A visitor’s guide to Beaminster
PUBLISHED: 16:21 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:21 01 July 2019
Just up the road from Bridport, Beaminster has grown around the bubbling streams and springs that abound in this area. We pick the best things to see and do whilst you’re visiting
The town square is surrounded by gorgeous honey-coloured stone houses dating from the late-18th and early-19th century. Shops range from fine furnishings to butcher and baker, and nearby Washingpool Farm Shop has an impressive range of local produce.
Beaminster is mentioned in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles under the guise of 'Emminster'. Gertrude Bugler, Hardy's choice to play the role of Tess in the stage play, lived in Beaminster. It was her mother Augusta, a local milkmaid young Hardy had admired from afar, who inspired the heroine of his novel.
Most noted for…
Buckham Fair, a vintage-themed dog and pony show held on Martin and Philippa Clunes' farm at Buckham Down (buckhamfair.co.uk). Every August Martin decides who has the waggiest tail or best trick in the novelty dog show. Over the last decade Buckham has raised over half a million pounds for local charities, though they are having a year off in 2019.
Mapperton House & Gardens
Just south-east of Beaminster, this is home to the Montagu family headed up by the Earl of Sandwich. The Jacobean manor house has provided a splendid backdrop for a number of films including Bathsheba Everdene's farm in the 2015 film Far from the Madding Crowd. Open to the public (mapperton.com), it hosts a number of events throughout the year including yoga retreats run by Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, who writes the Truly Julie column in Dorset Magazine.
Held at the end of June, this festival combines community events with music performances from world class musicians, exhibitions, talks and Shakespeare plays in the garden (beaminsterfestival.com).
This award-winning venue on The Square offers brunch, lunch and dinner with its ever changing menu that is a delicious celebration of seasonal Dorset ingredients. At least 85% are sourced within a 15 mile radius of their kitchen.
Boutique hotel with 13 individually styled en-suite bedrooms - from cool modern to classic English. Chef Chris Staines and his partner Silvana Bandini have made this a foodie heaven with many dishes on their a la carte and small plates menu featuring ingredients from the gardens of this 13th century property.
Bluebells in nearby Hooke Woods
Home to Hooke Park the Architectural Association School's Woodland Campus and established in 1983 by world-renowned furniture designer John Makepeace, who lives in Beaminster, its campus buildings reflect a fascinating array of experimental timber construction techniques (hookepark.aaschool.ac.uk).
Visit Beaminster Museum on Whitcombe Road to find out about the history of linen and woollen manufacture here, using locally grown flax and wool. The tower of St Mary's Church, one of the highest in Dorset, has carvings of a mill used in the flax trade and a man with a fuller's bat.
Beaminster was the boyhood home of the arctic explorer, naturalist and author Samuel Hearne (1745- 1792), believed to be one of the inspirations for the Samuel Taylor Colridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Doc Martin star Martin Clunes and his family have lived here for over a decade. Martin can often be seen riding his Clydesdale horses around Beaminster.