Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant & Spa is close to many stunning beaches and coastal areas providing uninterrupted landscapes of natural beauty to explore.
Studland Bay offers 3 miles of beautiful sandy beaches in the unspoilt surroundings of Studland Nature Reserve, a 3200 hectare area of heath land which is a haven for rare birds. The bay’s four main beaches include a National Trustvisitor centre and a water sport equipment hire shop, both on Knoll Beach. Studland Bay is also home to Britain’s most popular naturist beach, which is located between Knoll Beach and Shell Bay. Whilst in the area, pop into theSquare and Compass Pub in nearby Worth Matravers. You might also like to try some horse-riding at Studland Stables, for rides on the beach, in the forest, on the heath and along the coastal ridge – spectacular views!
Distance: 42 miles | Journey Time: 1hr 10 minutes
This is the place for water sports: scuba diving, kite surfing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing. It will also become home to the London 2012 Olympic sailing events, hosted by the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, which also offers sailing lessons for all levels of ability. Recommended dining options with fantastic food and million dollar views include The Crab House Café, Café Oasis, and Quiddles.
Distance: 26 miles | Journey Time: 45 minutes
This near-perfect semi-circular beach, having been carved out of the cliffs by the power of the sea, offers safe bathing in the sheltered bay, rock pools at low tide and endless diversions for the geologically inclined. From Lulworth Cove there is a popular 2km walk along the cliffs to the equally impressive Durdle Door, a natural arch of limestone rock that overlooks the cove.
Distance: 28 miles | Journey Time: 45 minutes
Chesil Beach is an 18 mile shingle spit reaching from Portland Bill to Abbotsbury, wonderful for walking and bird watching, and a popular centre for windsurfing. Whilst in the area, visit the Hive Beach Café at nearby Burton Bradstock or the River Cafe in West Bay where much of the crime series Broadchurch was filmed.
Distance: 21 miles | Journey Time: 43 minutes
Weymouth’s status as a seaside resort was established over 200 years ago when King George III visited to ‘take the waters’. However, a fact that is likely to be of more interest to the kids, is that Weymouth’s sand is renowned for being particularly suited to sand sculpture and, more importantly, sandcastle building. Second Wind, a water sports company offers Jurassic kayak tours, coasteering (jumping/swimming/climbing and rock-hopping on a variety of natural routes), windsurfing tuition, Jurassic paddle-boarding, Weymouth sailing, and kite-surfing.
Distance: 22 miles | Journey Time: 35 minutes
Ideal for families and perfect for swimmers, Burton Bradstock has ample parking and is easily accessible from neighbouring Bridport. Wonderful cliff top walks can be taken from both ends of the beach. Whilst in this area, you might like to visit Whitchurch Canonicorum, where you will find the only saint’s relics in England in a parish church, as well as the burial place of Georgi Markov, the Bulgarian dissident, assassinated on Waterloo Bridge in 1978 by a KGB agent. Also buried here is Sir George Somers, (the real-life shipwreck who inspired Shakespeare to write the ‘Tempest’) colonizer of the American state of Virginia and the Caribbean island of Bermuda. The famous ‘Hive Beach Café is right on the beach and with a large outdoor eating area, you can take dogs and keep an eye on the kids as they play.
Distance: 16 miles | Journey Time: 30 minutes
Great for exploring wildlife and geology along the Heritage Coast, with marine centre run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust. The sheltered bay allows swimming, diving and picnicking.
Distance: 40 miles | Journey Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
A pebbly beach with views of Golden Cap, the south coast’s loftiest cliff, and good fossil-hunting potential. Lunch atThe Anchor Inn - a chocolate-box pub right on the beach under Golden Cap. Ideal for children who want to explore under the watchful eyes of their parents - it has a large outdoor dining area.
Distance: 18 miles | Journey Time: 35 minutes