Puncknowle Manor Estate, and it couldn't have been more perfect.
There was a huge but cosy eat-in kitchen with aga and scrubbed farmhouse table which set the scene for the delicious meals we shared. A choice of sitting rooms meant that those who needed a little peace and quiet could easily escape and curl up with a book or the papers. There was a walled garden at the back, and over the road the house's own orchard where we had free access to the laden boughs of ripening apples.
Chesil Beach was a few miles away - we enjoyed a lovely amble over the shingle in the most perfect sunny weather, pausing here and there to sift through the pebbles in the hope of finding 'the perfect one'.
I love being by the sea, and was reminded just how varied the english coastline is. The Dorset coastal landscape was very lush and hilly - and very beautiful, but for me it lacks the wildness that I so treasure in West Cornwall. Sometimes it's good to be reminded of these things.
On the sunday we enjoyed a spectacular lunch outside at The Hive (highly recommended!) and then we walked slowly back to the house, picking sloes and blackberries from the abundant hedgerows on the way.
All in all, a weekend to treasure. We're hoping to repeat it next year!