Our Time Out London Summer Series and the summer have now drawn to a close (sob) but the adventure doesn't stop there. We will be exploring all through the autumn and winter and will even venture beyond the M25! This week we are kicking off with a ride on Marc's home turf - from Bournemouth to Wareham, via Studland, Corfe Castle and Swanage.
Marc did this ride a couple of weeks ago but it is a beautiful ride to do all year round. Bournemouth is easily accessible on the train from all over the South of England so this is a great day trip down to the coast. What's more, it takes in Poole Harbour which just so happens to be the world's second largest natural harbour after Sydney. Nice!
Before starting any bike ride, fuelling up is a must. Marc is Bournemouth born and bred and his favourite place to start the day is South Coast Roast. This little cafe will get you sorted with everything from coffee and cake to a bite of breakfast. Stop here on your way down towards the sea from the train station.
Once on the Promenade, Marc headed westwards towards Sandbanks beach. This road (and the one that it becomes) will take you all the way down to the ferry terminal, so sit back, relax, take in the view and breathe in the fresh sea air! The ferry makes the 20 minute journey across to Studland all day, all year long, and a place on it is yours for the princely sum of £1.
Studland marks the start of England's stunning Jurassic Coast: a World Heritage Site, and rightfully so. On arrival in Studland head onwards over the hills to Swanage, or stop for a bite to eat at The Bankes Arms. The Bankes Arms is a lovely pub which has a cosy interior if you need somewhere to warm up in winter, or a huge garden to bask in and admire the view from in the summer. Whenever you visit, try the ale.
From Studland, head up to Swanage. Save some energy for a couple of big hills! If you haven't stopped already, Swanage is a great place to pick up a picnic or a bag of fish and chips (when in Rome...). Enter Durlston Country Park and take a break from the saddle with a walk down to the shore. If the weather is fine, sit on the rocks (maybe climb them too) and take in the beauty of the rocky coastline. If the weather is very fine, take a bathing suit and jump in!
From Durlston Country Park, head onwards to Wareham via Corfe Castle. Corfe Castle is a one thousand year old castle which is now, as you might expect a one thousand year old castle to be, in ruins. Buy a ticket from the National Trust if you want to take a closer look, or stop at one of Corfe Castle's many tea rooms for a warming drink if you have had a swim. Dorset's neighbours Devon and Cornwall may claim cream tea as their own, but rumour has it (Marc says) that Dorset serves a pretty delectable dish too.
Get back in the saddle for the final leg - a beautiful cycle through the Hartland Moor National Nature Reserve to Wareham. From Wareham you have two options - jump on the train home (there are direct trains back to Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton and London from there) - or ride back to Bournemouth. Marc tells us that the Wareham to Bournemouth leg isn't particularly exciting, so it may be worth spending some extra time walking in Durlston Country Park or elsewhere on the ride, and then taking the train from Wareham.
Check out the GPX file for this route here.