The Pig on the Beach, Dorset, England

Author: Lydia Bell

The newest Pig hotel in England is really a restaurant with rooms - and its garden-to-plate principles are as impressive as the views.

The Pig on the Beach has the classiest sea views in Dorset: across bobbing fishing boats to Old Harry Rocks. Opened in June, this is the latest in The Pig hotels' litter and joins the three-year-old Pig in the New Forest, in south-west England, The Pig In The Wall, at Southampton, and The Pig Near Bath.

About two and a half hours' drive from London and overlooking Studland Bay, we think this clifftop Pig has the best location of all. It's the former Manor House Hotel, leased from the National Trust, and co-owners Robin Hutson and David Elton have applied their trademark informal style to the conversion of this Arts and Crafts villa, along with intelligent service and a ferocious commitment to food provenance.

There are 23 bedrooms and a couple of sequestered outside bedrooms - The Lookout and The Bothy overlook a walled garden and the sea. Guests can wander off to two shepherd's huts in a meadow for massages using Bamford products.

For all its comforts, though, The Pig on the Beach is essentially a restaurant with rooms - and, oh, what a restaurant. The garden-to-plate ethos is executed with rigour; nothing hits the table that hasn't been raised or foraged in the hotel's kitchen garden or within a 40-kilometre radius - fennel, pea shoots, garden beans, Isle of Wight tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and more. Other local specialties include Dorset whelks and Purbeck eggs.

There's private dining for 12 in the thatched Roundhouse, and the bar, with its floorboards made from railway sleepers, is a perfect evening bookend.

The only caveat is the Pig's popularity: you might well secure a room, and pigs might fly, too.

The Pig on the Beach, rooms from $252. Manor House, Manor Road, Studland, Dorset.







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