Escape to Dorset

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Looking for a 5 star hotel in the countryside with fine dining, a private sommelier and a vinotherapy inspired spa menu? Escape to Summer Lodge in Dorset.

A perfect retreat for foodies who love nothing more than swirling wine and taking leisurely walks with their four legged friend…


Situated in the small village of Evershot, this quintessentially English hotel is as chocolate box as it gets with a croquet lawn, sumptuous Georgian decor and neat hedgerows that are kept in check by a team of gardeners.

Sounds of tweeting birds and trickling water fountains provide a background accompaniment to your stay like something out of a fairytale.

With only 24 rooms and suites, the hotel is intentionally intimate to ensure guests receive an impeccably high standard of service.

There are even little cottages for those looking to retreat away from the world. Past guests include rock stars and screen writers.

Children under 7 may be banned but canine friends are treated like royalty…


On arrival, they will be met with a special bed, food bowl, towels and treats. Just don’t mistake those gluten free coconut husks for your treats in the other drawer.

Order breakfast in bed for an extra £10 or eat in the restaurant before heading out for a walk in a nearby deer park. Situated in the grounds of the impressive Melbury estate, the seat of the Strangways family since 1500.

It’s described as a “conservative house with no frills, apart from the one gesture of it’s tower”. We beg to differ…

Melbury House Dorset
Photo: Melbury House Dorset

Just remember to stay on the path and keep your dog on a lead at all times. Everyone remembers what happened to Fenton…

Return to Summer Lodge for a swim, a snooze in the sun or a game of croquet.

If you fancy breaking a sweat, a local personal trainer or yoga teacher can be arranged on request. But don’t have any high expectations about the gym, it’s the size of a shoe box. Instead, don your fluffy dressing gown and head to the spa for a Caudalie massage…


Try the ‘Fleur De Vigne’ warm candle body treatment, under the glow of soft light from a massage candle that melts into warm oil, scented with grape blossom.

Or a ‘Crushed Cabernet Body Scrub’ containing grape-seeds, honey, brown sugar and six essential oils to leave skin glowing and perfectly smooth.

For vinotherapy of different proportions… wait until you see their wine list. Select your tipple and a master sommelier will be summoned to offer his advice. Did we mention he’s one of the best in the world?

If you’re feeling peckish in the day, pop to The Acorn Inn across the road for some rustic fare or enjoy Afternoon tea in the drawing room.


Or save yourself for a 5 course supper served to perfection by a highly trained team of waiters…


Feast on amuse-bouche and Pan Seared Lyme Bay Scallops with a Sweet Shallot Puree. Many of the ingredients are sourced locally and picked from their very own gardens.

You won’t be blamed for wanting to retire early. The bed is possibly the comfiest thing you will ever sleep on with crisp Belgian linens, warmed with hot water bottles in the winter.

But don’t worry, the air conditioning is more than adequate for hot summer months…


Sink into a hot bubble bath, douse yourself in REN products and slip into a soft and enveloping bathrobe. Who knows maybe you’ll pen a novel or write a screenplay.

A 2 hour train journey from London Waterloo to Yeovil Junction or Dorchester South and a 15 minute taxi ride on to Summer Lodge, this is an ideal getaway for foodies and dog lovers looking to escape from the city.

With little else to do but walk, eat and spa, we found two days to be quite sufficient but this hotel often runs a ‘three nights for the price of two’ offer so be sure to ask when you book!

Summer Lodge Country House Hotel and Spa in Evershot Dorset is part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and is also a member of Relais & Chateaux. It was Voted ‘No. 2 Hotel in the UK & Ireland’ in 2016 by Conde Nast Traveller.

Address: Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, 9 Fore Street, Evershot, Dorset, DT2 0JR, United Kingdom

To book a stay at Summer Lodge, telephone 01935 48 2000 or visit the website

By Hettie

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