Walking the Cranborne Estate in Cranborne, Dorset
Walking the Cranborne Estate in Cranborne, Dorset

Air travel remains precarious as a second wave of COVID-19 sweeps across Europe.  Time to look closer to home for that Autumn break or a Christmas celebration.  An unusual destination in England is the village of Cranborne in Dorset.  The fields and forests of Cranborne Manor surround this small historic village, deep in the countryside.

Cranborne village in Dorset, England

The Village Church in Cranborne, Dorset
The Village Church in Cranborne, Dorset © Valery Collins

Cranborne is a typical English village with an eighteenth-century church at its centre and the village store selling pies and local produce.  It also has a brewery, the Sixpenny Brewery and a bakery.  There are also two traditional pubs, the Sheath of Arrows and the Fleur de Lys.  And a lovely garden centre, enclosed by a high wall and once part of the estate.  It has a lovely tea room looking out on a small, formal garden.   But a real asset is the walking from short, easy walks around the village and the Cranborne Estate to long-distance trails.  The paths skirt arable fields and wind their way through natural woods.  Perfect for autumn and winter rambling.

Cranborne is not far from the stunning Jurassic Coast and the beautiful New Forest is almost on the doorstep.  Two lovely days out.  And after a good walk or a day out it is a pleasure to return to the warmth of a cosy hotel.  A real favourite is La Fosse, a restaurant with rooms, in the centre of Cranborne village.

La Fosse in Cranborne in Dorset, England

The Tea Room at the Garden Centre in Cranborne, Dorset
The Tea Room at the Garden Centre in Cranborne, Dorset © Valery Collins

Guests at La Fosse can relax knowing precautions are in place to protect them from COVID-19.  Hand sanitisers are a regular feature including one in each bedroom.  Arrivals are given printed information outlining the safeguards being taken.  These include plenty of room in the restaurant and two sitting rooms to keep a social distance from other guests.

Chef-proprietor Mark Hartstone and his wife Emmanuelle work very hard to provide good service and excellent food in their restaurant.  The menu changes every day and features delicious dishes using local ingredients and unusual combinations – often including fresh fish caught by the local gamekeeper.  And a real treat, room service for breakfast.  It was introduced to reduce staff-guest contact and allow time to properly clean and ventilate the restaurant.

Sitting Room at La Fosse in Cranborne, Dorset
Sitting Room at La Fosse in Cranborne, Dorset © Valery Collins© Valery Collins

La Fosse occupies an old building, a combination of several small cottages.  It has been lovingly renovated creating a cosy atmosphere with family heirlooms and contemporary pieces created.  This special place is one of many that grace the English countryside and ideal for a staycation.  The popular option while the coronavirus disrupts foreign holiday plans.


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