Studland Bay, Dorset

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Studland Bay feels like a secret place, almost an island, and is accessed by a small ferry from the mainland. I suspect that everyone who visits Studland feels like it’s their own hidden beach to escape to, and is maybe just a little bit reluctant to tell too many people about it. Since we first visited Studland I have mentioned its beautiful beaches to a few friends and colleagues, and it’s amazing how many of them know and love this place. So I’ll share just a few photos from our most recent visit with you, if you promise not to tell too many people!

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We took a gentle walk from South Beach to Old Harry Rocks, along the coastal footpath, surrounded by long grasses and wildflowers, and views of yachts and little boats out at sea.

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A short pause for a while at Joe’s cafe for ice creams and cups of tea. I noticed bubbles floating through the air and along the beach below the cafe. For ages I couldn’t work out where they were coming from until I looked up to the old beach huts behind us and saw a boy with a bubble wand!

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In full pre-tweenager pouting mode…she even stole my sunhat!

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It was absolutely perfect weather, and whilst the beaches were busy by lunchtime, the cliff top footpaths were so peaceful. With a little breeze to cool us down in the heat, there was plenty of time for exploring all of the viewpoints over the cliffs, watching the seabirds flying to and from their nest sites and the sea washing against the rocks.

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Always reading…halfway through the second Harry Potter, which she has now finshed and is onto the next.

I am really hoping for another day at Studland before this summer is over; let’s hope for a long Indian summer!

Have you visited this goregeous area of Dorset and love it too? Should we keep it a secret, or tell everyone we know?!

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10 Reasons To Be Excited About Visiting Cornwall

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It’s only eight days until we pack the suitcases into the car and head off to the wild depths of rural Cornwall! Summer just isn’t summer without a trip to the far west of Cornwall. I feel such strong ties to the place, and have been visiting every year for longer than I can remember; I have such happy childhood memories of holidays with my extended family in Mousehole and the surounding villages.

Travelling there now with my little family follows it’s own pattern; we begin the long drive south from Oxford to Cornwall at the break of dawn, always hoping to reach the coast in time for a late breakfast on the beach. As we get closer to our destination, and the main roads become country lanes, with Cornish stone walls and ferns on each side, everyone in the car is looking out for the first glimpse of the sea. Whatever the weather that first sight of the sea, sparkling in the morning light, is magical. I always feel myself relax slightly, breathing out, and willingly letting go of real life for a little while.

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So, here are the moments I am most excited about during this year’s visit. Some of these places I visit every year without fail, some are more recent discoveries, and others are brand new experiences just waiting to be discovered.

One: Newlyn Fish Festival – by amazingly good luck this annual festival just happens to be taking place during our stay. There are fish auctions, cooking demos, live music and even trawler boat racing!

Two: Visits to our favourite beaches – to name just a few, Porthcurno, Kynance, Church Cove, Poldhu Cove

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Three: Seeing a show at the open air Minack Theatre – I have visited serveral times before, but never seen a show there; we are just trying to decide between a daytime family show, such as Storytelling – Tales from the Trees or an evening show…or maybe both!

Four: A Slice of Cornwall– one of my favourite cafes in the country. Lovely simple local food, amazing cakes and plenty of edible flowers.

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Five: Dinosaur Uprising at the Eden Project – this one is mainly for Joe, who is dino-obsessed, but Eden is great for everyone! Mia was only a toddler last time we visited, so has no memories of it; I’m sure she will be really impressed by the amazing biomes.

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Six: The Newlyn Filmhouse – I had no idea that this tiny little fishing village was home to an independent cinema, but I will definitely be making time to visit one night.

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(how were they ever this small?!)

Seven: The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives – two years running I have attempted to visit the studio, and due to a combination of missed buses and rebellious toddlers I have missed out…this year I’m not going home until I have!

Eight: Dinner at the Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn – the combination of Michelin starred chef, Ben Tunnicliffe, village pub and an adjacent fish market sounds like a pretty amazing combination to me.

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Nine: No. 56 Penzance– a beautiful homeware/interiors type shop on Chapel Street. Perfect for a little holiday gift shopping, and maybe one or two treats for me too…candles, weck jars and linen tea towels are all household essentials right?!

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Ten: Roskillys Farm and Tearooms – the ice cream at Roskillys is served throughout Cornwall and is delicious; it’s available at the farm in a cone, tub or (huge) ice cream sundae, or to take away in litre containers for home! Roskillys also have a cafe on site with great food, especially the burgers and lovely fresh salads. And there are farm animals too, great for a little wander in the fresh air after too much ice cream…the perfect stop on the journey home.

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And there are so many more not included in this list of ten…second hand bookshops, National Trust gardens, honesty boxes by the side of the road, beach barbeques, late nights playing board games…and of course, more than anything else, just spending time with my family.

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