Dorset Blog

Pennsylvania Castle Estate celebrates Gold Star Awards

Pennsylvania Castle Estate celebrates Gold Star Awards

Pennsylvania Castle Estate celebrates Gold Star Awards as it welcomes guests to the Jurassic Coast

− Top awards from Visit England –

Pennsylvania Castle Estate celebrates top accreditations from Visit England and the National Quality Assessment Scheme with both the Penn and Cove Lodge receiving the Gold Award and Stonecleave gaining 5 stars in the self-catering category. The National Quality Assessment Scheme is the largest official star rating scheme in the UK with over 24,000 participating businesses. The Gold Award is the highest rating offered by Visit England, awarded to properties which excel in hospitality and service.

Situated on the Isle of Portland, a stand out location along the beautiful Jurassic Coast, The Estate consists of the exceptional 9 bedroom Pennsylvania Castle, with indoor swimming pool, as well as two luxury self-catering properties – Cove Lodge and Stonecleave. Along with the Gold Awards and 5 star ratings, each of the properties has also been awarded the Walking and Cyclists Welcome from Visit England. Positioned on the East cliffs of Portland, Penn Castle Estate is the perfect location for those wishing to explore the prehistoric coastline, walk the famous Chesil Beach or relax in a secluded bay such as Church Ope Cove.

Jo Peters, Estate Manager comments: “We’re delighted to have been awarded such great accolades from Visit England. The whole team are incredibly proud of the work we do across the Estate and the level of service we offer. We are located on one of the most incredible sites along the Jurassic Coast and The Penn, Cove Lodge and Stonecleave all offer an experience to match their unique setting. Receiving such good feedback from Visit England really confirms that we’re meeting the high standards we have set here.”

During their stay, guests are encouraged to explore the local surroundings and enjoy all that the coast has to offer. Requests for dining, activities or entertainment are readily met by the team behind The Estate and the end result is a truly luxurious experience.

As well as private rentals for family holidays, unique celebrations or luxury getaways, The Penn also offers a bespoke wedding setting, catering for both indoor and outdoor weddings. With stunning sea views, idyllic gardens and a fairy tale castle, The Penn provides the perfect luxury wedding experience.

140 Years of Bournemouth

140 Years of Bournemouth

The Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel has now stood proudly overlooking Bournemouth’s beautiful beaches for 140 years – but how did this popular seaside resort come about? How did it blossom into one of the top holiday destinations in Europe? What is the true history of Bournemouth?

A seaside town steeped in history

Before Bournemouth was a thriving holiday resort, it was known to the upper classes as an ideal place to escape for a little solitude. Up until 1810, there was nothing but wild heath land scattered with cattle in the space where the town now stands. A man named Lewis Tregonwell (otherwise known as the ‘Founder of Bournemouth’) visited the area in the early 19th century. When he showed his wife around, she loved it so much that she convinced him to buy some land there to build a mansion upon – along with cottages for their staff and friends. Their property stood alone, and so, they were the very first residents of what is now Dorset’s largest settlement.
In 1870, the railway stretched to this British seaside town, making it easier for the masses to reach it. As the popularity of taking a holiday by the sea grew during the Victorian era, so did Bournemouth itself. More developments started taking place in the town to facilitate change – plans for the Winter Gardens theatre were laid out and The Pleasure Gardens were put in place. These beautiful gardens, centred on the River Bourne, are still extremely well maintained until this day – in fact, they are Grade II listed!

Bournemouth’s boom

As Bournemouth continued to grow, the once competing resorts of Westbourne, Boscombe Spa and Southbourne-on-Sea became encapsulated by it. More people made their way to the town, so lots of hotels began to spring up to cope with the demand – one of which was the Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel. Its location is as stunning as it ever was, with spectacular views that overlook seven miles of some of the most serene sandy beaches in the UK.
After Queen Victoria granted Bournemouth seaside resort Borough status in 1890, many improvements to the area started taking place. Thanks to the efforts of locals, hospitals, schools, libraries and houses were built, transforming a quiet seaside town into a vibrant community. Furthermore, a promenade roadway known as Undercliff Drive was built, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was established at the Winter Gardens and parks were laid out with drives and golf courses.
Many years later in 1920 (after much discussion), the Bournemouth Pavilion opened to much acclaim. The once peaceful settlement on the coast was now a fully-fledged seaside resort, filled with many hotels and other holiday attractions. Modern-day Bournemouth was born.

Bournemouth today

Visitors travelling to Bournemouth today can still expect a vibrant holiday retreat, however, Bournemouth holds a rare quality in that it is a bustling holiday hot spot that still holds a definite calm. Although the Bournemouth seafront and town centre are completely in tune with 21st century demands for entertainment, it is still possible to immerse yourself in Bournemouth’s history and explore times gone by. For a truly idyllic UK holiday experience, book yourself into a sea view room and sail back in time…


TV fame for RJ Balson and Sons in Bridport Dorset

TV fame for RJ Balson and Sons in Bridport Dorset

RJ Balson and Sons in Bridport Dorset, Britain’s oldest butchers, will feature in a new BBC TV series called ‘A Taste of Britain’.

Presenter Janet Street Porter and celebrity chef Brian Turner were filmed tasting award-winning pork sausages and faggots made by RJ Balson and Son.

The butchers, who are preparing to celebrate their 500th anniversary, were also featured in another BBC documentary that aired in January 2014.

West Bay is the Broadchurch filming location for the second series

West Bay is the Broadchurch filming location for the second series

The star-studded cast and crew have returned to West Bay in Dorset to start filming the second series of the BAFTA award-winning show Broadchurch.

Stars spotted in the area have included David Tennant, who plays DI Alec Hardy and Olivia Colman, who plays DS Ellie Miller. Other stars returning from the first series of Broadchurch are Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker and Charlotte Beaumont as Mark, Beth and Chloe Latimer. Hollywood legend Charlotte Rampling will also have a significant part in the new series and she has been seen filming scenes in a house at West Cliff.

Bridport and West Bay experienced a tourism boom when they were the Broadchurch filming location for the first series, which averaged more than nine million viewers per episode. Tourism bosses and local businesses in West Dorset are hoping for a similar economic boost this time around.