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Dorset Coast from The Hermitage Hotel

Dorset, UK

  • A plate with a knife and fork Half board

Take a trip back to the Jurassic period

While staying at The Hermitage Hotel (4Q) in Bournemouth, you will be treated to the delights of the Dorset Coast. 380 million years ago (give or take), the landscape was continually changing and inhabited by strange creatures only found in museums and fossilised in places such as Lulworth Cove today. The cove is neighboured by Durdle Door, undoubtedly one of the region’s most iconic sights.

You are also invited to explore Brownsea Island, a site home to red squirrels, sika deer and extensive history. It was here in 1908 that Robert Baden-Powell created the Boy Scouts. For literary genius, look no further than Corfe Castle, which captured the imagination of author Enid Blyton in 1941 when she took a trip on the Swanage steam train. You too can become captivated by these sites during your discovery of Dorset’s coast.

Including...

Bed4 nights in the hotel

Dinner plate8 meals: 4 breakfasts (B) and 4 dinners (D)

PersonDedicated Saga Host

Plus...

  • Cancellation rights
  • Hosted drinks reception
  • Guided orientation walks
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities in your room
  • Free hotel Wi-Fi and safe
  • Porterage at your hotel

MapIncluded excursions and visits

  • Swanage Railway and Corfe Castle (full day)
  • Brownsea Island (full day)
  • Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door with cream tea (full day)

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 Bournemouth

Bournemouth Pier

Settle in to your hotel and join your host for a welcome drink before dinner. D


Day 2 Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

Durdle Door on the Dorset coastline

185 million years of natural history is evident along the Jurassic Coast. In this time creatures became fossilised and dramatic rock formations were erected, shaped and changed. Few sites display the coastline’s extensive past better than Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.

Your coach journey to the two sites will wind through pretty scenery. At Lulworth Cove, keep your eyes peeled for fossils - perhaps an Ammonite within the rocky headland or a bullet-shaped ‘Belemnite’ within the pebbles on the shore. At Durdle Door, capture this iconic limestone archway on your camera, created by the erosion of less resilient rock. On calm days, boats pass through the door.

During your day, stop for a cream tea in a local venue, to reflect on the first day of your Stay and Discover experience. B, D


Day 3 Swanage and Corfe Castle

A steam train on the Swanage railway

It was the summer of 1941 and despite the ever-present headlines of war, author Enid Blyton stepped off a puffing locomotive at Corfe Castle. She, like so many visitors before and after, became captivated by the dramatic ruined Norman castle that occupied the hill above. It became fictionalised as Kirrin Castle in Five on a Treasure Island.

Today, you are invited to take a similar steam train journey along the Swanage Railway from the station sharing the same name as the route, to Corfe Castle. The station is located just outside of the castle’s surrounding village. B, D


Day 4 Brownsea Island

Red squirrel on Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island has quietly observed everything from the English Civil War to the formation of the Boy Scouts.

Located just one kilometre from Sandbanks’ affluent shoreline, Brownsea Island was first recorded as a human settlement in the early ninth century. Well before William the Conqueror was born, the island was home to a hermitage of monks who used the island for simple living and solitary prayer. Henry VIII recognised the island’s strategic position - located at the entrance to Poole Harbour - and built the fortification known as Branksea Castle, which still stands today. During the English Civil War, Parliamentarian forces regularly stomped across the island and in 1908 Robert Baden-Powell used what he had learned in the military during his time in South Africa to establish the boy scouts. As you can tell, the island boasts an abundance of history, but its wildlife is equally impressive.

During your visit, look out for red squirrel and sika deer - introduced at the end of the 19th century from Japan. Spend a full day on the island before returning to your hotel. B, D


Day 5 Farewell

Having enjoyed this remarkable area, check out of your hotel and return home. B


During your full-day visit to Brownsea Island, look out for the 200 red squirrels that call the island their home. Unlike much of the UK, here the red squirrel is protected from their grey counterpart - a rival that successfully out-competes the red for food and carries squirrel pox, fatal to the red squirrel. On day two you will be treated to views of Door and Lulworth Cove. Both are spectacular natural sites, but we suggest impressing your fellow travellers by looking out for Man of War Beach, not quite so well known but impressive nonetheless.

The Hermitage Hotel 4Q

The 4-star Hermitage Hotel (4Q) occupies one of the best hotel locations in Bournemouth, directly in front of the iconic pier. You can look forward to dining in the hotel’s Hardy’s Restaurant, which has been awarded an AA Rosette and uses local and sustainably sourced ingredients. The hotel’s NEO Restaurant (which you can dine it at extra cost) features a modern lounge bar serving an extensive cocktail menu, including 40 gins.

All 76 traditional bedrooms have a flat-screen television, hairdryer, tea and coffee-making facilities and free Wi-Fi. Saga guests stay in standard rooms with inland views (upgrades to sea view, superior, superior sea view and suites available on request). The hotel has a lift, and some rooms are located on the ground floor.

Hotel address
The Hermitage Hotel
Exeter Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK BH2 5AH

Getting there

By car

From the A31 turn into the A338 (Wessex Way) following directions to Bournemouth for about eight miles. At the Bournemouth West roundabout take the first left onto Cambridge Road. At the next roundabout take the first exit onto Commercial Road which then becomes Terrace Road and Exeter Road. Proceed to the next roundabout and continue on the B3066 towards the seafront. Your hotel is situated a short distance along on the left hand side. There is a free car park at the hotel subject to availability.

By rail

If you have arranged rail travel through Saga you will receive tickets to Bournemouth railway station. Transfers to and from the hotel are not included – it is about two miles from the hotel and easily reached by taxi or by using the local bus services (bus numbers M1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 pass close to the hotel). Your Saga host will meet you on arrival at the hotel.

By coach

The nearest National Express drop off point is the coach terminus, right next to Bournemouth railway station at the Travel Interchange. Details of coach services can be obtained by phoning 08705 808080 or you can visit their website for up-to-date timetables and bookings.

A taxi to the hotel should cost around £6. If you wish to pre-book a taxi, the hotel recommends PRC Streamline Warren taxis – tel: 01202 373737. PRC Streamline Warren are not associated with Saga; any contract is between you and them, and all queries about their service must be referred directly to them.

Dorset Coast from The Hermitage Hotel

Dorset, UK