No matter the season, Dorset offers a compelling diversity of sights and experiences. Its spectacular Jurassic coastline, rolling farmlands and swathes of ancient forests are dramatically stark during winter and infused with a sparkling light come the summer. Each month brings its own special highlights, and Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa is the ideal base from which to enjoy it all. Here, we allow the calendar year to be our guide on what to do in Dorset each season.
What to do in Dorset in spring
With an abundance of freshly cultivated local produce and budding foliage, March to May are when to feast on Dorset’s exquisite regional delicacies. The Restaurant infuses its elegant, award-wining dishes with ingredients plucked straight from Summer Lodge’s kitchen gardens, and during spring there’s a veritable bounty to be enjoyed. Further afield, the region’s farmers’ markets are where to source all the essential Dorset produce for a country picnic—think oven-warm breads and pies, organic charcuterie and artisanal cheeses. Those with a hankering for something sweet won’t be disappointed either. Among Dorset’s gourmet specialties are sultana-flecked Easter biscuits and buttery Dorset dough cakes.
What to do in Dorset in summer
Summer is the season for venturing out on long country walks and enjoying balmy days at the beach. Whether it’s a relaxing paddle in the sea or a more exhilarating country pursuit, such as horse riding or hiking, there’s an activity to suit all paces in Dorset. Sporty types can set sail on a variety of aquatic adventures, from fly fishing to water skiing, scuba diving to surfing and windsurfing, in Weymouth, which is an easy half-hour drive from Evershot. Travelling en famille? An action-packed, murder mystery-themed walking trail around the coastal town keeps younger visitors entertained for hours.
What to do in Dorset in autumn
While summers in Dorset are defined by vivid, green landscapes set against sapphire skies, autumns are tinged with golds and bronzes. For those pondering what to do in Dorset during September and October, a seasonal kick through the fallen leaves at the beautiful 600-acre Melbury Estate and Deer Park makes for a remarkable autumnal stroll. Meanwhile, Kimmeridge Bay offers a picturesque, pebble-strewn beach, pitted with rock pools that hide a bounty of seaweeds and scuttling crabs. A great location for fossil hunting, keep an eye out for an ancient souvenir to take home with you.
What to do in Dorset in winter
Prepare to fall under the spell of Dorset’s enchanting villages and cosy pubs when cooler climes arrive. Evershot is a quintessential chocolate-box English village, especially as Christmas approaches. Its pretty thatched cottages and olde-worlde boutiques featured in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, loosely cloaked under the name Evershed. Escape the cold and retreat into Summer Lodge, where a personalised wine getaway awaits. Alternatively, beer connoisseurs can look forward to a delightful tasting evening with Master Beer Sommelier Fiona Smith, and Jacobean manor Newton House invites gin enthusiasts to try its small-batch, hand-crafted gin, which is distilled, bottled and labelled in Somerset.
For easy access to all of Dorset’s top seasonal highlights, stay at Red Carnation Hotels’ Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa.