Walking

Beaminster, Dorset

The bucolic haven of Beaminster in Dorset is one of those places that has managed to escape the tourist trap. Only a few miles from Bridport and with great links across the county, it’s often overlooked by visitors but cherished locally for its stunning architecture, beautiful surroundings, annual arts festival, and great eateries sourcing seasonal produce from nearby growers and producers.

An old settlement with its roots in the 7th century, Beaminster was once known as Bebingmynster – the church of Bebbe. Evolving over the centuries to become a flourishing hub, by the late 13th century it played host to successful textile industries, a bustling Thursday market and an annual fayre. Between the 13th and 15th centuries, the folk of Beaminster also gained a new church, dedicated to St Mary, which can still be visited today. 

While most of the modern-day Beaminster dates from between the 18th and 19th centuries, some older buildings still do survive and the village centre with its striking market cross comprises more than 200 listed buildings. As you wander the streets, it’ll be hard not to fall for the charm of the village’s historic centre, overlooked by sleepy cottages with creeper-framed porches, Georgian homes with large bay windows and golden sandstone buildings. 

If you find yourself with some time to spare during a luxury retreat in Dorset, there are several places that you should certainly try and squeeze into your visit. First of all, the nearby Mapperton House and Gardens are a real surprise hidden within a forgotten Dorset combe. With a backdrop of unspoilt countryside, the Manor (which features in the Domesday Book) and its 15 acres of award-winning gardens beckon for discovery. 

Another day, a trip to Beaminster Museum will reveal many intriguing collections that document the town's heritage. Offering a fascinating insight into the lives of those who have lived and worked in the village over the years, it contains a wealth of local knowledge. Back to the present day, you can acquaint yourself with the village’s most adorable residents through the Beaminster’s Donkey Walking Adventures and UK Llamas – two local tour operators offering unforgettable walking tours.

Should you fancy delving a little further into the surrounding landscapes, Beaminster also lends itself well to walking holidays. Within just a few miles of four of Dorset’s highest peaks, you can lace up your boots and head off into the countryside or venture towards the coast. A particularly worthy challenge is the 915ft Lewesdon Hill, only 4 miles from the town. The highest point in Dorset, it grants views across the county and on towards Devon, Somerset and the sea beyond. 

Once you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite, you can also make the most of the village’s cafés and restaurants. Brassica offers up elevenses, lunch and dinner and sources most of its ingredients from within a 15-mile radius of the village. The Michelin-recommended Ollerod has a relaxed atmosphere and a choice of seating areas inside and out. Meanwhile, for light refreshment, no trip would be complete without a Clipper tea, blended and manufactured in Beaminster.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Dorset here.

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