Words: Markus Bidaux
After months of lockdown, the long wait for a weekend getaway is finally over, so I pack my man and our lockdown pup into the Mini Cooper for a trip to Dorset.
Our destination is the Silverlake country estate, a collection of holiday homes built around a series of small lakes, where our base for our stay is a barn-style, timber-clad, three-bedroom house in the estate’s Beaumont Village.
Inside, there’s a cosy living room with a reclining sofa and a big dog bed, while the open-plan kitchen is well equipped with a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer (no need to haul your dirty laundry home with you).
Upstairs, there are three bathrooms as well as bedrooms — we could have easily invited a few family members or friends and not felt cramped. There’s outside space, too, with a small garden with Weber barbecue.
Silverlake is all about living in harmony with nature, and we take the dog for a walk around the lakes, where we spot horses and cattle grazing.
The grounds of Silverlake
This is also a twitchers’ paradise, with 140 different bird species recorded here. And if you like to fish, you can cast off for carp at the fishing lake. Too laidback for you? Head for Beaumont Lake, where water sports including canoeing and paddleboarding are on offer as well as swimming, and there’s a sandy beach for relaxing on afterwards.
And for those bring kids, Silverlake has recently added a few fun activities including a unique Coracle Safari around the waterways of Silverlake, a crown-making workshop where children are coronated rulers of the woodland, and paddle sport fun with the Active Squad.
If you prefer to take a dip in a heated pool, visit The Hurricane Spa — named after the Hawker Hurricane aircraft stationed on the site during the Second World War. Above it is a rooftop bar with a light food menu, and for those looking to shift the lockdown pounds, there’s a Technogym-equipped fitness centre and tennis courts.
The Hurrican Spa
The Jurassic Coast is only a 25-minute drive away, so we head out for the day. Our first stop is Weymouth, where we watch families dunking their crab nets into the harbour. Next, we visit the beautiful Lulworth Cove, Stair Hole and neighbouring Durdle Door, Dorset’s iconic limestone arch which juts out into the sea.
Durdle Door on the Jurrasic Coast
Having built up an appetite, we carry on east, past the hilltop ruins of Corfe Castle, to the seaside town of Swanage, where we sit down to an al-fresco seafood dinner followed by clotted cream ice cream — which we attempt to burn off by walking the trail to the Old Harry limestone stacks at Studland.
Exhausted, we head back to the home comforts of Silverlake for a quiet night of telly by the fireplace — lockdown habits die hard…