8 May 2011

Two have Fun in Dorset - A Top List *and* a Photo Essay

So this post has been a little bit delayed due to the sad news I had on Friday, and then yesterday just being crazy-ass busy (mainly playing with a puppy + going to a house party I hasten to add). Anyway as you know, after the Easter weekend husbando and I went down to Dorset for a week of rock climbing, hiking (him) and sleeping and eating (me). We managed to combine both without having a huge amount of rows which I consider a huge achievement given that I believe that the definition of compromise means "when neither of you are happy".  

Here beginneth the list....

For those of you who don't know where Dorset is, it's in South West England. Go past London, Surrey and Hampshire. If you get to Devon you've gone too far. You could just look it up on Google maps. We went to a little island called Portland. It's not technically an island as it's connected to the mainland (Weymouth) by a famous spit of land called Chesil beach which is part of the Jurassic coast *and* a world heritage site. You can see some nerdy interesting info about it here. Anyway Portland is basically a gigantic bit of limestone that rises out of the sea and hence is quite good for rock climbing. Here are some photos of the view....

There are, surprisingly, for such a titchy place, lots of places to stay on Portland. However at the recommendation of husbando's friend we stayed a very incredibly wonderfully lovely B+B called Queen Anne House. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 
The house is GORGEOUS. The garden is GORGEOUS. The rooms are GORGEOUS. The food is DELISH (full cooked english every morning with perfect poached eggs). The baths are huge and lovely (I'm tall, this is important). Oh and it's very romantic too. And they have cats which are not allowed in the rooms but you can play with in the garden, they are very talkative and purr-y and cuddly. 
Finally Margaret, who owns the place is absolutely the hostess with the mostess. Nothing was too much trouble plus she was uber-cool and stylish. We will be going back for sure. I watched the Royal Wedding with Margaret too :) And here is a picture of the place...

(copyright © 2010, Designed by: Daniel Longhurst Design queen anne house)

So, as I mentioned, Portland's kinda small. There's not a huge range of place to eat. There's 3 pubs I think, in the main bit of town. Plus a posh place, and indian and a chippie. Oh there's also a supermarket, a Boots (drugstore) and a Post Office - and a library. We tended to skip lunch - we'd have a big fry up for brekky. Eat chocklit when we were out climbing and then come home RAVENOUS. 
I think most nights we ate at The Cove House Inn which does the usual pub fare. However their specials (which usually involve fresh fish) are *awesome*. It's a lovely pub and it also sells alchoholic ginger beer. Which made me very happy :P
We also tried the local curry house - Balti Island - which was great food but really not nearly spicy enough! Although the service was a little erratic. Perhaps we came on a bad night. However the meat/chicken was incredibly succulent (love that word).
The chippie is also good - just over the road from the Co-Op - the fish is soooooo fresh and the batter is lovely and light too. Not too greasy. Unfortunately I've forgotten the name of the place.
Finally we went to The Bluefish Cafe + Restaurant. Four words for you - you need to book! Food was awesome, service was awesome, beautiful decor - little bit pricey (london prices) but worth it for the last night of your hols!

See I know, you wanna know about the climbing don't you. Well it was lots of fun actually. The weather was beautiful which meant that we could walk into the crag (climbing word for bit of rock) every day - i got sun burnt too, so take sun cream for sure. We mainly climbed around Blacknor (South, North and Central) as well as a bit call Battleship (which I renamed Battlestar Galactica). It was a bit of a scramble to get to some of the climbs:

And here are some pictures of me *actually* climbing. Scuse the sweatiness/bad hair/big ass....

Portland's really not that big. I may have mentioned this before. One thing that is fun to do is go for a walk along Chesil Beach and try not to be scared of the seagulls and also look for fossils. Alternatively there is a beautiful coast path around the circumference of Portland. I recommend walking to the tip of the island - Portland Bill. Along the way you will get fabby views of the whole of Chesil Beach as well as most of the Jurassic coast line and acros as far as Devon (see first pics on the post). When you get to Portland Bill there is a big lighthouse....

Gorgeous views of the ocean

But most importantly you can indulge in a cream tea at the cafe/restaurant `The Lobster Pot`

The walk is about 1hr - 1hr 30 and is a pleasant stroll in the sunshine (my friend did it in flip flops) the path is not tarmacked so if you've a push-chair/wheelchair it might not be suitable. It's about 6miles return (3 there 3 back).

Weymouth is the big seaside town on the mainland opposite Portland. It has such cultural delights as a WHSmiths and Debenhams and a cinema.Which compared to Portland makes it a total metropolis! The day we went was the day of the shoulder/muscle spasm debacle. It was hot + sunny so we mooched around on the beach, had a cream tea (natch) and I found a lovely shop called Bibi's which sells lovely pretty girl types clothes, jewellery and other trinkets. It's on St Albans's street in the pedestrianised bit so worth a visit if you're there.

In terms of booze, we went to a lovely pub called The Clipper. Fab food, free wifi, comfy seats, huge (lots of seating, reasonable prices, kids menu -  what more can you ask for. Definitely worth checking out, despite the prominence of the ad outside that they now stock purple WKD.

Okay big confession...neither me nor husbando can drive. We just never learned. My excuse is that I grew up in Zone 2 in London and thus take public transport everywhere. I'm not sure what husbando's excuse is though.....so anyway we don't drive and rely MASSIVELY on public transport. 
It was easy enough to get to Portland. Trains go from Waterloo every hour to Weymouth and take about 3 hours (stopping at every tiny town on gods earth though). You can then get a cab to Portland which is about £14.  
Once you're on Portland the No.1 bus is your friend. A return journey on the island is about £2.40 so if you get caught in the pissing rain walking back from Portland Bill (i've been drier in the shower) you can hop on the bus. 
You can also get the bus into Weymouth as it's way too far to walk. That's closer to £4 each return. Worth it though. Plus the buses are around every 10 mins which is pretty good even by London standards.

So that's it - my mini-guide + review of Portland. I know i cheated as it wasn't a Top 10 so much as a Top 7 *but* I did put lots of pictures in for you. If you have any questions just comment below lovelies!

I'll be back in the week with a book review, Guide to publishing for newbies pt 2, WoTW, an interview, picture essay and....my Top 10 Favourite Words (some are made up)

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

PS Thanks for all your support re:Friday's sad post. I am co-ordinating a memory book for the family which is a nice positive thing to do I think.


  1. Lovely blog post - looks like fun was had :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your vaca with us. It looks like a lovely bit of real estate, and from your description, I feel almost as if I've been there too.

  3. Bluefish for breakfast too hmmmmm luvely. Nice blog.

  4. Great blog post! Off to Weymouth on Saturday so it's great to read :)

  5. MY KIND OF POST! I COULD READ BOUT SHORE TOWNS FOREVER. THEY ARE THE BEST! CILILIZED AMMENITIES YET SMALL TOWN COMFORT, plus fresh air and walkable environs. Is that near where they fimed The French Leutentant's (sorry) Woman? Was that Lyme Regis? Rock climbing looked dangerous. Was there a safety line? Dont't DO IT without a safety line...EVER! Some shots of climbing spots reminded me of the film 127 HRS, which I opted out on. Too intense. I'm waiting for the musical. Post gave everybody a shot of summeritis. THANKS!

  6. Nice pics! Well done on getting up the outdoor climbs. Looks like a lovely trip, apart from the shoulder/muscle spasm debacle - hope that's getting better.