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Fond memories of Knoll House by Anthony Grant

A long-serving Knoll House guest shares his experiences of holidaying at the hotel

"It was so nice for me to revisit the old place that is Knoll House Hotel as I have so many wonderful memories of glorious childhood and teenage holidays there.   

As you can see, I was tiny when my parents started to holiday every Easter (until I was eighteen). My father was a dental surgeon and we lived in South Kensington. From the stories I recall, he did the teeth of the Ferguson family (who used to own the hotel) and I think our holidays at the hotel might have been some form of barter for treatments.  

From my earliest memories onwards, I recall the magical tingle of starting each visit with the ubiquitous trip across the Sandbanks Ferry. It was quite a long journey from London in those days and excitement grew as we approached what seemed like another world of sandy roads and wild countryside.    

We used to stay for around ten days which invariably included Easter (with its abundance of chocolate) and my birthday in April. And every year I met old friends and made new ones to whom I would spend the rest of the year writing letters and asking if they would be returning next year.    

You may recognise the old Purbeck Pirate from the photo below which was the centre of the play universe for our gang, I broke my nose falling off the ship - but it was all great fun! 

When I was very small it seemed a requirement to bring a nanny along who would feed me in the children’s dining room, whilst my older sister was actually allowed to eat in the main dining room with my parents. It was very exciting to finally be old enough to join them and I particularly remember the enjoyment of ‘dressing for dinner’ and donning my first 1970’s flared suit and platform shoes.   

They say smell is our strongest sense, so I was so happy the other day when I finally returned to Knoll House in March, 2023 to find that the creaky corridor down to the dining room still retains its unique aroma. Our mothers treated it like a grand entrance to a fashion show, eyeing each other in their latest creations every evening."