Travel - The Pig on The Beach, Studland - {An anniversary getaway in Dorset} ♥

July 14, 2015

For our first wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, Ben and I packed our bags and drove down to Dorset for a couple of days. We had booked two nights at The Pig on The Beach Hotel in Studland after our fab stay at the Pig near Bath last September. We were super lucky with the weather and caught the end of the heatwave, it was 30 degrees on the first day! A little travelogue - complete with, you guessed it, lots of photos if you fancy a read.

We got up early {5.30am early} so that we could beat the dreaded m25 traffic, it meant that we got down to Durdle Door before 8am which was amazing. It reminded us of this day out a couple of years back. The English coastline is incredible, living in Hertfordshire we're so inland and so I love any opportunity to drive to the beach. I need vitamin sea!

We walked from Lulworth Cove round the cliffs to the beach at Durdle Door looking over fields one way and the sea the other side with pretty wild flowers everywhere.

After a wander on the beach we walked back and found the cutest thatched cottages around Lulworth Village. Heart eye emoji necessary😍.

I can't decide which one I prefer more, the white washed one near the sea - called Cove Cottage or the one with the yellow rose to match the front door. Both gorgeous, can you imagine living there?!

After stopping for some mid morning snacks - the little Londis in Lulworth has locally baked cakes! We headed around the coast to Swanage, I'd never been before but Ben went a lot when he was growing up. 

It was a perfect little traditional seaside town with a sandy beach with deck chairs, beach huts, the Jurassic cliffs and boats.

I love anything nautical. I think in a past life I must have lived by the sea or something. 

The water was so still and calm and heavenly to be near with the hot weather, we were glad to escape London/Hertfordshire with the heatwave.

We walked slowly around the town working our way around the bay, stopping at each little bit of beach and had a browse around a few of the shops before we found somewhere for lunch - seafood right next to the sea at Gee Whites. We shared a crab salad and a tuna steak with ratatouille - yummm and always so nice to eat alfresco.

If you walk back around the other side of the bay you reach the beach huts - a mix of stripes, some brights and traditional pastels. They're not Wells Next The Sea standard but cute nonetheless. 

From Swanage it was on to Studland where we were staying, just driving in Dorset is beautiful with country lanes and miles of fields. 

We remembered from our day trip before how beautiful Studland was, one of those - you can't believe you're in England - kind of places. White sand, the clearest blue sea and yachts sailing by. The Ferry Road goes from Swanage to the ferry across to Sandbanks and you feel like you could be in America or somewhere with the coast on both sides of the road. 

Parking is free if you've got a National Trust membership or you can park on the road, Shell Bay is my very favourite part of Dorset and on a hot day you don't need to be anywhere else.

I loved the red phone box against the beach. 

We had a while until we could check in at The Pig so made the most of relaxing on the beach, tired from the sunshine and getting up early. There's something so nice about taking your shoes off and having sandy toes. 

We had loved the Pig Near Bath but had heard even better things about the Pig on the Beach which opened last summer, it won the Sunday Times Hotel of The Year {some accolade} and has pretty much been fully booked ever since. We booked this trip before Christmas and couldn't get a weekend - we had to stay on a Wednesday and Thursday night. So if you're planning to go, at least in summer, then book way ahead of time.

Sometimes I fear that I look forward to things so much that they can never live up to expectations - this though, exceeded them. It was everything that we loved from the one near bath - the country house style hotel without the ponce, vintage reclaimed wooden floors everywhere, roll top baths, grand while being relaxed, the incredible breakfast buffet, the kitchen garden etc - but overlooking the sea! What could be better in the summer?

We had a Generous room with one of the best views in the house, a large four poster bed {that was heaven to sleep in} and a roll-top bath at the foot of the bed. I think you'll gather by the name of this blog that I have a thing for roll tops. It had the highest ceilings and grand wooden panelling when we walked in with a mirrored wall and entrance hall. There was a separate toilet one side of the room and a shower room the other side, talk about luxury.

It was styled to perfection and I could have quite happily moved in. 

Having an allotment at home we loved wandering around the large walled kitchen garden and greenhouses - the focal point for the chain of hotels. They describe themselves as a restaurant with rooms and nearly everything is sourced from within 25 miles. Definitely a lot of inspiration to take home with herbs and plants in old terracotta pots decorating every corner, old wooden crates etc. Just up our street!


Ice cream anyone?!

The gardens are perfect in the summer with a huge lawn overlooking the sea, with giant loungers reserved for residents, an outdoor bar, wood fired pizza oven and cold minty water. 

The fields/gardens lead out to the coastal path which we loved. Turn left and you reach Middle Beach, right to another beach and beyond to Swanage. We had a walk before dinner as it started to cool down - 30 degrees in England is crazy!


As well as the main restaurant you can order lunch/dinner in the gardens and have flatbreads or salads. We ordered a couple of flatbreads to share, one with smoked salmon and one with parma ham and garden chillis. I could so eat them again now...


.. before relaxing on the loungers with magazines. Hotels always have the best selections. 

The next morning was grey and drizzly, a huge difference to the day before! But with the huge selection of Hunter's to choose from you almost wish for a little rain.. 

After a lay in and a yummy breakfast {scroll down for breakfast pics} we decided to walk around the headland to Swanage past Old Harry's Rocks. It was about 4 miles but a beautiful walk.

We bought some supplies for lunch from the supermarket and caught the bus back to Studland feeling very damp and sticky by this point - I hate humid rain in summer where it's too hot to wear a coat.

We snuggled up and watched Murray's match with a picnic lunch in bed.

After Wimbledon finished, miraculously the sun came out and it was like the rain had never been around. 

We broke away from our cabin fever by getting some fresh air on the loungers under the bluest skies and had a walk before getting ready for dinner that evening. 

The coast and countryside <3 <3 <3.

We got ready for the evening and had a couple of drinks in the garden before dinner. We spent most of our time outside at The Pig but the lounges and bar area inside was super cosy and would be heavenly in the winter by the fire.

In true Pig fashion you order drinks or bar snacks from menus inside National Trust books - Pig Keeping naturally!

There's an extensive cocktail menu that looked so pretty with the edible flowers sprinkled on top.

We ordered some 'piggy' bits too, scotch eggs like no scotch eggs we've had before, and fish fingers with homemade ketchup.

Dinner was in the Potting Shed {with the coolest floor #ihavethisthingwithfloors}, and after our meal at the Pig near Bath we knew it would be good! 

I had a ham hock and broad bean tagliatelle for a starter, summer porky heaven in a bowl. Ben had smoked salmon, then for mains I had turbot with a crispy courgette flower and black pudding jus with candied beets. And Ben had pork shoulder with chips served in a flower pot. 

Cheers to one year of marriage! And many many more to come. Because of the availability of the Pig we had our special dinner the night before the actual anniversary, I'm all for extending celebrations so it worked out well.

A flourless chocolate brownie and cherries for pud which was deelish. 

It was the most beautiful evening so we decided to go for a walk along the beach after dinner.

and practically had it to ourselves! The only annoying thing about Studland is that you don't get the sunsetting over the water because of it's position on the coast but it was still beautiful.

and then we caught the sun across the fields opposite the Pig on our walk back.

We re-watched our wedding video when we got back to our room, just as the sun set, and I cried happy happy tears and felt so grateful for life and love.

On Friday 3rd July, our first wedding anniversary we woke up to sunshine flooding the room and opened cards and presents in bed. 

We just gave each other token presents sticking to the old tradition of paper. Ben got me a vintage red heart framed playing card, to match our B and R that sit in our lounge, and I printed him some wedding photos in polaroid form.

My lovely friend Sam made us a picture out of a folded wedding reading - Captain Corelli's Mandolin - and shaped it into a dress and suit. I loved it so much, so thoughtful and perfect.

Breakfast at The Pig is probably even better than lunch and dinner combined. A huge table full of fruit, pastries, cereals, home made granola, toast, muffins, eggs, yogurts, honey etc you name it. The very best and all local. We started with poached fruit each day mixed in with some granola and yogurt before eggs {that you boil yourself with a little egg timer} and then a naughty but nice pain au chocolat and strawberries. Breakfast isn't included in the room rate, it's £10 each or £15 for a cooked menu but soo worth it. We stuck with the buffet both days, feeling stuffed enough without needing anything extra.


Such a treat to eat breakfast looking over the sea!

The hotel itself was built a couple of hundred years ago by a rich baron as a second home by the sea for his wife, he wanted it to look like a sandcastle - hence the yellow and all the turrets! I love stories like that. The Pig have carefully modernised it whilst keeping all the original beams and quirky features.

After breakfast, keen to make the most of the weather before we had to head back, we went for a walk along the coast path to see Old Harry's Rocks in the sunshine. The walk is ridiculously beautiful with rolling hills and countryside on one side and the sea to your left and straight on. 

The water was so stunningly clear by the base of the cliffs, I wanted to swim! 

There were wild flowers at the edge of the cliffs and boats going past all the time, we just sat in the sunshine for a while and soaked it all up. 

Old Harry's Rocks are the bits sticking out of the sea, formed over millions of years. I used to be a geography student aka geek! There are warnings to stay away from the edge of the cliffs though as they are fragile and could collapse.

There's really nothing better than being by the coast on a hot day like that. After a while we walked back via the cow parsley lined paths until we got to the beach below the Pig.

And then it was time to check out and pack up the car, sad face indeed! We chose to head back late morning as we had tickets for the Hampton Court Flower Show on the way home with entrance at 3 and took the scenic route home along the Ferry road past Shell Bay again {and had a quick wander along the beach whilst waiting for the car ferry crossing} and meandered through Sandbanks {aka some of the most expensive property in the UK!} before getting on the M3 and heading back up to London.

Dorset is incredible in the summer, we had such an amazing couple of days down there. I can't recommend the Pig Hotels highly enough, I'd say that the one near Bath is more suited to the Autumn/Winter months but this little piggy on the beach is incredible in the summer.

I don't think we'll make as bigger deal as every anniversary but we felt the first one deserved to be special, and it certainly was. England in the summer time really is the best.

You can find more about The Pig on the Beach here.
And our stay at The Pig Near Bath here.
Our previous day trip to Dorset here.

R <3 xx

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