Location, location, location, they say. That’s why they built this dream house surveying the wild grandeur of Lulworth Cove. But when you add style, style, style mixed with dollops of luxury, space, serenity and a basement pool that needs its own postcode, you realise that wow just went up a level.
As the Dorset lanes wend their way ever-tighter towards the Jurassic Coast, Manor on the Cove heaves into view, traditionally beautiful beneath its thatched fringe against the rocks and sea. There’s wine waiting on the table, the sun’s out and the doors are open onto a deck large enough to land a helicopter.
Read or break out the board games in the semi-circular window that mimics the cove. Get competitive in the games room over table tennis or darts. Make it an Apple TV night in the cinema room. Enjoy Bluetooth in the bedrooms, Sonos sound around the swimming pool and a sense of wellbeing wherever you wander.
There’s an acre of wild wonder out there before you even touch on Lulworth Cove, which seems to sit at the bottom of the garden, making a geometrically perfect semi-circular statement against the untamed backdrop.
Out towards the ocean, the deck’s the only thing yawning around here. There’s a gas barbie out the back. Sear some steaks in the sunshine, pop a cork and soak up the sea views.
Beneath the deck sits the indoor pool. Eleven metres long by seven metres wide and 1.3 metres deep, it’s got all the space you need, if you’ve got the time. Hours will vanish as kids mess around in water heated to 31 degrees, while toddlers get their own paddling area. Throw open the doors to the garden and bring in the views.
The open-plan living area comes dressed in simple luxury. With spotlights on the ceiling, clean white lines and pillars, and soft sofas that gaze out over the deck to the sea beyond, this is a serene space that perfectly marries traditional and contemporary detailing. Light the fire, tap into the wifi and pour the wine.
Make it a movie night in the cinema room, or head to the games room for table tennis, TV, darts, cards and puzzles. There’s space here to get together in gregarious groups, to breeze out to the deck, or to break out and do your own thing, chat, play, swim and make memories by the English seaside.
They dive for rock oysters in Poole and scallops in Lulworth Bay. Pick them up from farmers’ markets in Dorchester and Wareham. Cook them on the electric hobs and fan ovens or out on the barbie in the briny sea air. Eat around the dining table for 20 or on the deck looking out over the cove.
Want us to pull on our whites and roll up our sleeves? Call up the experts from The Salt Pig in Wareham for hog roasts over logs, barbecues over Purbeck charcoal, sit-down meals, buffets and afternoon teas. Keep the fridge topped up with a tipple or two from The Dorset Wine Co. and goodies from Williams’ Bakery in Wool.
Eating out? Just a skimmed stone from the bay sits Lulworth Cove Inn, home of tanglefoot pie and spice-crusted hake. Beneath its thatch, there’s more local colour on offer from Lulworth’s Castle Inn with Honey and Ashton Press cider-roasted ham and Butcombe beer-battered fish and chips.
Drop in from your coast-path walk at The Square and Compass in Worth Mattravers, a country pub with local beer and cider, live music and a beer garden, or book a table at The Pig on The Beach in Studland for a 25-mile menu that’s true to the micro-seasons and influenced by the coast.
There are just the ten bedrooms here, sleeping 20 adults and sundry children. Manor on the Cove is like the five-star hotel where you pick your own guests. Check in, enjoy the cove, then retire to luxury rooms high above the bay. Pad barefoot across heated floors to contemporary en-suites with walk-in showers.
Bedrooms one to six are superkings sleeping two, while bedrooms seven, eight and nine are also superkings that include rooflights and a ceiling fan for summer comfort. Bedroom ten is a superking that can be found on the ground floor.
Whichever room you choose, you’ll be wrapped in the finest cotton on mattresses that suggest breakfast in bed on a tea-tray. Sleep with the window open to the coastal breeze and the chug of the early-morning fishing smacks.
Kids will only want the wifi for as long as it takes to choose an ice cream (will it be Chunky Monkey or Clotted Cream or Chocoholic Heaven today?), before they take a net down to the rock pools on Lulworth Beach. They’ll return with a bucketful of crabs and shrimps and a smile as wide as the cove itself.
This is the holiday of your childhood that you’d forgotten, bursting with new-found freedoms and salty-fresh gulps of air.
Kids simply skip down to the beach, ready to jump into the waves, forage for fossils and explore the natural playground. A RIB will bounce them over the waves to historic Durdle Door, or go further afield to clamber the giant climbing frames at Monkey World, explore the tanks at the Tank Museum or play in the interactive rock pools of Weymouth’s Sea Life Centre.