We had a spare long weekend and were looking for somewhere to get away for a couple of nights. We had not visited Dorset for some twenty years and picked the Old Rectory because it looked appealing from other reviews. We were not disappointed. It was easily to find just off the A35 in the picturesque village of Winterborne Steepleton, about 10 minutes outside Dorchester. As you approach he Old Rectory you drive past thatched cottages, whilst a clear chalk stream - the actual "winterborne" flows beside the road.
The exterior of the Old Rectory is not particularly attractive as it is a large cement rendered Victorian building, but a soon as the front door opened and Caroline welcomed us in
we were in a delightful cosy home. There are four bedrooms, we had the "Dorchester" which had a wonderfully comfy, massive four poster bed. The room was very spacious with two arm chairs, flat screen TV, tea and coffee making and en suite with a large bath, two washbasins and lashings of hot water. The shower was over the bath and not especially powerful.
We went to the Coach and Horses in Winterborn Abbas for a good value evening meal. The pub had recently been refurbished. It is just about within walking distance, but as it was down a dark lane we decided to drive. A bit of a shame as the selection of real ales was good, and of course driving meant I was restricted in what I could have!
Although we had a car there is an excellent bus service through the village, every hour until late. First Group route 31 serves Axminster, Lyme Regis, Bridport, Dorchester and Weymouth - a useful service for tourists.
Breakfast at the B&B is served in the conservatory where we chatted to other guests. The meal was comprehensive with yoghurt, cereal, tinned fruits, toast and full English all served up by the cheerful and hard working Caroline, who clearly enjoys meeing her guests. Probably my only criticism is that an extra sausage or egg would have finished off the breakfast - a very minor criticism.
For those not familiar with Dorset, it is a very rural county with delightful countryside and impressive coastal scenery. On our drive down we visited Tolpuddle, where early trade unionists were harshly transported to Australia for daring to confront their masters; writer Thomas Hardy's cottage, and the tiny claustrophobic retreat where T E Lawrence - Lawrence of Arabia escaped military life. On Sunday a massive storm hit the British Isles which rather restricted out activities and rural England in the driving rain is not so good! Caroline was perfectly happy with us staying indoors all day using the guest lounge or our own room. We did venture out and went to Weymouth - where the rain stopped, and Portland Bill where the heavens opened up again! We got soaked so returned to base and changed. We went into Dorchester for a late Sunday lunch at Wetherspoons, then back to our room for a cosy night in.
Overall then a very pleasant stay, not cheap but good value and I would thoroughly recommend The Old Rectory to anyone wanting to explore his area
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lovely Victorian rectory offers peaceful and relaxing breaks in our four en-suite rooms including one with a four poster bed. English breakfast is served in the courtyard conservatory. We are 3 miles west of the county town of Dorchester and within easy reach of the stunning world heritage Jurassic coastline. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Old Rectory Country House Bed And Breakfast Dorchester, Dorset