The Old Rectory

Group Leisure turns its attention to Dorset and picks out five helpful accommodation options for groups planning an extended trip there. 

With plenty to explore in the county of Dorset – including the Purbeck Hills and the Jurassic Coast – it only makes sense that groups might want to spend more than a day in the area. Here are some accommodation suggestions for parties of varying sizes.

1. Durdle Door Holiday Park

Holiday homes, tent and caravan pitches, and camping pods are available at to hire at Durdle Door Holiday Park, which is situated right on the dramatic World Heritage Jurassic Coast and surrounded by rolling countryside.

The park is described as ideal for walkers, as it’s close to many coastal trails that explore the picturesque region. The pretty village of Lulworth is right on the park’s doorstep, and has plenty of quaint seaside shops and places to stop for an ice-cream.

2. The Springhead Mill Hostel

The Springhead Mill Hostel in Shaftesbury, great for groups on a budget, sleeps up to 40 and is described as ideal for those looking to explore the Jurassic Coast and the North Dorset Cycle Way.

Set in a seven-acre estate in North Dorset on the borders of both Wiltshire and Somerset, the hostel provides its residents with exclusive use of the 18th century mill buildings and stable block accommodation as well as its lakeside gardens. Three reception rooms, a dining room and a garden room can be used, too.

3. The Old Rectory

Sleeping up to 29 people, The Old Rectory is a Georgian grade two listed country house near Bridport. It is set in grounds of about one and a half acres with large lawns and flower gardens to the east and south.

A bedroom at The Old Rectory near Bridport.

Pictured: A bedroom at The Old Rectory near Bridport.

The décor of the house is in keeping with its period; the property has most of its original features including flagstone floors, open fireplaces, baize door coverings and a central staircase ascending through three floors.

The Old Rectory is close to the historic market town of Bridport and the Jurassic Coast beaches. Activities like sea fishing, walking, rib charter cruises and bike hire are all available nearby.

4. The Pines Hotel

Groups with a penchant for hotels with an ocean view might like to opt for a stay at the Pines Hotel in Swanage. This family-run hotel is set amid beautiful Purbeck countryside at the quiet end of Swanage Bay with its own access to the beach.

Spacious public rooms offer panoramic views for groups convening for a coffee break, and all bedrooms have private en suite facilities, colour TV, telephone and radio.

The hotel’s location also offers easy access to some of Dorset’s highlights, such as the Medieval history of Corfe Castle and its hinterland of Hardy’s ‘Wessex’, to the major cosmopolitan resort of nearby Bournemouth.

5. The Swanage Centre

Group travel organisers looking for accommodation for really big groups should rest assured that a large number of beds are available at The Swanage Centre. Sleeping up to 250 people at one time, the centre offers full-board accommodation for a variety of educational and recreational purposes from September to June and occupies an elevated position at the heart of Swanage.

The centre provides picturesque views of the surrounding Purbeck Hills, the sea and the Isle of Wight, and is just a short walk to the beach and town centre.