Surprise Trip

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April 28th 2017
Published: August 13th 2020
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After our first getaway a couple of weeks ago in Shropshire I was eager to go away again with Fiona. We have discussed travelling a lot and its apparent that Fiona had done some travelling but not as much as she would have liked. I decided to do a surprise trip somewhere and book a B&B for a couple of nights. I really wanted us to stay at a nice B&B in a rural part of Dorset but it was not possible due to a tight budget so a city like Bournemouth was the cheaper option and having a car to venture out to remote areas seemed a good game plan.

I pick up Fiona and she has no idea where we're going. She knows we're going away for a couple of nights and will be somewhere in UK. As we head down the motorways in the southern direction, Fiona tries to take some guesses as to where we might be going, but it's not until she sees the "Welcome to Dorset" sign that she has an idea where we might be staying.

We arrive in Dorset in the late morning and have a few hours until we can check in at the B&B so I decide not to waste time as really want to show Fiona a small village called Corfe Castle. This small village is named and built next to the ruins of Corfe Castle. It is believed this castle was originally created by wood back in the 10th century and then replaced by stone in the later 11th century by William the Conqueror and remained a royal castle for 600 hundred years until Queen Elizabeth I sold it. The castle got heavily damaged, as with many castles in England, due to the civil war, but the ruins left standing make this village a charming little place to hang out.

We park just outside Corfe Castle and walk along the road admiring the views of the castle. To get up close to the castle is expensive and we're not National Trust members who own this site otherwise we'd get in for free is we had their annual membership. Since we currently have English Heritage memberships we decided that one day we'd switch over to National Trust and then we can go visit the castle up close, plus I've already seen the castle up close when I was young. We decide to visit the castle restaurant for a Cream Tea and their Easter special is Simnel scones with lemon curd instead of the usual plain or fruit scone with strawberry jam. We decide to try the Simnel scone and lemon curd and my goodness it tastes absolutely delicious. We didn't get right up close to the castle this time, but we definitely enjoyed the views from castle restaurant garden.

We decide to head over to Bournemouth to check-in at our B&B and in the evening take a nice stroll along the beach into the city centre. We visit Bournemouth Park - Lower Gardens a favourite spot of mine where visitors can enjoy beautiful floral displays and nice grass area for having a picnic. The park has lots of activities going on like live music, crazy golf, an aviary and until recently had a hot air balloon ride but it got damaged in a storm. I really wanted to show Fiona the Bournemouth Aviary as it has lots of exotic and beautiful birds, some which I used to keep myself when I was a teenager. I had to give these birds (mainly Australian finches) up after my parents separated and we downsized to a smaller home but I've always been fascinated by them and hope to one day get an aviary and start up the hobby again.

After our little stroll around lower park we decide to grab dinner and make a date night at Chiquitos, a westernized Mexican restaurant chain; followed by cocktails at Hot Rocks so we can enjoy the ocean view but it's a tad windy.

Next day

The great thing about staying at a B&B is you're guaranteed a good full English Breakfast and it's good to get fuelled up for a full day ahead of exploring.

Our day starts with a visit to the seaside town of Weymouth. This small town was an important location for the London Olympics 2012 as all the sailing races took place here. We park up near the harbour for a pleasant stroll, as its Fiona's first time here. I love the harbour here as it's surrounded by lively pubs and restaurants and the busy Weymouth Town Bridge that stops road traffic so it can lift up and allow large boats into the marina. We even enjoy a special performance by some Morris Dancers. Morris Dancing is a form of English folk dance that is usually accompanied by music and is based on rhythmic stepping and execution of choreographed by a group of dancers wearing bell pads, hitting sticks and waving handkerchiefs. It must sound quite bizarre to someone who hasn't heard of this but I really enjoy this dance and when at primary school would quite often participate in this dance for the school summer fete.

We head towards the beach and I show Fiona the sand sculptures that this talented man does and has been doing for years. We then decide to go up the Jurassic Skyline. The clear-fronted passenger gondola does a 360 degree rotation of Weymouth and offers amazing views of Dorset's Jurassic coast line and we get a good view of Osmington White Horse, a man riding a horse made out of limestone in the ground. It is believed it to be King George III and sculptured in 1808 to warn the king he wasn't welcome in the area.

We then head over to Durdle Door, a famous location in Dorset that even attract tourists from all over the world. This door arch shape is made out of limestone and is believed to be around 10,000 years old. This spectacular natural wonder is accompanied by a lovely beach as well as beautiful Jurassic coastline. There are many steps down to the beach and plenty of opportunity to stop and take photos of the beautiful coastline and of course get some great snaps with ourselves included. The beach is not too crowded and so we find a nice spot to soak up the sun and enjoy the sound of the waves whilst watching the sun glisten on the sea water. Of course all the steps down meant we had to walk them back up and Fiona is cursing me as the hill is rather steep to climb, even myself is struggling and I consider myself as a relatively fit person.

From Durdle Door, you can walk along the coastline to Lulworth Cove, which is about 1.3 mile walk. The walk is rather pleasant as we admire the beautiful coastline, and Lulworth Cove is an interesting place to visit as its full of souvenir and food shops as well as cafes and restaurants, and all this is here because Lulworth Cove is world famous for its unique geology and landforms which include the Lulworth Crumple and Stair Hole. It has a small cove, hence its name, and the water colour on certain days could be mistaken for being in the Caribbean. We order ice cream, with multiple flavours such as Bakewell Tart & Salted Caramel; and take a pit stop and enjoy the scenic view of the cove. We enjoy browsing the many tourist shops as we slowly walk back to Durdle Door to get the car and then head over to Swanage for fish & chips on the pier. Our evening we spent back in Bournemouth with a visit to a quirky bar called Charlie Cellar Bar.

Next day

We check out of our B&B but since we're only an hour and a half away from home are not ready to head back. The weather not looking too promising, we decide to head over to Poole.

We park close to Poole Harbour, this harbour is the largest in Dorset and usually on a good weather day can take many boat trips out to see marine life as well as visit Brownsea Island which can only be accessed by boat. We visit the Poole Old Lifeboat Museum & Shop, housing one of Poole's historic lifeboats, Thomas Kirk Wright, which is 78 years old.

Next we visit Poole Museum, with free entry, a visit could not be missed. The museum tells you the history of Poole going back thousands of years and includes stories of visitors that came to the harbour via the oceans from around the world.

It's raining so we decide to have a resting stop at the The King Charles pub, a new inn and public place since around 1770 but the building itself dates back to 1350 and is known to be haunted. The spirits behind the bar are not the only the ones we can drink. The pub is listed in various haunted places books and has a rather sad tale where a landlady hung herself from a beam upstairs in the pub because she thought her lover sailor had died at sea only for the lover to then find her and then kill himself.

We finish our trip doing some shopping which includes a visit to Poole Pottery and then have a lovely Sunday roast at the Toby Carvery.


Additional photos below
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15th August 2020
Simnel & lemon curd scones

Scones are underrated
These look fabulous.
15th August 2020
Durdle Door

Durdle Door
Nice piece of geology.
15th August 2020

Bravo for a surprise trip!
Dave and I used to take turns planning surprise get aways. Some of them were very creative and always on a budget. We love staying in B&B's. It is great talking with other travelers and usually a fantastic breakfast. Thanks for taking us along on your exploring.
20th August 2020

Surprise trip
Hi Merry-Jo, lovely to hear from you. Hope you and Dave are staying safe. It's great fun planning surprise trips as I love all the planning to putting an itinerary together and Fiona surprised me the following year with a trip. I am so behind on my blog writing but I am going to make time to try and catch up :)

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