ROOM AT THE INN
English wine, and a large four-poster bed so comfortable it satisfies even my princess-and-pea tendencies.
Separate from the main house there are three additional suites — one made of adjoining shepherd huts, and two adorable thatched dovecotes. In keeping with the not-a-hotel principle, there is no spa, but massages and facials are offered in two rustic treatment cabins.
The restaurant is in the pretty conservatory, dotted with candles and pots of herbs. After the first mouthful it’s clear why The Pig bills itself as restaurant first and rooms second, as the food is absolutely delicious.
The menu is dictated by whatever is at its best in the vegetable garden and whatever the full-time forager has found on his hunts. Quail and hen eggs are from The Pig’s own birds; the pork is its own, of course; and it has a smokehouse for salmon and ham. We feast on scallops with ham hock and wild garlic; grilled artichokes with crispy buckwheat; the most decadent, pink, gigantic rib of beef with bearnaise sauce. And, tragically we are too full for pudding. Luckily it takes only a few steps to stagger to our lovely bed.
AZB Knight was a guest of The Pig on the Beach.
The Pig on the Beach, Manor House, Manor Road, Studland, Dorset BH19 3AU, England; +44 1929 450288, thepighotel.com/on-the-beach.
From £119 ($225) a room a night; check website for off-peak specials.
A 200km (three-hour) drive from London. The closest train station is Wareham, a 20-minute drive away.
A cheerfully mixed bag of couples of all ages, extended families, groups of friends. Only a scattering of small children.
All the public areas on the ground floor, including the restaurant and bar, are wheelchair accessible, and there are two fully accessible guestrooms.
Guestrooms are stocked with retro manuals on pig rearing and chicken keeping, but for a more gripping read settle in with one of local lad Thomas Hardy’s Wessex novels.
Miles of beaches and clifftops to explore, including a great half-hour walk to Old Harry Rocks. Spectacular ruins of Corfe Castle, built by William the Conqueror, are 10km away.
The shower door opens inwards — an awkward design and a pet hate.
The hotel has beach huts for hire, so you can ensconce yourself in 1950s splendour on the sand.
The Pig on the Beach manor house, above, and comfortable lounge, below