If you find yourself in the South of England with a car, why not go for a road trip? For the historically-inclined, I Heart Places presents its first day trip itinerary in and around Somerset. Begin at Lytes Cary, motor on to Corfe Castle, and finish up with a great dinner at The Rose & Crown.
Lytes Cary, Somerset
Start your visit at the main building, Lytes Cary Manor. Step into the great hall and feel just how old the house is. The oldest part is the small chapel and it was completed in 1358. The chapel is beautiful even with its small size. The ornate alter, ancient plaques, frescoes, and the magnificent stained-glass windows transport you back to medieval England.
The rest of the existing house was started in the mid-1400s with updates and additions made from then until the 1920s. The decor of the house still has its 1920s touches with vibrant wallpapers and walls covered in paintings.
Outside there are three different garden types to explore. You see manicured hedges and well-looked after walkways with discreetly placed benches for a rest in the shade. Moving on you see ponds of goldfish and fountains. Walking back to the main house you’ll pass a cutting garden filled with roses and a riot of other local flowers.
Before you leave, pay a visit to the tea room located in the modern, 1920s addition of the house or pop in the cute shop housed in a former stable.
Corfe Castle, Dorset
Back in the car and you’re driving to Dorset through gently rolling countryside. You pass farms and ancient villages that have built up over the years to contain modern amenities. And then there it is, rising up out of the hills: Corfe Castle.
The castle is more ruin than building and perches atop a steep hillside. Park in the village and head up the hill to the gates. Pass the gates and you’re in the midst of towers, former fortress walls, and fantastic views. Being over a 1,000 years old there’s a lot of historic interest to the castle, too. There’s a lot of walking so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Older kids who can do a bit of walking without getting tired will probably enjoy exploring the ruins, too.
The village at the foot of the castle grounds is a charming and a picture-perfect English village. As you walk down towards the village, you might hear the whistle or spot the billowing steam of a train from the heritage railroad, Swanage Railroad. The train stops at Corfe and takes about 40 minutes to travel the route up to Swanage and back to Corfe.
The Rose & Crown, Trent
The Rose & Crown is a gorgeous pub with modern food that celebrates local ingredients in a bucolic setting. The front bar is dog friendly and pulls a good pint. Right off the bar is a small dining room with wooden tables and floral curtains. Further in there’s another larger dinning room that looks out into the garden. On a gentle summer evening opt to eat outside so you can see the rolling hills of the farm.
If you’re in the area be sure to book a table.