A Weekend in


Travel tips by Flora Soames and Fred Rigby
Images from Emma Lewis and Fred Rigby
Image from oltrepò pavese

Left: The famous Dorset coastline; Fred Rigby. Right: A thatched cottage; Camilla Frances. 

With a World Heritage Coastline, expansive sandy beaches and superlative British seafood, Dorset is an unmissable destination for any lover of the Great Outdoors - and, as we discover, art, antiques and bakeries. British designers Flora Soames, who lives in Dorset, and Fred Rigby, who grew up there and returns regularly, share insider's tips for a restorative weekend in the rolling English countryside.
Image from oltrepò pavese
Where to Stay
Smedmore House
One of Dorset's finest Georgian Manor Houses, with eclectic, magazine-worthy interiors and a short walk from the beach at Kimmeridge Bay, Smedmore House (above) can be booked for short or long breaks. Sleeping 16-22, it's perfect for large gatherings.
The Seaside Boarding House
A charming, cosy hotel with elegant rooms and superb sea views, The Seaside Boarding House is a home away from home on the Jurassic Coast.
The Pig on the Beach
In a picturesque hamlet overlooking Studland Bay, Dorset's Pig hotel - one of eight across England - shares the relaxed, country house feel of its siblings, with an unbeatable location.


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Left: Flora Soames' home in Dorset; Emma Lewis. Right: Smedmore House; Camilla Frances. 

Where to Shop
Food & Homewares
Niwaki, Semley
'I love the Niwaki homewares shop in Semley. They have an incredible selection of Japanese garden and kitchen tools.' Fred Rigby
Ludwell Village Store, Ludwell
'Their homemade marmalade, made by the shopkeeper, Phil, is sublime - only 200 jars are made each season so we stock up for the year. As a foodie, their wide range of incredibly good and diverse ingredients is second to none.' Flora Soames.
Famous Hedgehog Bakery, Wimborne
'An excellent bakery and breadmakers in a lovely renovated farmhouse in Long Crichel, Wimborne. They also run bread-making courses.' Flora Soames.
Farm Shops
'I love the Home Farm Shop in Tarrant Gunville for fresh produce, or, after a walk, the Chettle Village Shop for their homemade pies.' Fred Rigby.
Art and Antiques
'I am not a great ‘ordinary’ shopper, but perusing for antiques is my real weakness. In Sherborne, Patrick Macintosh has wonderful Arts and Crafts, and earlier, pieces, while Sherborne is a charming town with good antique shops, restorers and an awe-inspiring Abbey. Blackshed Flowers, near Sherborne, is great for cut flowers when you have pillaged your own borders.' Flora Soames.


Great Dorset Steam Fair
'Ultimately, my favorite place to shop in Dorset is the Great Dorset Steam Fair every summer, now back after the pandemic. You’ll find fields of old tools, vintage pieces and all manner of things, it's huge! There are also ploughing competitions, a funfair, steam engines and lots of real ale. It's got to be seen to be believed; it's on the scale of Glastonbury, but a very different vibe.' Fred Rigby.
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Left: Lulworth Cove; Camilla Frances. Right: Historic pub, The Square & Compass; Fred Rigby. 

Where to Eat & Drink
The Square and Compass
'A wonderful, historic smuggler's pub in Worth Matravers, overlooking the Jurassic coast. This would be my Desert Island Discs' luxury item!' Fred Rigby.
The Crab House Cafe, Weymouth
'A great crab and a hammer - what more could you want!' Fred Rigby.
Langhams Winery
'A beautiful place to visit; the platters are delicious while tasting the wines.' Fred Rigby.
Compton McCrae, Shaftesbury
'A fabulous delicatessen with great lunch (and burgers during the summer) and the best cheese for miles, like their La Tur, an Italian mixed milk soft cheese, which, with a drizzle of their White Truffle honey, is hard to beat.' Flora Soames.
The Seaside Boarding House, Bridport
'A wonderful place with great food and incredible views.' Flora Soames.
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Bucolic scenes in the Dorset countryside, photographed by Fred Rigby. 

Beaches & Walks
Tyneham Village
'A picturesque village, which was commandeered by the army during WWII and never handed back to the villagers at the end of war. Now abandoned, you can walk around the village, tour the different cottages and read their stories. After, walk down the coast path to the beautiful beach.' Fred Rigby.
Winspit Quarry
'Winspit Quarry, where we shot our latest collection, is a few miles from the Square and Compass and great for a post-lunch walk. Fun fact: they recently shot Star Wars there.' Fred Rigby.
Ringstead Bay
'A beautiful, secluded bay, particularly lovely for a bracing winter walk followed by a hot chocolate at the on site cafe to warm up afterwards.' Fred Rigby
Winn Green
'I love a walk on Winn Green, a stone's throw from my home, or around Fonthill lakes, ending up at the Bird and Carter for a slice of cake and tea.' Flora Soames.


Further afield

'Further inland, there are also lovely walks around Hambledon Hill. Crichel Estate and Badbury Rings. Choose the best time of year for Bluebells or Snowdrops.' Fred Rigby.

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