Southern England is one of the places I call home and love going back to whenever possible. Bank holiday weekends make a perfect excuse.
These are some of my favourite places to visit in the Hampshire and Dorset area.
Amazing walks, ponies walking about, stunning views. One of my favourite routes starts in Burley, a beautiful village in the heart of New Forest. Untouched by time, Burley is all about thatched-roof cottages, traditional pubs and witchcraft. Rumour has it in the late 1950s, Burley was home to a ‘white’ witch Sybil Leek who strolled around the village wearing a long black coat and with a pet jackdaw on her shoulder. Locals didn’t like that and she moved to America. These days Sybil’s heritage is celebrated by one of the gift shops named by her.
That’s a bit of magic for you. My usual Burley walk is here.
For other things to do, Bournemouth Echo has even more tips.
… and the New Forest Wildlife Park
Definitely not just a kids thing. Otters, bisons, wildcats and about a dozen of different types of owls are only some of the animals the Park is looking after. It’s a lovely place and animals are happy there – the Park is focused on wildlife conservation and rescue work.
I wrote about my visit to the park here.
I wrote more about the colour explosion in Exbury here.
Salisbury International Arts Festival runs in late May, with theatre, music and crafts, among a million other things on offer.
If that’s not your thing, Salisbury is a great place to just hang out for a day or two. Beautiful architecture, dozens of pubs and bars, pretty walks in and out of town and, obviously, the Salisbury Cathedral.
The walk from the town’s centre to Old Sarum is among my favourites.
Bournemouth may be famous for stag and hen dos and being a city with the highest number of clubs per square mile in the UK, but it’s much more than a good night out destination (which it is, for the record).
It’s a beautiful, relaxed city with lovely gardens, beautiful beach and a great choice of restaurants, gigs and shops. There’s so much going on in Bournemouth and if you’re not into chilling on the beach, check out the hundreds of events and gigs going on there.
Camping near Corfe Castle
A few years ago I made a 360 turn going from being a serious camping hater to a big-time tent convert. Places like this amazing camping site overlooking Corfe Castle reinforce my fairly new-found love for sleeping outdoors.
Overlooking the castle, Downshay Farm is one of the nicest camping sites in Dorset.