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From lavish family seats to world-war defences, explore the past with these historical days out in Dorset.
Studland and the surrounding area have a rich history. The hotel itself dates back to the turn of the century, and has housed dukes, celebrities and soldiers over the years. Below you’ll find some of our favourite historical places to visit in Dorset.
From Saxon stronghold to Norman fortress, Corfe Castle has seen history unfold for a thousand years. Now managed by the National Trust, the castle is one of the most popular places to visit in Dorset. Walk the castle remains and the surrounding Purbeck Hills, or come for a guided tour around the ruins. The National Trust also puts on events, such as storytellers and nature workshops, which make for great days out.
Standing in the centre of Poole Harbour is Brownsea Island, home to an abundance of bird- and wildlife, including the elusive red squirrel; exploring Brownsea Island is a wonderful way to reconnect with nature. The island also has a long and colourful history, featuring Vikings, castles, pirates, and civil and world wars. For such a small island, there really is so much to see and do.
The beaches of Studland Bay were used as a training ground for the D-Day landings, and were fortified with defences such as dragon’s teeth – square concrete blocks with pyramidal roofs – which were built to prevent tanks from advancing inland. Sir Winston Churchill himself came to inspect the beach defences, and took tea at Knoll House. You can explore this history with the National Trust’s Second World War walk.
Kingston Lacy was the seat of the Bankes family, who built Knoll House at the beginning of the 20th century. The Bankes were the most powerful aristocratic family in Dorset for over 400 years, and the lavish home they left behind is steeped in history and heritage. With the stately home, impressive gardens and a café, Kingston Lacy is a great choice for a day out in Dorset.
The home and refuge of Lawrence of Arabia
TE Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, retreated from the spotlight to Clouds Hill in Dorset. Lawrence chose the cottage, in part, as a place where he could escape his new-found celebrity. You can visit Clouds Hill which is a National Trust property and only a 25 minute drive away from Knoll House.