This four storey circular tower stands high on the cliff overlooking one of the most striking bays on the Dorset coast. Built in 1830, its location has captivated many writers including Hardy and PD James.
‘We've seen the Tower as a ruin, a pile of stones, a shell, and a magnificent and triumphant phoneix - and now we have had the privilege of experiencing life here.'
2. Woodsford Castle, Near Dorchester
This is the surviving part of a 14th-century castle, a rambling wing of great interest and charm, deep in Hardy country just outside Dorchester. Its roof has one of the largest expanses of thatch in the county.
‘The owls hooting, bats fluttering above our heads and an endless starry sky - a perfect weekend.’
A remarkable and elegant 18th century seaside villa, Belmont opened to guests in 2015 after eight years of detailed research and two resolute years on site.
‘The usual destiny for large houses in Lyme these days is to be bought up as hotels. I am determined to avoid this; and hope that the house… may have some kind of permanent educational function.’
This is the medieval gatehouse of one of Dorset’s finest great houses, of which just a very fine Elizabethan wing survives today. Staying here gives a true flavour of what life must have been like if you were lucky enough to warrant such lodgings. The Gatehouse once framed the approach to a grand forecourt and the great of many kinds have passed through it.
‘You feel part of the history when staying here with the creaky floors and massive doors and amazing old wood floors.’
Dunshay Manor breathes history, lying hidden in its own hollow a couple of miles from the coast. This ancient house received an Arts & Crafts refurbishment in the 1900s, giving it a friendly, open feel. Corfe Castle appears across the fields and the Swanage Steam Railway passes close by.