A day out in Purbeck

A day out in Purbeck

Purbeck offers the visitor many sights and places of interest to visit. On the way from Weymouth, one drives near Moreton Tea Rooms, past Monkey World and the Tank Museum. We stopped off at Lulworth Cove (though we were not energetic enough to make the climb up to see Durdle Door). (We used some older photos here for this post)

When you reach Wareham, you should really stop and enjoy the interesting shops in the High Street, or the Roman Walls or the picturesque Quayside and its large, fine Pub. On some days, the lost village of Tyneham may be open (not the day we travelled, sadly). The village was evacuated on the orders of the Army during WW2 and remains an eerie and somewhat spooky testament to the upheavals of wartime. Tyneham can be reached, turning right from the main road leaving Wareham for Corfe Castle.

At Corfe Village, one can only marvel at the huge and imposing castle ruins, standing guard for many centuries over the locality. Head into the small and “cosy” Village Square for a choice of Pub (The Greyhound) or cafes to fortify you for the walk up to the ruins (entrance fee at the National Trust shop and Tourist Centre). Across the road to Swanage lies the Railway Station, with regular Summer trains from Norden to Swanage – often running magnificant Steam engines through the tight and twisty scenery of Purbeck.

 

Studland and Swanage

The Studland road from Corfe twists and climbs gradually to give a panoramic view towards Studland Bay, overlooking Brownsea Island, Sandbanks and Bournemouth. Turnings take you to Kimmeridge, with its “nodding donkey” oil wells and the nature reserve at Arne, with its splendid variety of birdlife. Other openings tkae you to beaches along the lower headland and eventually to the Ferry across to Sandbanks and Poole Harbour (toll road and Ferry fee applies). We turned South to Swanage instead.

Swanage is a small seaside resort, nestling by white chalky cliffs and with a narrow sand and shingle beach. The town is compact but absolutely buzzing with numerous quaint and fascinating shops, selling curios of all kinds. I guarantee, anyone could spend all day (and all the wallet) “grazing” among these little emporia. There is also a fine fish and chips shop and a doughnut stand in the tiny seafront Town Square, to relax and soak in the relaxing atmosphere. (But please don’t feed the seagulls – they are VERY friendly already!)

Moreton Tea Rooms – Perfect for a real Dorset cream tea

Moreton Tea Rooms

Dorset cream tea. Those words conjure up an image of a quaint little village, deep in the peace of the Countryside. Perhaps there is a little stream with a footbridge. Maybe also a church with a slightly overgrown graveyard. Throw in the grave of Lawrence of Arabia and you have Moreton Village and the Tea Rooms.

An easy drive out of Weymouth, through Warmwell to Crossways and along a leafy lane to Moreton, brings you to the Old School. Here lies the Moreton Tea Rooms and the gateway to Dorset cream tea heaven. When we visited, to celebrate an 80th Birthday and a Wedding Anniversary, it was a hot September afternoon. Wasps droned lazily among the flower beds but were kept occupied by wasp lures, thoughtfully hung around the gardens to minimise any vespine nuisance.

Inside the tea rooms, it is easy to imagine the Old School in its heyday but equally hard to imagine just how good the cream tea treat is that awaits visitors. We pre-ordered a range of sandwiches (4 different tastes in our group!) and were not disappointed. We enjoyed a feast of delights, starting with crispy sausage rolls and cheese-straws on the top deck. The middle tier comprised smoked salmon with cream cheese, ham and a variety of delicate triangles to tempt the palate. Finally, a selection of cakes to assuage our culinary lusts – vanilla and ginger scones, mini-chocolate cakes, flapjacks, brownies and Vicoria Sandwiches – all dainty and delicious.

The service was excellent – the food even better and the price – probably best of all. The whole was incredibly good value and well below standard touristy prices. Definitely worth a trip for anyone – although it is advisable to book a table beforehand, at least in high season.

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

Monkey World near Weymouth

Monkey World is Britain’s best known ape rescue centre. The centre is a short drive out of Weymouth, near Wool. The park is home to about 25 species of primate, including chimpanzees, orang-utans, lemurs, spider monkeys and gibbons. The paths winding around the park are gently sloping but also fairly long, so the infirm may need to hire a mobility scooter to get around. The monkeys generally prefer warmer weather therefore it is best to visit on sunny days if you can.

Ring Tailed Lemur at Monkey World

Ring Tailed Lemur at Monkey World

As you enter Monkey World, there is a very large enclosure in front which houses the largest group of chimpanzees outside Africa. Guided tours take you round 5 species of gibbon, 2 species of orang-utan, capuchins, marmosets, tamarinds, spider and squirrel monkeys. There is a wildlife wood walk where it is sometimes possible to spot deer, badger and foxes.  There is an enclosure where the noisiest inmates live – the Ring-Tailed Lemurs. All around the park, there are benches and several cafes where you can sit and relax between “safaris”.

Ice skating at Christmas

Ice skating during Weymouth “Christmas Sparkle”

Ice skating has been a feature of Weymouth Christmas celebrations for several years. It is anticipated that a bigger rink will come to town this year. However, the previous one has provided much fun for kids and adults alike. The ice rink forms one of the “Christmas Sparkle” attractions. These include mulled wine, festive market stalls, Peruvian Pan Pipes, live music and late opening shops.

Its Christmas

Its Christmas

Ice Skating near Debenhams

Ice Skating near Debenhams