My husband and I love walking but have never been tempted by group hikes. We preferred to walk independently and not be herded about with strangers.
How narrow minded we were! A recent stay at Lulworth Lodge, run by HF Holidays, dispelled all our prejudices. The Lodge has been recently renovated since becoming part of HF Holidays portfolio, and offers relaxing and comfortable accommodation just yards from the beautiful Lulworth Cove beach.
We stayed on a Country House Break, which meant we enjoyed full board, but spent our days doing our own thing. Meanwhile the lodge was hosting a guided walking group who were bravely attempting the South West Coast path in Dorset.
During our stay we listened in to the briefings each evening for the Coastal walk and began to wish we could join in. Everything was highly organised with taxis arriving each morning to ferry the group to their starting point for the day, and then drive them back to the Lodge when they had completed the hike. The group leader, John, was a fountain of knowledge about the area and we quickly realised the group were getting more out of their walks than we were.
We bonded with the group, albeit as outsiders, around the large communal dining tables at breakfast and dinner. Everyone was so friendly, including the hard working staff, which contributed to a great atmosphere with lots of laughs. There were some couples, and quite a few singles, and most had been holidaying with HF for many years. We could see why – the food was excellent, hearty cooked breakfasts with plenty of choice and interesting 3 course dinners each evening. Plus a packed lunch to take out each day that included freshly made sandwiches of your choice, snacks, fresh fruit and cakes.
Despite being on our own, we still had a lovely weekend and were able to borrow maps and walking information from the Lodge to plan our days. Lulworth Cove is so pretty, even more so in the early morning and evening when the day-trippers have left and we could enjoy strolling the few yards to the beach and not see a soul. During our 2 days we also walked to the famous Durdle Door and explored Corfe Castle, but both felt that there was so much left to see that we are certain to go back one day.
HF Holidays run a comprehensive selection of Guided Walking Holidays and Country House Breaks throughout the UK and abroad. There is a minimum 2 nights stay on Country House Breaks and prices start at just£149 per person per night in 2015. Terms and conditions apply so see their website for details and offers.