Tank Museum, Bovington
About: ‘Vintage Christmas’ brings fantastic entertainment, an incredible festive market and historical education in a unique setting. Learn more about what life was like at Christmas time from the 1920’s to the Post War era, with themed crafts and activities. There will also be living history reenactors around the Museum to help take you back in time. Don’t miss… See Father Christmas arrive by tank on both days
Twelve Days of Christmas Castle Quest
When: From 1st December 2018 – 6th January 2019
Where: Corfe Castle
About: Search for the shields hidden in the castle ruins and have fun with the activities to complete the Christmas-themed family castle quest.
Chase the Pudding Santa Run
When: 16th December 11am
Where: Weymouth Beach
About: Get yourself ready for this years 5k Santa. Hundreds of Santas chasing the lonely Christmas pudding down the beach in what can only be described as ”The best thing YULE see this Christmas”
Magical Father Christmas at Farmer Palmer’s
When: 1st – 23rd December
Where: Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park, Poole
About: Make magical memories with your little ones meeting Father Christmas in his wonderful winter cabin at Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park. Extra charge for Santa tickets in addition to normal admission. See website for dates and details. Please let us know you saw us on What’s On in Dorset!
Great Reindeer Hunt
When: 18th November 2018 – 6th January 2019
Where: The Teddy Bear Museum, Dorchester
About: Help Santa find his missing Reindeer in Edward Bear’s house this Christmas and receive a free Bear worth £5.99
The Little Match Girl
When: 20th December
Where: Dorchester Arts Centre, Dorchester
About: A family show for Christmas inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s traditional tale.
‘Walking in the air’ and Buble performance
When: 20th December from 5pm
Where: Brewery Square, Dorchester
About: Free screenings of The Snowman & The Snowman and Snow Dog plus Michael Buble Act with Freddie Jenkins.
It’s A Wonderful Life
When: 22nd December from 6pm
Where: Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
About: A free screening! A classic Christmas film. Warning: A chance of tears!
Contact: 01297 442138
PANTOMIMES – OH YES IT IS!
Dick Whittington Christmas Pantomime
When: From 15th December 2018 – 5th January 2019
Where: Weymouth Pavilion, Weymouth
…and last, but by no means the least…
When: Sunday 9th and Sunday 16th December at 10am
Where: Groves Nursery, Bridport
About: Santa will be returning to see your four legged friends. Tickets are £2.50, of which all goes to Guide Dogs for the Blind. Each lucky doggie will get a doggie bag to take home