The Pig on the Beach, Dorset

The Pig on the Beach, Dorset

In need of a bracing seaside escape promising sublime hyperlocal cuisine and service with a smile? Book a stay at Dorset’s The Pig on the Beach and prepare to be wowed.

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.

The Old Harry rock formation in Dorset
The fairytale yellow entrance of The Pig on the Beach

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.

A bedroom at The Pig on the Beach
A bath in a shepherd's hut at The Pig on the Beach

One of the hotel’s individually designed bedrooms, left, and
a bath inside a shepherd’s hut. | Photo credit: Jake

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

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

The hotel restaurant at The Pig on the Beach
A fish dish at The Pig on the Beach

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

The Lowdown

Room rates start from £195.

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