Review: The Old Dairy, Dorset, Uk


This was only our second visit to The Old Dairy, Dorset. Our first visit was during a hot period during last years’ summer. This time we arrived in a very wet and autumnal November. This did not detract however as The Old Dairy was as warm and welcoming as ever.

Jane Tidman, owner and manager, again welcomed us with a homemade, by her very good self, cake and some scones, clotted cream and homemade jam. All of this is typical of the care with which Jane caters for guests and is a great way to be introduced to The Old Dairy.

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On arrival I texted Jane to thank her for yet another cake which, this time, I knew beforehand would be homemade and scrummylicious (yes, that word just happened!) and she popped round to say Hi. This, and the time that she comes over to say goodbye, if you leave quite near to the ‘check out’ time, is the only time you will ever see Jane. Though she lives next door, you would be hard pressed to know this. She understands the importance of affording her guests their privacy whilst always being available at the end of a phone if needed. Moreover she engenders a genuine sense of wanting her guests to thoroughly enjoy a space which she has clearly created with a great deal of passion.

The Old Dairy itself is extremely well appointed and maintained and its layout appeals in both form and function.

From the practicality of tiles underfoot to the natural wooden stairs that welcome the guest up to the novel mezzanine en-suited bedroom area, the property exudes elegance and quality.

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During our visit the weather was quite wet and blustery outside but this was only evident by the intermittent pitter-patter of rain drops against the Velux windows. The heavy double glazed units afford great protection from the elements and even when the weather was at its worst we still felt as snug as a pair of proverbial bugs on holiday rugs.

To the rear of the property is a large farmed field. When we last came it was lush with long green crops and this time, during autumn, they had been cut shorter as the farmer was readying him/herself for the next year. Both views were equally as attractive and we look forward to seeing how it looks one day during a winter visit.

Last year, part of the reason for coming away was so that I could take the time to finish a children’s book I had been working on. I remember standing upstairs leaning against the handrail looking out through the huge glass frontage to The Old Dairy and, looking for inspiration, I could have been forgiven for feeling as though I were standing aboard a galleon looking out across the sea, the wind causing ripples to roll across the lush green crops. Every so often a Deer would raise its’ head up above the waves to take a quick breath and to orientate itself before diving back down and swimming against the strong tide of vegetation. This year the sea of crop had been drained and now pheasants and rabbits paddled themselves lazily across from one side of the field to the other. (I know I know, don’t look at me like that, I can’t help it, what can I say…I write stuff!)

In fact I am reminded of a quote by Jean Giono from his story, “The Man Who Planted Trees”, about one of the main characters, Elzéard Bouffier.  “And all his buttons were firmly sewed on, and that his clothes were donned with that meticulous care which makes a mend…invisible.”  Anyone who is familiar with the Christopher Plummer narrated animated version of this story will know that I mean that it is in the finer details that Jane really impresses.  So good is her work, that any mends or services…are invisible.

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The Old Dairy caters for most creature comforts whilst not filling the venue with unnecessary gadgets and electronic items. This heightens the sense of peace and tranquillity that such a location can offer whilst also catering for those who might want to catch up with the odd film or television program.

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Whilst at Dorset, my wife and I visited Stonehenge (about an hour and a half away and well worth a visit), Durdle Dor (which is an impressively Mediterranean looking location), Lulworth Cove (Grab yourself a cuppa at The Boat Shed Café by the waters’ edge) and Lyme Regis (which has a quirky and patina olde worlde charm). Being this time of year, all of these locations were much more accessible yet there were no venues that were closed to us for being out of season. Having visited now in both Summer and Autumn (nearly Winter in fact) I would recommend both times as being equally pleasant and, having only visited twice thus far, I know that my wife and I have found a place where we will regularly place our hats until we decide to one day retire and up sticks for good. When we do eventually retire, hopefully to France, we can only hope to find somewhere that might remind, even if just a little, of this wonderfully inspiring property.

Note: I have used the photographs used on the official website simply because, unlike many venues, the promotional gallery is exactly what you can expect when you get here. It is immaculately presented and I cannot recommend it enough to fellow travellers.

The link to The Old Dairy can be found here: http://www.theolddairydorset.com/

To contact Jane Tidman: jane@theolddairydorset.com

As ever, any questions or comments, please feel free to forward them to me here: http://ned@thewayofthesquirrelbooks.com/