Sometimes, like Dorothy, we all just need to escape, whether for a few hours or a few days, and whilst we usually think of spring or summer as the ideal time for a UK holiday, we should not underestimate the restorative power of a winter coastal break.
Dorothy, as you will no doubt recall, left Kansas and followed the yellow brick road to Oz but for those of us who prefer walking boots to shiny red shoes, the wonderful Jurassic Coast in winter offers up no end of historic villages, deserted beaches, breath-taking views and warm and welcoming pubs to explore, with or without your own little Toto in hand.
Picture this, a crisp winter morning, pale sunlight glancing off a frosty path winding down to the coast, an exhilarating walk along a cliff path and finally, a cosy pub, and a rewarding mulled cider, hot chocolate or local ale.
This is what met us on a break to Chideock in Dorset when we found ourselves in need of some serious downtime. Rather than check in to a B&B or a hotel where we would have to interact with other people (we’re not recluses you understand, but sometimes you just need to be away from other humans) and eat at specified times and perhaps have no private lounge area in which to relax, we chose instead a wonderfully cosy, self-catering cottage in this seaside village.
We discovered Greenwich Cottage online via a lovely website, Special Dorset Cottages. Indeed this cottage is special. The owners have thought of everything in lovingly renovating this cosy holiday home from home; comfy beds and sofas, a dining area and fully equipped kitchen, delightful homely touches and, joy of joys – a wood burner – just perfect for a wintry evening on the coast.
Conveniently situated along the south west coastal path on the Jurassic Coast between Bridport and Lyme Regis, Chideock is a bustling little village with a couple of very nice pubs and a village shop catering for all needs. Greenwich Cottage is nestled in a small terrace with stunning views out across the countryside at the back and an easy twenty-minute walk from Seatown, a former fishing and smuggling hamlet right on the coast.
Arriving at dusk on Friday we quickly settled into the cottage and discovered the welcome treats left by the owner; Dorset coffee, tea and biscuits as well as a bottle of wine nicely chilling next to the milk in the fridge. The cottage was well-equipped with books and DVDs and plenty of logs were ready for us to light our fire when we returned from a very good meal at the recently refurbished George Inn, a focus for village life, just over the road.
After a perfect night’s sleep and a leisurely breakfast, we wrapped up well and found the path down to the beach at Seatown. Taking the advice of previous visitors, we decided to get an early table at The Anchor and settled down with coffee in front of the fire before enjoying a delicious lunch and sampling several pints of local ale from Palmers in Bridport.
Feeling somewhat overindulged, we had no option but to walk some of it off by climbing the hill opposite the pub up towards Golden Cap. It’s not an easy walk but the rewards at the top are well worth the effort with stunning views across to the familiar cliffs of West Bay in the east and the historical Cobb at Lyme Regis in the west.
Greenwich Cottage is perfectly located for visiting the Jurassic Coast at any time of year, a short stroll to the beach or a short drive to Burton Bradstock, Branscombe or Budleigh Salterton further afield. So, why not click your heels too, and take your time to fully explore this beautiful area from the comfort of your own home from home.