The chain of Pig hotels across southwest England has been making waves since opening its doors in Brockenhurst, Hampshire only a couple of years back. Garden to table food philosophies, to-die-for interiors that totally redefine the notion of classic country house hotels and an overall air of informal elegance has been pulling crowds from all over the British Isles ever since. First there was The Pig hotel in Brockenhurst. Next came in The Pig in the Wall in Southampton; just three months ago we saw the fabulous Pig near Bath open and in June The Pig on The Beach flung its doors open. Located in Dorset’s heavenly village of Studland on the Jurassic Coast, it is causing more excitement than ever.
Arguably one of the most idyllic villages in the country, Studland is famous as the summer bolthole of Enid Blyton who would book into legendary Knoll House Hotel and spend the warmer months writing. From the multimillionaire properties of Sandbanks (which seem a million miles away despite being up the road) one jumps on a chain ferry (which takes both passengers and cars) across to the magical Isle of Purbeck, a peninsular that is home to stunning Shell Bay, historical Corfe Castle and home of the latest Pig, Studland. The surrounding beaches are powdery, untouched and fringed with old-fashioned beach huts. Children can play in relative safety thanks to the shallow, very calm waters of the bay and the views across Harry’s Rock are the stuff of picture postcards. It is hard to imagine such places still exist in this day and age, but it is a slice of heaven. I am lucky enough to live here so I am, admittedly, biased though I count my blessings daily for ending up in such a spot.
The Pig on The Beach
So, come off the chain ferry as it arrives at Shell Bay, follow the road up to Studland and you’ll find The Pig tucked along the edge of the sea with Isle of Wight views, just next to a local favourite, The Banks Arms. What was once a well-loved but slightly dilapidated hotel has recently been transformed. The whole village has been buzzing with the renovations that have been taking place in recent weeks. Small cottages dot the edge of the main hotel (totalling 23 rooms in all), a sweeping garden with wooden communal tables for drinks looks straight out across the water, and the dining room has both indoor and outdoor seating which, given the weather we’ve had recently, is being put to great use.
Eating and sleeping
As with all The Pig properties, food is either grown on site or supposedly brought in from no more than 25 miles away. The usual meaty favourites feature, but there are expected seafood extras such as crab risotto and accompaniments of samphire, too. Children can enjoy a wonderful array of healthy choices on the kid’s menu or order anything off the adult menu in half portions if they wish. And as with all the others, The Pig on the Beach perfectly blends a stunning interior design that appeals to any self-confessed aesthete, while retaining an informality that makes it inviting for younger guests. The surrounding gardens and the beautiful culinary garden are rife for exploration, making this a particularly good option at lunchtime. They can run around until the plates hit the table and you can sit back and enjoy a chilled glass of Rosé in the meantime.
And while the idea of 23 intimate rooms in a small country hotel may not initially appeal with children, The Pig on the Beach is as family-friendly as the rest of the litter, and ideally located for a family trip. Between the surrounding beaches and wonderful walks, the inviting atmosphere of the hotel and the endless children’s activities in nearby areas, Studland may well become a top spot favourite for both summers and winters to come.
Be warned: the hotel is currently fully booked so if you read this and decide you want to go, be prepared to book ahead of time.
Read our review of The Pig near Bath here.
For more info visit the hotel’s website here.