Summer Lodge Hotel
Evershot, Dorset, England
Deep inside rural Dorset, Summer Lodge is a Relais & Chateaux member and the quintessential English country house hotel. A fabulous spa, terrific dining and countless other pleasures make Summer Lodge an idyllic retreat for exploring Thomas Hardy country.
At a Glance
Quintessential English luxury away-from-it-all country house hotel
Superb location in Thomas Hardy country and for exploring Jurassic Coast
Gorgeously decorated rooms and suites
Sensational dining and one of the UK's finest wine collections
Take it easy in the spa or enjoy the wide range of outdoor activities
To start planning your vacation to Summer Lodge Hotel
The charming small village of Evershot, immortalised in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, lies hidden away among the gloriously rolling hills of old Wessex, half way between Dorchester and Yeovil and within easy striking distance of the dramatic shoreline and fossils of the Jurassic Coast. In this sublime setting, you can find the wonderfully inviting small luxury retreat of Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, voted in 2015 as Condé Nast readers' favorite UK hotel, where both couples and families can enjoy an authentic rural escape away from the Big Smoke or rest a while on the way to or from Devon and Cornwall.
Summer Lodge itself is a listed Georgian house surrounded by meticulously tended gardens filled with bronze sculptures, a croquet lawn and shady nooks ideal for lolling around with a long drink and a battered copy of Far From the Madding Crowd. Next door a 600-acre deer park makes a fine place for a country stroll and discovering the abundant wildlife and flowers.
Inside you’ll discover the embodiment of English country house style and charm. There are just 24 rooms and suites, each individually and appealingly decorated and full of lovely touches from the crisp bed linens warmed by hot water bottles and REN bathroom products to plates of homemade shortbread and scented candles. While it’s easy to disconnect and squirrel yourself away into the soothing rhythms of Dorset country life at Summer Lodge, all the technological trappings of modern life are there for you should you need them.
Dining at Summer Lodge is simply memorable. Drawing on stunning local produce such as foraged wild mushrooms and freshly-landed wild sea bass from the English Channel, head chef Steven Titman conjures up dish after divinely tempting dish while master sommelier Eric Zweibel is on hand to recommend the most astute pairings. As you sip your wine from a cellar that stocks over 1,400 different labels or tuck into one of the best cheeseboards around, all served by a waiting staff that is both polished and friendly, you’ll congratulate yourself on the wisdom of your decision to stay at Summer Lodge.
Culinary adventures include a special wine tasting with Eric, foraging in the woods and along the coast with local expert John Wright, and, if you’re staying a few days, why not stroll into Evershot one evening and enjoy a meal and a pint of ale with the locals at the traditional sixteenth-century Acorn Inn, complete with its old beams, flagstone floors and crackling open fire?
Perhaps you’ve come to Summer Lodge to be pampered? Then wander over to the spa and let yourself be anointed in essential oils and botanical extracts. Perhaps you fancy something more active? In which case there’s an all-weather tennis court, a heated indoor pool and a state-of-the-art gym. Away from the hotel, there are excellent walking and cycling trails to follow, as well as the traditional country pursuits of hunting, shooting and fishing to enjoy in season, all of which can be arranged by the hotel.
Out and about, we can arrange a guided walk along one of Europe’s most spectacular coastlines looking for dinosaur fossils and marvelling at the crazed geology of the Jurassic Coast, a private tour of beautiful Minterne House and Gardens, former home of Sir Walter Raleigh, and even a visit to meet the internationally renowned master furniture-maker John Makepeace. And, perhaps most aptly of all, a personalized tour exploring the evocative literary connections of the towns, villages and countryside of Thomas Hardy’s Dorset.
Striking and charming in equal measure, the 24 rooms and suites at Summer Lodge are a delight to retreat to after a day of exploring the Dorset countryside. Each is warm and inviting and filled with sumptuous cushions, finished off beautifully with rich textiles, fresh flowers, carefully selected artwork and the signature homemade shortbread.
All rooms are fitted out discreetly with modern amenities including heating and air-conditioning, flat screen TVs, DVD players, electronic safes and all come with complimentary WiFi access. REN toiletries can be found in all of the bathrooms, along with plush bathrobes, hairdryers and enticingly scented candles.
The two Suites and the Master Bedroom have all the appeal of the other 20 rooms with a little extra space, options for interconnecting rooms, complimentary newspapers and are all serviced twice daily. For couples, the Ivy Cottage comes highly recommended with its private garden, open-air hot tub and cosy log fire offering peace and privacy whilst still making the most of the five star service enjoyed throughout the hotel.
Children of all ages are welcomed at Summer Lodge and are catered for faultlessly by the thoughtful staff. No specific child care facilities are available but a number of added extras mean that there is plenty to keep them entertained.
Little extras include board games and children's DVDs, a Nintendo Wii and a Playstation, Children's croquet and junior tennis coaching, bicycles for rent, picnics can be provided in a pop-up tent, and at certain times children are allowed in the indoor pool. Safety kits can be provided to avoid any accidents such as wall socket covers and cupboard door locks.
Harmonising flavors to perfection, the dining experience at Summer is Lodge is a memorable part of any stay; traditional English ingredients are blended with modern European dishes to create delicious offerings, all paired beautifully with hand selected wines by the hotel's talented sommelier. Evenings bring with them a choice of dining a la carte, from the tasting menu or even from the Surprise menu if you feel a little adventurous. For something delightfully English then afternoon teas and traditional cream teas can be served in the conservatory, the drawing room or al fresco on the patio in the height of British Summer.
Those in need of further indulgence can make use of the hotel's spa, addressing aches and pains and soothing tired muscles with a range of pampering treatments. The indoor pool, all-weather tennis court, bicycles and croquet lawn also provide opportunities for slightly more active relaxation.
Activities in the English countryside abound; enjoy walking, cycling, horse riding, shooting, paint balling, fishing and golf. Those with a taste for culinary adventures can embark on foraging experiences, wine appreciation workshops, wine tours and cookery classes.
Dorset itself and the surrounding areas are just great for a number of family activities. Children can get up close to a wide variety of primates at the famous Monkeyworld, and if they are fans of all things cute and cuddly then the Teddy Bear Museum is another great option for an afternoon trip. Corfe Castle and the nearby Model Village are firm family favorites, and trips by steam train on Swanage railway are equally popular.
Visit coastal highlights such as Lulworth Cove, Chesil Beach and Old Harry's Rocks, or if you prefer to get your creative juices flowing then woodwork or painting workshops can also be found nearby.
Location & Directions
Evershot, Dorset, England
Summer Lodge is located in the village of Evershot in Dorset.
When to go
It is very difficult to predict the weather in the United Kingdom - in the summer from May to late September is generally seen as the most pleasant time to visit. Rainfall is difficult to predict - but the UK does not receive as much as many are led to believe! In the winters, temperatures do fall, but there is nothing better than finding a remote pub with a roaring fire to sit beside after a long walk in the country.