Location: Olde England Dorset
Perfect for: Country hideaway
Discover a rich and vivid life of Olde England Dorset – a county brimming with pretty market towns and honeyed-coloured villages. Venture a short way from the hubbub and lose yourself in winding country lanes and lush green meadows. Who knows, you might stumble upon the cottage Daniel Craig (yes, Bond, James Bond) stayed at with his now wife, Rachel Weisz.
The Pavilion is a gorgeous self catering cottage that’s been lavishly kitted out, but has plenty of rustic appeal. Inside there’s a huge Miele bean-to-cup coffee machine, sauna, cinema system and even a Power Plate; and outside there’s a secluded grotto by the garden stream that’s perfect for candlelit cuddles, a roof terrace and a hot tub overlooking the Dorset countryside. It’s the perfect country hideaway…
Monsieur 2 and I love city life, but oh, to be in the country, to see its green fields, breathe its clean air, and catch a glimpse of a tasty young farmer. With this in mind, we find ourselves on the 3.20pm from Waterloo bound for the South West. Little do we know we are following in the footsteps of England’s sexiest secret agent… who, rather like me, likes his Martini shaken, not stirred.
Our train pulls in to Sherborne station, where a taxi is waiting to take us to our home for the night – The Pavilion, in the picture-perfect hamlet of Milborne Wick. We enjoy our 15 minute journey along the winding country lanes, particularly when we pass a hunky farmer in his Land Rover. Swoon.
Sweeping up the discreet driveway we clock a stunning cottage with magnificent picture-windows. Standing in front is Cleo (who owns The Pavilion with husband Andrew), keys in hand, waiting to show us around. The front door opens into a large, very zen living room. Enormous white sofas are strewn with hand-made cushions and furry throws; scented candles are burning, fresh flowers are on the table… we’re going to love this, we can just tell.
The Pavilion is a self-contained cottage, and boy is it lavishly kitted out for its purpose. Mod cons are abundant, but not overwhelmingly so – for every contemporary touch there is a traditional, homely one; the attention to detail is impeccable.
There’s a Smeg fridge, a huge Miele bean-to-cup coffee machine, a home cinema system complete with projector, Sky and DVD player, a sauna, there’s even a Power Plate. But what we love the most is our welcome hamper, which is more a rustic crate filled to the brim with locally sourced treats – including bread, half a dozen eggs, laid by the very chickens that roam the grounds, locally-churned butter, and a bottle of wine.
Cleo and Andrew have thought of everything, and more, and after showing us the roof terrace, bedrooms (one up and one down), bathroom, and the hot-tub that’s currently being built, Cleo leaves us to it. We don’t have to go too far if we need anything – they only live next door, another beautiful house which they rent it out in the summer as an adjoining house to ours.
We stroll around Milborne Wick admiring the handful of large sandstone houses and rural landscape, stopping to pat a couple of horses who have trotted over to say hello. It’s refreshingly peaceful and we couldn’t feel more relaxed in this gorgeous country idyll.
Back at The Pavilion, we fancy wine, and having spied a secluded grotto by the garden stream, we take our bottle and a couple of glasses, and amble down to the bank. We sit happily sipping Sancerre as the sun sets. Bliss.
Monsieur 2’s tummy is rumbling, which means it’s time for supper. I’m cook for the night, and am delighted to discover that this kitchen has everything a cook could possible need, from crockery to condiments. And after serving up my very own homemade pizza, we tuck into the fresh strawberries with Dorset clotted cream that were included in our welcome hamper. They are lip-smackingly good!
We settle in on the sofas to watch a DVD from the fantastic selection. Monsieur 2 is a whizz with gadegtry, and with a little help from the instructions left for us, we’re watching our film in full cinematic glory.
Tempting as it is to head for bed, we can’t not take advantage of the amazing mini-spa upstairs. We briefly try out the Power Plate, before going for a soothing steam in our very own sauna, followed by a long soak in the tub (complete with rubber ducks). Drying ourselves in the generously sized, delicately scented, towels, we wrap up in the White Company bathrobes, and head for bed.
Waking from a great night’s sleep we start the day with fresh coffee and scrambled eggs on toast, with bacon. The sun is beaming, so we enjoy our breakfast on the roof terrace.
Soaping up with the locally sourced toiletries in the huge wet-room, our thoughts turn to 007 – James Bond star Daniel Craig, and his then girlfriend Rachel Wiesz, have stayed here, and we dwell for a moment on his finest scenes.
Reluctantly we return the keys in time for our 10am check-out; we wish we could have stayed longer for more of The Pavilion’s exceptional comfort and tranquillity. And, as we head out of the drive, we vow to be back. And soon.
Our rating: The Pavilion is a truly exceptional place to stay, so it’s a full 5 stars for this gay friendly luxury self catering house in Dorset, South West England.
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