Home from Home

We all look forward to visiting family and friends, especially if distance means we don’t see them very often. But not every home has enough room for lots of guests and not every guest wants to get completely immersed in the rough and tumble of everyday family life.

In these instances Greenwood Grange is the perfect haven . Quite a few of our guests are regular visitors who stay with us when they are visiting family and friends in the area and they tell us they really appreciate the home from home feel of our properties.

Grandparents coming to Dorset to visit their children and grandchildren often choose to stay in our small but perfectly formed Abbotsea Cottage. With a separate double bedroom, plenty of storage and a fully fitted kitchen, it is the perfect relaxing hideaway after a busy day with the grandchildren.

Larger families visiting Dorset-based grandparents prefer one of our two or three bedroom cottages such as Melchester or Casterbridge. As with Abbotsea, these cottages all have plenty of room for all the family and a kitchen that is ideal for a family breakfast before heading out for the day or even to host a family dinner for everyone in the evening.

Some of our cottages are dog friendly so everyone can come along to the family reunion.

If you have family already living in the area, you’ll know that Greenwood Grange is situated in the middle of some beautiful countryside. Once you’re here, there’s a wealth of things to do with the family, even if it’s as simple as day on the beach at Weymouth or some shopping in Dorchester. Some family members might be too young to appreciate the works of Thomas Hardy but they’ll still love his cottage – what could be more appropriate than to visit a family home during a family reunion?!

As we’re situated just off the A35 and with good links to both the South East and the West Country, both getting here and getting around whilst you’re here is easy.

So if you’re planning a trip to Dorset to visit family, but you are slightly daunted by the idea of fighting for the bathroom or never being able to get away from noisy children, follow the example of many of our regular guests and stay with us instead. You’ll be glad you did!

Guest blog: Greenwood Grange, an exception to any rule

Recent guest Suzie Smith has written a blog on her stay with us…

There is one place in the world that breaks my first rule of travelling and holidays. Tucked in the glorious Dorset countryside that place is Greenwood Grange. A collection of stone built holiday cottages near Dorchester.

My rule is that the world is too big to return to the same spot twice, so I never return to the city I’ve visited, even if I loved it there. I look for the next adventure around the next corner. But for every rule there is an exception – and for me Greenwood Grange is exactly that.


The cottages

The first time I visited Greenwood Grange was with a larger group of friends, so we stayed in Durbaville. A luxurious eight berth cottage, with plenty of room for two families, but without doubt my favourite aspect had to be the large hot tub in the private, enclosed garden.

This time however, we stayed in the three-bedroom cottage, Casterbridge. As Zoe, the general manager, walked us around showing us various features of the cottage, I looked back at my partner and saw him smiling. The smile was basically saying ‘wow, this is great’.

As soon as Zoe left the cottage he said: “I absolutely love this place. It’s like going on holiday, but arriving home.”

Cookies and coffee for guests

With fresh milk and local Dorset cookies we were able to sit down and enjoy a cuppa before planning our weekend or thinking about food shopping. As we checked in another family were enquiring as to whether their food order from Sainsbury’s had arrived, which is a great way to save yourself the hassle of loading up the car with groceries for your stay. It’s something I must remember to do next time I stay.

Each of the cottages blend an ideal mix of contemporary interiors, with historic cottages. Casterbridge combines a cosy feel with the spaciousness to enable a super king size bed in the master bedroom and an extra long bath that I was able to lie out in full – which is rare!



Having heard about the nearby Yalbury Cottage as THE place to eat locally I was keen to book a table. When I phoned in advance a few days before I was told they were fully booked, in fact I’ve since been told that you may need to weeks, if not months, in advance. So, my advice would be if you’ve booked your holiday, book your table here asap so as not to be disappointed.

At Zoe’s recommendation we visited the local pub, the Blue Vinny, just a few miles down the road from Greenwood Grange. It is a pub, but is predominantly set up for dining, and as such not one I’d revisit simply for a drink.  The menu boasts a wide selection of local produce, but by far the not to miss on the menu is the Blue Vinny sauce. There is a tale to be told about the origins of Blue Vinny – a blue cheese – which you can read on the flyers left on the tables. Personally I don’t like blue cheese, so I was delighted and surprised by the subtle flavour of the sauce, which was a great accompaniment to the steak I had that was cooked to perfection. I perhaps would’ve preferred my vegetables cooked a little less, but that’s a personal preference.

Vew from the cottage



With so much to do at Greenwood Grange it would be easy to hide away and not leave the grounds for your entire stay. We used the bath-warm swimming pool and the games room, but didn’t make time for the tennis courts. We also grabbed a DVD to watch on the first night we arrived, which are available for guests to borrow.

On the Saturday evening, we took a short drive into Poole to watch Al Murray at The Lighthouse theatre. A great night and extremely funny, despite my reservations as I’d never sought him out as a comedian to watch.

We also took a drive along the property hotspot, Sandbanks, and made note of several restaurants worth visiting next time we’re in Dorset.



Dorset has so many amazing walks that you can explore, but as we were tight for time and heading off on the Sunday afternoon we took the easy option and explored Purbeck Woods right on the doorstep of Greenwood Grange.

Cakes at the visitor cafe

During our last visit we took similar steps to Thomas Hardy’s cottage to visit the author’s childhood home. If you’re going on any of the walks nearby, stop for a coffee in the cafe first and try out one of their amazing cakes.



This was my second weekend stay at Greenwood Grange and once again I left feeling I hadn’t quit stayed long enough. There’s so much to see and do in Dorset that this trip was completely different to my last visit, where I enjoyed a glass of wine at a beach cafe in Weymouth.

Dorset is a county that can cater for every and any taste or interest, and Greenwood Grange is the ideal place to base yourself to see it all.

I’m looking forward to going back there in September, when I plan to visit the breath-taking Durdle Door and have a day out in Bournemouth!

Greenwood Grange – A perfect base to explore Dorset

Whether you’re looking for a coastal or countryside walk with breath taking views, dinner in a fantastic restaurant or a fun day out for the whole family, Greenwood Grange is ideally placed in the heart of Dorset as a great base to try it all.

We’ve put together some ideas of things to do and see whilst staying with us…


Perhaps one of the best ways to explore England’s only natural world heritage site is to take a walk around Dorset.

Explore Corfe Castle, which dates back to the 11th century, and take in the village surrounding it of the same name. The National Trust puts on a series of events and activities during the summer months, which are worth taking time out to visit.

Managed by the National Trust are two chalk sea stacks located at Handfast Point, known as Old Harry Rocks. Walkers can expect to see a range of flowers, falcons and butterflies in warmer months.

Here’s a list of the top 10 walks in Dorset.

Days Out

Whether you’re looking for family fun or interested in understanding more about Dorset’s history, there are literally dozens of ways to enjoy a day out locally. Here’s a few of our favourites…

Farmer Palmers – Animals, a fun barn, a bouncy castle, pedal go-karts and so much more. There are literally hours of fun to be had at this family attraction near Poole.

The Tank Museum – Located in Bovington, the museum of the Roya. Tank Regiment and Royal Armoured Corps is a collection of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. You’ll be able to see around 300 vehicles up close in this fantastic exhibition.

Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park will take you on an adventure above and below the ocean.

And here’s a few more ideas from Trip Advisor.

National Trust

There are literally dozens of places to see and things to do in Dorset that are lovingly cared for by the National Trust. From literary gems to the great outdoors you’ll never be stuck for something to do!

Of course, our first recommendation would be to visit Thomas Hardy’s birthplace, which is right on our doorstep. The cottage is open seven days a week until October and takes you inside the modest home where Thomas Hardy grew up and wrote some of his finest works. Directly behind the cottage is Thorncombe Woods and there are great walking trails to explore.

Kingston Lacy is a lavish family home built to resemble an Italian Palace in the rural Dorset countryside. It has a treasure trove of art work and stunning gardens to amble around. There are around 8,500 acres of unspoilt estate, including the Holt Heath National Nature Reserve, which ensure there’s something to see all year round.


What would a trip to the coast be without a visit to the beach? Greenwood Grange is ideally placed close to many of the county’s glorious stretches of sand, pebbles and ocean.

Lulworth Cove is one of the UK’s natural wonders and has been documented as such. It attracts around 500,000 visitors each year and is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s a short walk from Durdle Door, famed for its impressive rock arch formation, which is also great for snorkelling and bathing.

Weymouth Beach has miles of family friendly golden sandy beaches and was recently voted the best in the UK and the ninth best in Europe! A little further away, but still close enough for a day trip is the ever-popular Bournemouth beach.

Check out this list of the top 10 beaches in Dorset for more information.


Yalbury Cottage is ranked the number one restaurant in Dorset on Trip Advisor. It’s lounge and restaurant are full of character with oak beamed ceilings and inglenook fireplaces. Enjoy fresh ingredients and seasonal local produce.

No 6 in Dorchester is a contemporary restaurant offering a range of locally sourced produce. It’s hugely popular with locals, which is testament in itself. The menu is on the website, but changes several times a week in line with ingredients.

If a fantastic beach café is more your cup of tea, try The Cabin at Swanage. Delicious cream teas and breath taking views await.

Weddings at Greenwood Grange

Every bride hopes their wedding will be exactly the way they’ve always pictured it. But imagine if you could have your wedding entirely your way, in your own secluded village-style location…

At Greenwood Grange you can have exactly that – set up a marquee in our glorious open spaces, invite your own caterers to prepare the food on-site, stay in the beautiful stone built cottages, relax in your own private hot tub and enjoy our indoor pool before or after the your big day. You can ensure your wedding is a private, intimate celebration with loved ones here at Greenwood Grange.

We’ve put together some thoughts on how we can help make your wedding wonderful…

Our glorious grounds

Nestled in the beautiful Dorset countryside Greenwood Grange is a collection of stone built cottages set amongst gorgeous greenery and flora.

Our spacious grounds can accommodate large marquees to welcome up to 150 guests and will also provide varied and picturesque surroundings for your wedding-day photos. It is a unique venue that will allow you to not only start your day with us but also enjoy the celebrations late into the evening.

A grand entrance

Whether you’re arriving and leaving by car through our grand gates, or stepping into a horse-drawn carriage you can be assured of the grandeur of the occasion – we can happily recommend the perfect transportation.

Here’s a photo of one of our recent brides leaving to take her vows in a stunning carriage…


Finding one place for all your guests to stay can be tricky, but at Greenwood Grange we can accommodate up to 78 of your friends and family.

Whether it’s two people looking to stay in a cottage, to friends and family wanting a touch a luxury with a hot tub in their garden, or even a larger group hoping to stay together in our grand Henchard property, there’s something to suit everyone.

All of our properties are self-catering at Greenwood Grange, so why not stay for a few days and enjoy a break away from home.

Henchard Exterior


Our larger properties have fantastic kitchen facilities, so if you’re looking to prepare your own wedding food you’ll have ample room to do so.

If you’d like to bring in an outside caterer then we can recommend a range suppliers – from gourmet chefs, to silver service caterers and even a supplier who will prepare a hog roast on site.

Bridal hair and makeup

Enjoy a relaxed morning on the day of your wedding by stepping into the hot tub, sipping champagne and waiting for your own personal hairdresser and make up specialist to come direct to your door.

Greenwood Grange works with several highly-recommended and award winning make-up artists and professionals who use only the very best products to ensure you look as beautiful as you deserve to on your special day.


Capturing every moment, every laugh, tear and smile throughout your gorgeous day is the art of a fantastic photographer. We have some of the best of best who will encapsulate your perfect day for you to keep forever.

Younger guests

If younger guests are invited to the wedding then what better way to keep them entertained in our play yurt. Filled with toys to keep the little ones busy – whatever the weather.

If the sun is shining then they can make the most of our outdoor play area and there’s even a giant trampoline to use up their boundless energy!

At the end of a long day why not let the adults enjoy their evening by booking a DBS registered childminder. Just let us know in advance and we can take care of the booking for you.


We offer a concierge service to look after the details that make the difference. From flowers to champagne and everything in between, just tell us what you need and we’ll do all we can to make it happen.

For more information on all of the above call us on 01305 268874.

Reasons to Book Your Dorset Break NOW!

Busy lives, demanding careers and family commitments means making the most of your holiday is an absolute must. With so many options to consider, both at home and abroad, it can be a time consuming task looking for the perfect place to unwind. So we’ve put together a definitive list of reasons to book your break to Dorset and stay with us at Greenwood Grange…

Avoid disappointment

Greenwood Grange is extremely popular during the summer months and at this time of year we’re already looking quite full. Winning Self Catering Provider of Year at both the Dorset Tourism Awards and the South West Tourism Awards has been a great boost for us making us more popular than ever.

The earlier you book your holiday, the better, as you’ve more chance of getting the dates that you want.

Save money on travel

Once your holiday home is booked, you can save even more money by booking your travel early too. Great Western Railway operates an advance booking fares system so the earlier you book, the cheaper it is.


With mile upon mile of Jurassic Coast to explore, amazing walks, stunning views, great food, fantastic accommodation and so much more, Dorset is a real-life holiday utopia.

You’ll be sure to make your friends and family jealous when they see your holiday photos. Dorset is continually growing in popularity and has been voted one of the ten best places to go on holiday in the UK. More and more of us are choosing to spend their precious family holiday time in the UK and as Dorset is such a favourite, we are seeing an increase in the number of visitors each year. Staycation isn’t just a trend anymore; it’s here to stay.

Have something to look forward to!

Booking a holiday early in the year also gives you something to look forward to. Not everyone suffers from the winter blues but at this time of year, most people long for warm sunny days. Knowing a holiday is on the horizon is a great way to stay positive about the things coming up.

Don’t miss those sell out events

To really build the anticipation, you could also book some things to do while you’re here

What’s On in Dorset http://www.whatsonindorset.co.uk/events.aspx?m=1 lists events in the county month by month so you’ll never be stuck for something to do while you’re visiting Greenwood Grange.

Visit Dorset’s gems

Dorset is definitely a destination holiday, with so many places to visit while you’re here. For fans of the Jurassic Coast make sure you visit Durdle Door for one of the most breath taking views. The Tank Museum brings the history of tanks and tank crews to life in nearby Weymouth, while children will be hugely entertained at Monkey World and Farmer Palmer’s. We’ve miles of sandy beaches in Weymouth and Bournemouth and if you’re a fan of beautiful gardens you shouldn’t miss Athelhampton House and Gardens in Dorchester.

The best restaurants require advanced booking

Finding places that serve fabulous food can always make your holiday extra special. Food lovers will enjoy the wealth of local pubs and nearby restaurants including Restaurant 43, rated number one on Trip Advisor, the Dorset Burger Company and Yalbury Cottage, which boasts creative French menus. Avoid disappointment by booking early at these popular restaurants.

The Brexit effect

Exchange rates for the pound against the dollar and euro are at some of their lowest ever levels. Make your money go further by staying in the UK!

Now all that’s left for you to do is the easy part – book your break at Greenwood Grange for 2017. Don’t forget to sign up to our emails on our website as our regular mailers will give you inspiration for things to do and places you’ve seen once you’ve booked your stay.

Book your stay online


Give us a call on: 01305 268874

Greenwood Grange Shortlisted for South West Tourism Awards

Celebrations are back in full swing here at Greenwood Grange after news that our acclaimed holiday village is to represent Dorset in the South West’s Tourism Awards.

The shortlist announcement comes just weeks after our collection of self-catering cottages won gold for the third time at the regional Dorset Tourism Awards.

Manager, Zoe Belcher, said:

“Winning gold again in Dorset was a fantastic achievement in itself, but we are delighted to be attending the regional South West Tourism Awards and we hope that the judges recognise the team and outstanding facilities here at Greenwood Grange.”

The South West Tourism Awards bring together the best of the best from Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, Bath, Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.


Judging is carried out by an independent panel of past winners, industry leaders and experts in their field. They are each chosen for their impartiality, experience and suitability for each category. Entries for the awards this year have once again broken all records, with more than 600 businesses competing across 24 categories.

Zoe said:

“We know that we will be standing alongside the very best that the region has to offer by way of self-catering accommodation and we pride ourselves in beating all expectations for our guests so we hope the judges feel the same way.”

The three finalists in each category were announced earlier this week; Greenwood Grange will once again be competing in the Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year category.

Greenwood Grange is a collection of beautiful stone-built properties nestled in the Dorchester countryside, just five minutes from Thomas Hardy’s birthplace.

It’s perfect for couples, families and groups and offers a range of properties sleeping anywhere from two to 12 guests. Many of the cottages are dog friendly and there is a huge range of facilities on site including tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, badminton, a games room and a play yurt for younger visitors.


A range of renovations and upgrades to the cottages and grounds have been undertaken over the past 12-18 months. One of the key criteria for these awards is that a business can show it is constantly striving to improve.

If we’re successful and win in this category, we will then be eligible to be nominated to represent South West England at the national VisitEngland Awards next year.

Our team are now hoping to emulate our recent success at the illustrious ceremony in Bristol on February the 2nd.

Greenwood Grange Wins GOLD at the Dorset Tourism Awards


We are absolutely over the moon to announce that we have won gold at the Dorset Tourism Awards in the self-catering category!

We have won ‘Dorset’ gold 3 times; 2013, 2014  and this year, plus Bronze in the South West awards in 2013/14

Successful businesses in the Dorset Awards will now be fast tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2017 and then possibly on to the National Visit England Awards later in 2017! Wish us luck!

A big thank you to you; our wonderful guests!