One day in and the weather forecast was set to be dry for at least the next few days: staycation over! The first campsite Christine phoned in Dorset had space and we started packing the car! Travelling down to Dorset on a Friday in summer is never the best of ideas and we had to sit in a few queues on the way down. The campsite (Norden Farm) on the outskirts of Corfe was much as we’d expected – lots and lots of caravans and tents but you did get a small playground and some scraggy looking farm animals to amuse the children. On our first full day we headed down to the beach on the Swanage Railway. I’m not sure the children were too fussed with the steam engine but they enjoyed the pirates (local Lions club members) on board handing out chocolate money. It was a bit overcast but warm enough to make the most of the beach and we ticked lots of boxes with sandcastles, ice cream, Punch and Judy and a tea cup ride!
On the next full day we walked along the ridge from the campsite to Corfe Castle (my Dad had recently purchased National Trust membership for us which we used to the full on this holiday!). The children enjoyed the quest, learning about castle life and answering questions to earn their ‘gold medal’ on the way out. The sun was in evidence and, with the children feeling a bit frazzled, I walked back to pick up the car so that we could head down to Middle Beach on Studland Bay for a couple of hours (also National Trust owned).
The National Trust card was also burning the next day. We parked at their Shell Beach car park and took the chain ferry over to Sandbanks. From there, we took the ferry across to Brownsea Island. We didn’t managed to walk round the whole island but we did manage to tick off all of the items on Emma’s latest trail including the peacocks and, more illusive, a red squirrel.
As the weather was still set to stay fair, we extended our stay by one more night and headed back to Studland Bay, spending our last day at Knoll Beach. We must have spent about five hours just playing in the sand with the occasional foray in to the water. We didn’t even have to resort to the rather swish looking NT cafe.
All good things must come to an end and, with rain forecast, we packed up the tent the next morning whilst it was still dry and headed for home. The journey home took a good hour less than that on the way there, reminding us of just how close this beautiful part of the country is if you travel at the right time! I think the best part of the holiday though had to be the fact that we left the pushchair at home. Duncan walked everywhere and with little complaining. Long may it continue!