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Muddy Stilettos guide to visiting our Dorset patch

Top 10 things to do within 30 minutes of THE PIG-on the beach

00 Shell Bay Sunset (1)

This way to THE PIG-on the beach and Dorset’s social riches. Enjoy Lawrence of Arabia’s rural retreat, sea foraging, the iconic Durdle Door and more. Here’s Muddy Stilettos top tips to make the most of your stay with us.

Fossils and clifftop folly at Kimmeridge

22 mins by car

See the fossilised remains of sea monsters, prehistoric predators and marine flora and fauna, all found by Dr Steve Etches in the Kimmeridge Clay, and on display in The Etches Collection. Walk up the steep path to the folly Clavell Tower for spectacular views of the Dorset coastline. Reward yourself with fresh Kimmeridge lobster, crab and fish & chips from the pop up cafe Boat on the Bay.

Seafood sunsets at Shell Bay

8 mins by car, 56 min walk

Not the Med, that’s Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island and Sandbanks you’re looking at. On the menu at the Shell Bay seafood restaurant and bistro just minutes away from The Pig-on the Beach: modern and classic local seafood dishes, an unpretentious vibe and superb views. Get a table on the terrace if you can, as the sun goes down.

Island hop to Brownsea Island

13 mins by car

Take the ferry from Poole Quay across to the National Trust-managed island, with its variety of habitats – woodland, heathland and a lagoon – and wealth of wildlife. It’s one of the very few places in the UK that you might spot a rare red squirrel. Every the summer, the Brownsea Open Air Theatre company performs Shakespeare al fresco here – Romeo & Juliet will be performed from 26 Jul to 11 Aug if you’re visiting then.

Get wet, muddy at Dorset Adventure Park

11 mins by car

Why let the kids have all the fun. Bounce around on giant floating obstacle courses on two lakes with the ruins of Corfe Castle as the backdrop. There’s a 2km mud course with over 50 obstacles on the 18-acre site too, if you want to get really, really dirty.

Visit Cloud’s Hill – Lawrence of Arabia’s retreat

24 mins by car

T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) used the cottage – now owned by the National Trust – to relax, read, write and spend time with friends, including E.M Forster and Thomas Hardy, in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s an eccentric little place, kept much as it was when he was here, with a ship’s cabin bed he made himself, metal foil covered walls (for insulation), a ship’s porthole and some of his personal possessions, including a gramophone with an oversized horn. Fascinating stuff.

Sea foraging in a kayak

2 mins by car, 4 min walk

Grab a kayak from Fore Adventure and weave in and out of sea stacks, into caves and under arches along the Dorset coast, including Old Harry Rocks near Swanage, foraging (for edible seaweeds, shrimps and crabs) and kayak fishing from their base on the Studland shore.

Sup Dorset ciders in a traditional pub

18 mins by car, 2hr walk

Work up an appetite on a bracing 6-mile walk with sea views, old quarries and grassland, taking in the dramatic Dancing Ledge, Secombe Ledge and the village of Worth Matravers, where you can enjoy home-pressed ciders, ales, homemade pasties and pies at The Square & Compass, before heading back. Or you could just go straight to the pub.

Tyneham: the land that time forgot

18 mins by car

A few miles further on from Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove (but without the hoards) is the sweeping circular Worbarrow Bay (BH20 5DE), not far from Wareham to Tyneham. The beach is only accessible when the army’s Lulworth Ranges are closed and reached via a footpath from the free car park at the fascinating ghost village of Tyneham, whose residents left their homes in 1943.

All aboard Swanage Railway

10 mins by car

Take a ride on a steam train from the blue flag beach seaside resort of Swanage to Corfe Castle and back again. The dramatic 1000-year-old castle, partially destroyed during the English Civil War in 1646 and now part of the National Trust, has arrow slits, murder holes and great views of the surrounding Isle of Purbeck. There’s a miniature version of the castle and village nearby, and a couple of nice pubs.

Don’t miss the iconic Durdle Door

30+ mins by car

At 34 mins, it’s just over the half an hour, but Dorset’s most iconic attraction, a natural limestone arch formed by the sea around 140 million years ago, is a must-see. The picture-postcard, almost circular, Lulworth Cove is right next door and a fossil forest close by. This part of the Jurassic coast is part of the Lulworth Estate; you can park at the top and walk down a steep path to the pebbly beaches below.

All content is thanks to Muddy Stilettos.

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