Magazine article The Spectator

UK HOLIDAYS-Down Memory Beach

Magazine article The Spectator

UK HOLIDAYS-Down Memory Beach

Article excerpt

Louise Prior revisits her roots with a sun-filled weekend on Dorset's Jurassic Coast

'There's no place like home, ' sighed Dorothy happily in The Wizard of Oz, having eventually returned to Kansas after her adventurous journey to the Emerald City. Sometimes it's worth pressing the pause button and remembering that grass often grows just as green on our own doorsteps. The very best spring and summer holidays are often those that don't involve travelling far. Britain may be emotionally and financially battered but physically it's in great shape, and I had forgotten the joys that come with being a stayat-home tourist.

As an adult I've focused on visiting increasingly far-flung places, often for just a few days, in a one-woman quest to go just that bit further. Yet in these belt-tightening times we're being encouraged to stay at home - a phenomenon dubbed as a 'staycation' - and enjoy the delights that the British Isles have to offer in the way of holidays, thus saving money, our economy and the planet all at the same time.

I wasn't always a globetrotter. As a child it didn't seem my parents had left an inch of Devon, Cornwall or Wales unexplored. My brother and I trawled throughout the southwestern counties of England year after year, staying in cottages, apartments and once in a caravan. My brother and I loved the shaky walls and wobbly bunk beds; my parents were less convinced by its charm.

I recently revisited my roots and drove to Dorset for the weekend with boyfriend and dog in tow. We headed to Cobweb Cottage, an ancient thatched property in the sleepy village of Winfrith Newburgh, three miles from Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic Coast and nine miles from the county town of Dorchester.

And what a perfect chocolate-box cottage it turned out to be. Eyebrow dormer windows peeking out from beneath a thatched fringe, a Rayburn, flagstone floors, gingham-covered dining table and an open inglenook fire in the living-room: Cobweb Cottage was everything you could possibly hope to find when renting a traditional English cottage. Even the low-slung door frames had a certain charm, despite nearly concussing us both.

I assumed travelling to Dorset in March would probably involve a few walks on blustery beaches, long pub lunches and cosy nights in front of an open fire watching films. …

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