Summer Lodge Country House Hotel is a fine Georgian listed house in the picturesque village of Evershot, West Dorset. The privately owned Relais & Châteaux country house hotel is set in 4 acres, offers facilities such as croquet lawn, heated indoor pool, all-weather tennis court, spa facilities and an award-winning Restaurant. The hotel adjoins a 600 acre deer park offering excellent walking and an abundance of wildlife and flowers throughout the year.
Built in 1798 as a dower house by the 2nd Earl of Ilchester, the property was enlarged in 1893 with a second floor added by the 6th Earl who commissioned his friend and local author, Thomas Hardy, (an architect by profession) to draw up the plans. The house was further modernised in 1932 by the last Earl to live in Dorset, when as Lord Stavordale, he brought his bride to live at Summer Lodge.
When Margaret and Nigel Corbett purchased the property in 1979, they became only the second owners in nearly two centuries. At that time, the 12 bedroomed property with dilapidated outbuildings, had been empty for 3 years. Within 7 weeks, they had converted Summer Lodge into a hotel and their private home - with eight bedrooms. The first guests paid £10.50 for dinner, bed and breakfast.
In 1988, the stables and coach house were converted into bedrooms and an all-weather tennis court and heated pool were added. In 1991, the Dining Room was enlarged and remodelled to complement the Thomas Hardy designed Drawing Room with its full length sash windows. The hotel became a member of Relais & Chateaux.
In 2003 the hotel came under new ownership with a complete refurbishment in order and is now receiving guests from all over who continually comment on its magnificence.
One of the most fascinating aspects of history is literally walking in the steps of giants. Standing in Churchill’s viewing spot at Studland bay, walking through Capability Brown garden in Sherborne or enjoying the same view as Lawrence of Arabia. This is just a small selection of what Dorset has to offer to immerse yourself in the rich fullness of living history.
- New Road, Sherborne DT9 5NR
The castle passed to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1592 but a new house was built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 after attempts to modernise the original castle failed. This is where Sir Walter was when he received news of the invading Spanish Armada. Sir Walter’s ship the ‘Ark Ralegh’ was renamed the ‘Ark Royal’ and became the flagship for the English Navy.
The original castle was demolished during a siege in the civil war and the new Tudor house was subsequently dubbed ‘Sherborne Castle’. Capability Brown designed the gardens in 1753 as one of his earliest garden designs in his long and illustrious career.
12.2 miles | 24 minutes from Summer Lodge via A37
T: +44 (0) 1935 812072
- 3 Abbey Cl, Sherborne, DT9 3LQ
Founded by St. Aldhelm in AD 705, the Abbey has developed from Saxon cathedral to the worshipping heart of a monastic community, and finally, to one of the most beautiful of England’s parish churches. For many it is still the ‘cathedral of Dorset’, and our Benedictine heritage lives on in the daily offering of prayer and praise.
13.2 miles | 23 minutes from Summer Lodge via A37
T: +44 (0) 1935 812452
- Winterborne Monkton, Dorchester DT2 9EY
This is the largest and most famous pre-Roman fortress in Britain. Founded in 600BC it was further developed in 450BC to encompass 47 acres and a new series of defences of ramparts and ditches. The site was an important fortress to the Celts and later the Romans but fell into disuse by the 6 AD and has been used as agricultural land ever since. It remains an impressive sight especially when one remembers it was done completely by hand.
16.1 miles | 27 minutes from Summer Lodge via A37
T: +44 (0) 370 333 1181
- Dorset, Dorchester DT2 7AL
The Cerne Abbas Giant is a hill figure near the village of Cerne Abbas. Made by a turf-cut outline filled with chalk, it depicts a large naked man and is typically described as a giant wielding a club.
The origin and age of the figure are unclear. It is often thought of as an ancient construction, though the earliest mention of it dates to the late 17th century. Early antiquarians associated it, on little evidence, with a Saxon deity, while other scholars sought to identify it with a Celtic British figure of the Greek Hercules or some amalgamation of the two. Archaeological evidence that parts of the drawing have been lost over time strengthens the Hercules identification. The lack of earlier descriptions leads some modern scholars to conclude that it probably dates from the 17th century, and perhaps originated as political satire.
Regardless of its age, the Cerne Abbas Giant has become an important part of local culture and I folklore, which often associates it with fertility and it is one of England's best known hill figures.
8.3 miles | 16 minutes from Summer Lodge via A37
T: +44 (0) 1297 489481
- King George V Road, Bovington, BH20 7NQ
T.E. Lawrence started renting Clouds Hill while stationed at nearby Bovington camp. He used his Dorset hideaway to escape his recently found fame following his exploits in the desert in World War 1.
Lawrence famously slept in a sleeping bag marked ‘mine’ in Latin and had a guest bag marked ’yours’ for visitors. Lawrence was tragically killed in 1935, aged 46, after a motorcycle accident.
24.1 miles | 37 minutes from Summer Lodge via A35
T: +44 (0) 1929 405616
- Wareham, BH20 5DE
Tyneham is a ghost village on the Isle of Purbeck. It remains and active parish and so is one of only 3 active parishes in the UK with a population of zero.
Notice was given to the villagers in November 1943 and the 225 residents had 28 days to pack their belongings and vacate their houses. The army had commandeered the land to use as a training area for the D-Day landings. The residents fully expected to return to their homes after the war but it was never to be. Today is a naval firing range but access is allowed to the public when not in use. It stands as an eerie reminder of sacrifice in a bygone age.
34.2 miles | 58 minutes from Summer Lodge via A37 and A352
- Fort Henry, S W Coast Path, Studland, Swanage BH19 3AX
Fort Henry is a World War Two observation bunker overlooking Studland bay. It was built to defend the bay in 1943 from possible German invasion along with other beach defences such as gun emplacements, type 25 pill boxes and concrete Dragons Teeth anti-tank obstacles.
Winston Churchill came to Studland to watch rehearsals for the D-Day Landings and was accompanied by King George the IV, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander, and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
40.8 miles | 64 minutes from Summer Lodge via A35