Traditional scrumpy will forever be associated with the West Country, and the artisanal cider industry in particular is highly regarded in Dorset. Weekend breaks to the area should at least include tasting the local product, but for those who want to discover more, here are some suggestions for a cider tour of the county.
Dorset Nectar Orchard and Tasting Tour
The award-winning Dorset Nectar Cider is a great example of a drink that’s traditionally produced, processing high-quality local apples using only the original methods. That’s not to say that it shies away from innovation, though – this cider farm is known for creating a whole range of delicious new blends. On top of that, there’s a cider farm tour and tasting package, which allows visitors to learn all about the effort that goes into making some of the best cider in Dorset. Weekend breaks make for a perfect opportunity to take the tour, which is offered on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 11am. And, of course, there’s an opportunity to taste the resultant tipple afterwards.
Millhouse Cider Museum
Looking to take a deeper dive into the scrumpy-making heritage of Dorset? Weekend breaks focused on the drink should definitely include a stop at the Millhouse Cider Museum. See how the drink was made throughout history and find out all about its cultural significance and the rural surroundings in which it was originally produced, with a range of exhibits showcasing traditional equipment and how it was used.
If this all leaves you wondering how the end product would have tasted in the past, you’re in luck: you’ll also get an opportunity to sip at a range of ciders prepared using authentic historical methods. If you find yourself enjoying this traditional flavour, there’s also a shop where you can purchase a more generous measure to enjoy.
Museums and tours are all well and good, but sometimes all you want is the chance to sip a pint in relaxed surroundings. Why not do it at the beautiful Castle Inn in West Lulworth? Close by to Lulworth Cove, one of Dorset’s most striking landmarks, the pub is perfectly located amid beautiful Purbeck countryside.
The inn itself, a classical sixteenth-century thatched pub, is an impressive sight in itself and makes for the perfect place to unwind. A range of local ciders and real ales are available here, as well as delicious locally sourced food – this place is not to be missed.
Square and Compass
The Square and Compass in Worth Matravers is another brilliant place for cider-lovers to stop off in Dorset. Weekend breaks just aren’t complete without a pint or two at this quirky traditional establishment, where the variety of drinks is substantial. You’ll be delighted by the range of real ales and of course local ciders, including some that are manufactured by the owner of the pub, which are perfectly complemented by the venue’s pies and pasties. A beer garden and other outdoor seating means that you have a great view of the gorgeous landscape around you, and there’s often live bands playing here. There’s even a small museum of fossils and archaeological finds, assembled by the owner.
With so many places for cider fans to visit in Dorset, weekend breaks couldn’t be easier to fill.
Michael Paul is the Managing Director of Michael Paul Holidays, a holiday property agency offering a handpicked range of accommodation in wonderful UK locations. Whether you are looking for the best Dorset weekend breaks or the cosiest cottages and log cabins in Scotland, he and his team will find you that perfect property for an unforgettable trip.