Pitch up at this butter-yellow, 16th-century manor house - having passed through chocolate-box villages and taken in views of the sky-high chalk cliffs of Studland Bay en route - and you'll be unsurprised to learn that the little hamlet in which it is set was the inspiration for Noddy's Toytown. Exuding a distinct fairy-tale-like charm, The Pig's Dorset outpost celebrates the beauty of the Jurassic Coast in all its glory, with killer views of Old Harry Rocks and wide, windswept beaches unfurling at its feet.
Aside from its pig-out-worthy locavore restaurant and memory-bank seascapes, the real drawcard for us is the service, which is laid-back yet impeccably executed. Staff, who'll greet you, all smiles, at the door, wearing casual jeans and a shirt, will genuinely go above and beyond to make your stay just right. Whether it's fetching special pillows for sore backs (as was the case for my mother, who had fractured her back a few weeks before our stay) or extending dinner service for late arrivals (as was the case for myself, when I arrived at 9.30pm after a hellish drive down from London), it seems there's no request that can't be met here. Settle in for sundowners on the lawn, strolls along the South West Coast Path and a good dose of kitchen-garden grub.
Views across to Old Harry, left, and the fairy-tale yellow hotel entrance. | Photo credit: Jake Eastham
Ascend the hotel's beguiling, warren-like wooden staircases and you'll find a network of 28 individually designed rooms, each with its own quirks and stories to tell. There's a distinct country-home feel throughout, with framed prints of local flora and fauna blending seamlessly with kitsch accents like rotary-dial telephones and stowaway larders, all stuffed with old-school treats.
Within the main house, rooms range from "extremely small" and "snug" sizes right up to "comfy luxe" and "generous". These last two both come with freestanding tubs, as well as grand Georgian windows that look out to either bucolic countryside or the sea. Stroll over to the kitchen garden and you'll find two thatched dovecotes - The Bothy and the two-story Lookout - and then there's Harry's Hut and The Pig Hut, both of which are ideal for more adventurous types looking for a glamping-chic experience.
One of the hotel's individually designed bedrooms, left, and a bath inside a shepherd's hut. | Photo credit: Jake Eastham
What's for breakfast?
Quite honestly, the best response here is "what isn't for breakfast?" Once you've risen, pootle down to the plant-filled conservatory for a help-yourself spread of granola, fruit, jams and homemade yoghurt, plus a variety of local hams, cheeses, energy bars, cakes (the banana bread is a must-try) and freshly laid eggs that you can boil yourself. As for hot dishes, there's everything you'd expect and more, including a Full Pig Out (full English), which continues to win first prize among hungry guests.
How about lunch and dinner?
A seasonal 40km menu (that changes for lunch and dinner) features something plucked straight from the kitchen garden in every dish, offering proper British fare with a focus on simple, fresh flavours. For vegans and vegetarians, the hotel's garden, greenhouse and polytunnel are the source of ingredients for a selection of plant-based dishes (think red onion tart and marinated Dorset beetroot), while the local coastline is to thank for bountiful plates of seafood - don't miss the turbot with chive butter.
Is there a bar?
Yes - a selection of classic tipples, English wines and botanical cocktails are served from a warmly lit, Chesterfield-bedecked panelled bar to the right of the hotel's main entrance. Nibbles like piggy bits (crispy chipolatas with flatbreads) can also be ordered from here if you're feeling peckish.
The restaurant, left, and a fish dish on the menu. | Photo credit: Max Milligan
Two sky-blue shepherd's huts hidden in a sheep field overlooking the sea provide a sanctuary-like space for spa treatments, including hot-stone massages and radiance facials, while South Beach offers a get-away-from-it-all opportunity, with beach huts available to rent for £50 a day.
How about their green credentials?
The Pig's cut-above commitment to sustainable food and hyperlocal seasonal produce is its hero green credential.
What about accessibility?
The main manor's new wing offers ground-floor comfy luxe rooms with good accessibility.
What's the crowd?
Weekends attract seaside-seeking urbanites, while the restaurant draws in a constant stream of day-tripping locals on the hunt for good-as-it-gets English grub. Children are welcome - there are two pairs of interconnecting rooms, cots for hire and babysitting services available on request.
Things I should know
The Potting Shed restaurant is highly popular with non-guests, too, so booking is essential, even when you're staying the night.
Within a short walk I can find…
You'll need a car if you want to potter into any nearby villages. You're within a short drive of the idyllic seaside town of Swanage; Corfe Castle, for history-buffs; and Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, when in the mood for an invigorating seaside stroll.