Discover Dorset

Countryside, Coastline, Culture, Cuisine – West Dorset has it all

It’s not just the magic of Old Bidlake Farm that brings guests to return year after year. Once discovered this corner of West Dorset can take hold of your heart. Here are a just a few of the places to see and things to do that make Bridport and it’s surrounding area such a fantastic holiday location.

The Jurassic Coast

Ninety five miles of stunning coastline stretching from Dorset to East Devon, the Jurassic Coast has been awarded World Heritage Site status, placing it alongside the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef as one of the natural wonders of the world.

Eype 3.5 miles. Our nearest beach, just over ten minutes drive from the campsite, is a hidden gem. Park at the cliff top and take a short walk down to the beautifully secluded pebble beach. Nothing there but the sea and breathtaking views across the Jurassic coastline.

West Bay 4.5 miles. A bustling harbour with a fantastic choice of eateries from Rachel’s Kiosk serving fish and chips and seafood direct from the fishing boats, to the quirky Dining Carriage at The Station Kitchen and for special occasions the renowned ‘Riverside’ seafood restaurant. It is the nearest location for fishing trips and speedboats, a great spot for crabbing, home to a much loved rope themed children’s play park and of course the location of the highly acclaimed television drama ‘Broadchurch’.

Seatown 5.5 miles A beautiful pebble and shingle coved beach located just off the main road village of Chideock. A starting point for the Golden Cap walk and home of the award winning Anchor Inn.

Burton Bradstock 6 miles. This beach very often becomes the firm favourite with guests, the fact that the highly regarded Hive Beach Cafe is located directly on the shorefront no doubt has a lot to do with this.

Charmouth 8 miles. Famous, along with Lyme Regis, for its fossils. At the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre you can find out how to hunt for your own fossils by joining one of the regular guided fossil walks. Also another starting point for the South Coast Path Walk.

Abbotsbury 12 miles. A mile from the villlage of Abbotsbury and location of the Chesil and Fleet Nature Reserve with stunning views across to Portland.

Lyme Regis 12 miles An elegant town of steep streets, its most outstanding feature is a delightful 13th century harbour known as the Cobb. The beaches in Lyme Regis are a mixture of sand and pebbles. Monmouth beach is very pebbly and shelves. The Front beach is a flat, sandy beach, as is Cobb Gate.

Weymouth 21 miles Take the B3157 spectacular coast road to this traditional and lively seaside resort. Your destination provides a long stretch of golden sand and a bustling harbour, no wonder it has been voted #1 beach in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for 2017 and ninth best beach in Europe.

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door 31 miles Not exactly on the doorstep but this natural limestone arch is undoubtedly the Jurassic Coast’s most famous landmark and worthy of the one hour drive.

The Marshwood Vale
West Dorset is not just about the sea, there is equally stunning scenery and fascinating places to visit if you head inland to explore the countryside of the Marshwood Vale. The two highest points in Dorset, Lewesdon Hill (279m) and Pilsdon Pen (277m) both Iron Age Hill Forts, provide the backdrop to our camping field and can be ascended by several footpaths, delivering breathaking views out towards the coast as your reward. This is a great location for cycling, walking and horse riding with many tree lined ancient paths and bridleways.
Places to eat and drink

The Anchor Inn Seatown For it’s breathtaking beachside location alone The Anchor Inn deserves a visit. That it also serves great food and drink and has recently undergone a successfully sympathetic refurbishment makes it one of our top recommendations.

The Stables, Bridport Pizza and Cider Bar, located behind The Bull Hotel in Bridport is very popular with families and serves delicious stonebaked pizzas with some unique West Country twists. Open daily with last food orders at 9.30pm.

Symondsbury Kitchen, Symondsbury a stylish café situated in the beautiful Manor Farm Yard, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, seven days a week.

Dorshi. Bridport is one of latest venues to hit the Bridport food scene and is already causing quite a stir with locals. Totally unique style with an East Asian influence, using local ingredients. It’s difficult to describe, much better to go and try it for yourself.

The Hive Beach Cafe, Burton Bradstock is an amazing seafood café located directly on the seafront at Chesil Bank. with parking at adjacent National Trust Car-park

The Watchhouse Cafe, West Bay is another venture of the Hive Beach Café team, and just a ten minute drive away from Old Bidlake, this trendy little beach shack is open every day (weather depending as they really are on the beach!)

Soulshine Cafe, Bridport at the far end of South Street. this coffee and juice bar, has a very ‘Bridport’ vibe and serves a great range of fresh and healthy sandwiches, salads, and cakes

Brassica in the pretty town of Beaminster has quickly established a loyal following since it was opened by award winning chef Cass Titcombe (co founder of The Canteen) in September 2014. Fixed Priced Lunch Menus offer amazing value.

Sawmill Cafe at Mapperton House From April 2107 the Brassica Restaurant team will also be managing this gloriously located cafe, we know it’s going to be another fantastic addition to the local food scene.

Pursuit of Hoppiness, Bridport Hopefully the first of many Micropubs to open in West Dorset serving quality real ale, cider and wine to those with a discerning palate.

River Cottage Canteen, Axminster is one of the many River Cottage ventures to have evolved from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s original move to Bridport in the late 90’s.

River Cottage Headquarters, Rousdon near Axminster is home of the River Cottage Cookery School and also the venue for amazing al fresco dining events throughout the summer.

Where to shop

Washingpool Farm Shop is our nearest shop, just 1½ miles away. It is a Taste of the West Gold Local Retail Outlet and it also has a great café. They stock products from over one hundred local suppliers alongside their own beef, lamb, pork and vegetables.

Bridport, recently voted the Best Local Food Town in Dorset, is just 2 miles away and boasts three independent butchers and four bakeries. It is also the venue for a great street market every Wednesday and Saturday, a Farmer’s Market on the second Saturday of the month and a Vintage Market on the last Sunday of the month. Bridport is gaining a national reputation amongst those with a passion for Vintage. The Art and Vintage Quarter at St Michael’s offers a treasure trove of vintage outlets alongside artists studios and artisan workshops. At the heart lies the emporium The Alleyways, home to over thirty five traders and run by the wonderfully welcoming Richard and Sam.

Beaminster A small but beautiful town centred around a pretty market square with an impressive collection of independent art and interior outlets.

Activities and Attractions

Walks and Cycle Routes Located directly on the National Cycle Network 2 and the Tour de Manche and with footpaths passing through the farm which lead you to the Monarchs Way, Liberty Trail and the South West Coast Path Old Bidlake could not be more perfectly placed for those who love the great outdoors. In the nearby village of Symondsbury there is a free to access 8 km bike and walking trail which meanders around the estate awarding spectaclar views of Colmers Hill and the coast and leads you down to Manor Farm, home to a great cafe. The Symondsbury Estate have also created a Mountain Bike Skills Area open every day subject to weather conditions. If you would prefer to leave your own bicycle at home there is a local hire company Bridport Cycles and electric bikes can be hired from Jurassic Electric.

Horse riding Our neighbours at Bidlake Riding Stables offer riding lessons and hacks to suit all ages and abilities. Run by Jo Forsey, the stables have an excellent local reputation and are very popular, so it is advisable to book before your stay to avoid disappointment.

Fishing Many of our visitors have enjoyed bountiful fishing trips on the Dawn Mist at West Bay and have returned laden with fresh mackerel to griddle on their rocket stoves.

Houses and Gardens If you enjoy visiting historic homes Forde Abbey is an elegant former Cistercian monastery with 30 acres of magical gardens. Just outside Beaminster, you will find Mapperton House, Tudor in origin with a romantic valley garden, it has been voted the ‘Nations Finest Manor House’ by Country Life magazine. Both estates have recently been used as locations for the 2015 film release ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’.

Family Attractions A visit to the picturesque village of Abbotsbury will provide a great family day out with no less than three attractions the Swannery, Subtropical Gardens and Children’s Farm to explore. Dorset Wildlife Trust protect numerous nature reserves throughout the area allowing open and free access throughout the year and their visitor centre at Kingcombe provides a wonderful range of courses and activities.

Other popular family destinations within easy reach include Seaton Jurassic Visitor Centre, the Donkey Sanctuary at Salcombe Regis, the Pecorama and Light Railway at Beer and Monkey World near Weymouth.