Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Weekend in a Yurt

You know that thing where modern life gets you down and you just really need to check out for a few days? After a couple of worry-filled weeks, including several hospital visits, one MRI scan and a failed secondary school appeal it's fair to say I was more than ready to do just that and deposit myself in a field in the countryside, well away from the aforementioned troubles. And, conveniently, within just a few moments of scanning Airbnb - a site I'd never used before - I managed to not only find the sort of place that looked just right for requirements, but which was also free at short notice. This sort of thing never happens to me - I took it as a good omen...

A pretty perfect home for the weekend

Unlike me, you've probably used Airbnb before so I won't go into too much detail about how it all works but my main observation was that it's a revelation if you're not one for booking your weekends away a year in advance and like to be a little more spontaneous. Finding nice places to stay in the South West at short notice has always eluded me so being able to book somewhere with a two week lead time was a nice surprise. 

We chose a retro yurt in Dorset for our stay - you can check out all the details here. Our host, Bryony, was great and the setting of her yurt is just lovely. We arrived in a haze of late evening sun and found ourselves in a small, tranquil field that houses just two other properties - a charming gypsy caravan and a shepherd's hut. With these being just single or double occupancy, this is a patch that would never get too busy. That's one of the things we loved most about staying here - pretty much having the place all to ourselves. As city dwellers who sometimes get a little weary of the noise and bustle of the urban landscape, I would have happily paid more for the privilege of enjoying this luxurious sense of space and serenity.

Fires, flowers, sunsets

The yurt itself had everything I'd imagined a yurt should have - a cosy ambience, a wood burner, rugs on the floor and a general vintage-y vibe. It sleeps four (one double, two singles) and feels plenty spacious. Luckily the weather was on our side so we didn't spend much time inside, but I don't think you'd feel too cooped up if bad weather should strike. Toilets are of the compost variety and there's a hot - and surprisingly efficient - shower on site too.

Words of advice in the loo

Outside you have access to a fire pit and plenty of seating. We made some good family memories round that fire; so few campsites allow fires these days that we took full advantage of it, staying up till way past bedtime to toast marshmallows, drink wine and play charades. I found this an utterly idyllic experience and a real balm for the soul - watching the embers glow as your children skip about in the half light has greatly restorative powers for anxious minds. 

We took our camping stove along for the essential campers' fry up the next day - there's a farm shop just minutes from the site where you can pick up the necessary local bacon, sausages and eggs. You'll find all the crockery and cutlery you need provided in the yurt. 

Nice waking up to this

While I could happily have hung out yurt-side, eating marshmallows, drinking cups of tea and reading my book, the sea was calling so we headed out to one of the nearest beaches, Charmouth, via a stop at Bridport, a bustling, characterful town where you'll find quirky second-hand bookshops, bric-a-brac stalls and independent cafes. On Bryony's recommendation we headed to Soul Shine Cafe for brunch - unsurprisingly popular, it has a lovely courtyard where you can enjoy your wheatgrass smoothie and eggs Benedict under colourful Indian parasols. 

Soul Shine Cafe

The other big draw in this part of Dorset is, of course, Lyme Regis, but we're regulars to this resort, so we decided to head a little further afield on our second day to Chesil Beach, followed by a lunch date with one of the most stunning places in the region - Durdle Door. Unbelievably spectacular. 

Dorset's amazing beaches

I've loved Dorset since childhood but this visit made me fall in love with it just a little bit more. Perhaps the stars aligned on this trip (there were no cross moments, no whining from the kids, no bad traffic to contend with) and the yurt experience suits us. I have a strong feeling we won't wait long until we return...

More photos


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