Camping in Dorset…This was probably my fave camping trip of 2016!
After typing that sentence I had a little think and realised we only went camping twice last year…hmmmm, it felt like WAY more than that!
So, I think it would be more accurate for me to say that this is my favourite piece of British coastline so far. Like, so much so that I want to go back!
If there was one thing I didn’t know about the UK before moving here, it was that there is so much natural beauty in this country. The beautiful mountain valleys up North, stunning beaches dotted along the coastline and rolling fields of green and gold that you drive through seemingly minutes after leaving the city.
We piled into the car and headed out of London toward New Forest on a sunny Saturday afternoon in August with Werner and Sune, and Phoebe OFCOURSE!
We had decided to wing it, so we didn’t make any bookings in advance. That was our first mistake. We ended up driving right through New Forest because none of the campsites had availability. Turns out the Brits really know how to make the most of good weather.
And so the googling began…
Side note – How did people get by without Google and mobile Internet back in the day??
We eventually found a basic little campsite called Ridge Farm and Camping and Caravan Park, there wasn’t much going on, but hey, at least there was availability.
We set up camp and settled in for dinner – a delicious snoek braai. For those who don’t know what snoek is, it’s a fish that is found in the Southern Hemisphere, a type of mackerel. You might want to have a Google to get the more accurate explanation.
Anyway, from what I can remember, the fish gets wrapped up in tin foil (this was quite entertaining because Werner can’t really stand tin foil so it was a bit of a team effort) and placed on the hot coals to start cooking (I think there *might* have been some lemon juice involved in this part), when it’s almost cooked you take it off the coals, give it a good slathering of apricot jam (we used All Gold jam – full on South African fish braai here!), wrap it back up in the tin foil and pop it back on the coals to finish cooking.
After dinner we settled in for a few rounds of “never have I ever” in the dark because we still didn’t have a camping lantern. I love this game, you always end up learning something you didn’t know about your friends and you can make it as naughty or as nice as you like! But y’know, it always tends to lean towards the naughty/scandalous/ridiculous things you feel you might need to confess questions.
On Sunday morning we woke up quite early, showered, packed up the campsite and headed off to the jurassic coast, keen to see the seaside.
But first, breakfast! (AKA my favourite meal of the day!) The problem with waking up so early out in the countryside on a Sunday morning is this – everything is still closed!
We drove on and on, stopping at every possible breakfast establishment and eventually someone came out of one of the pubs and told us about an inn down the road that did a good breakfast. So off we went.
When we arrived it looked pretty quiet, one of the boys went in to find out if they were open and pet friendly. Luckily the people were really nice people and let us bring Phoebe inside, she chilled under the table while we had what was probably the biggest plated breakfast I’ve ever had! EVER!
We skipped the fruit and cereal bar and decided to go straight for the greasy good stuff. It was kinda like a buffet breakfast but you ordered the hot food fresh from the kitchen. We were given menus listing what was included in the breakfast and when we wanted to order we were told that we had to tell them what we didn’t want. UMMMM… OKAY then, I’ll have everything but please skip the black pudding and fried bread!
When our food arrived I was so glad that I had skipped the fruit and cereal bar in the beginning, the portions were huge! We dug in to what can only be described as a proper home cooked fry up, sadly there was no option for a sexy smashed avo on toast. The only sounds coming from our table for the next half an hour was the clinking of cutlery and the occasional “OMG, this is so much food!”.
With very full tummys we piled back into the car…next stop, Durdle Door!
Now, it’s a good thing we fueled ourselves up because the walk from the parking lot to the beach was flipping far! Going down wasn’t a problem, but coming back up the hill seemed to be a bit of a challenge for quite a few people (The parking is by that little white building on the hill – but don’t let that put you off, the walk is worth it!).
Walking down the sky was quite grey, but after we posed for a few photos the good weather gods smiled down on us and sent the clouds on their way leaving us with beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine. PERFECT!
The whole beach is just beautiful, with clear and blue water, a cove to the left of Durdle Door on Man of War Beach and a long stretch of beach to the right lined with sheer white cliffs. Not a bad spot for an afternoon explore.
There were a few people going out for a paddle on kayaks in the cove and the beach around the window was pretty busy so we decided to walk down to the far end of the beach where there were hardly any people so we could let Phoebe off her lead.
TBH I’m not sure who enjoyed running up and down the beach in the froth of the waves more, me or Phoebe? I had a ball running up and down, egging her on, trying to convince her to go deeper into the water. All the while Riaan trailed along behind us, clicking away with the camera.
After a good while down on the beach we made our way back to the car, it felt like the long walk to freedom. By the time we got there Phoebe was exhausted and ready for a nap on the long drive back to London and we were looking forward to the comfort of the aircon.
I really hope we can make it back to this part of the UK again soon, definitely for a longer stay, maybe another weekend of camping in Dorset, but we have a few other beaches we want to check out first!
Until next time,