Explore Bridport and the West Dorset Local Area

Groves in Bridport and Little Groves in Beaminster are surrounded by rolling green hills, a stunning coastline, quintessential country villages, and bustling market towns. 

Read on for our top ideas to make a trip to Groves a whole day of 'girt lush' Dorset fun for all ages.

Catch some sea air at West Bay

The pretty Dorset harbour of West Bay is under a mile away from Groves, and always worth a visit.  With a wonderful combination of stunning Jurassic cliffs, picture perfect coastal cottages, and a working harbour it's a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike. 

A range of kiosks, cafes and restaurants at the bay mean you'll have plenty of food options for eating in or take-away; the whole Bridport area is a foodie delight and West Bay is no exception.

Two picturesque piers and the South West Coastal Path offer routes to stretch your legs.  Don't be put off if it's bad weather, West Bay is equally as stunning in the winter as the summer.  Turn up early enough and you might catch a glimpse of the hardy Bridport Bluetits taking a swim off the East Beach, not for the faint hearted!


Beautiful Beaminster

Small but perfectly formed, Little Groves is on the outskirts of Beaminster, a fittingly small but perfectly formed Dorset town. The shops front on to a town square and are mostly independents meaning you can have an interesting browse around.  Beaminster has a lovely church and if historic houses appeal then Mapperton House & Gardens, a short drive to the east, are worth a look.

The area is surrounded by interesting villages such as Stoke Abbot, Corscombe and Broadwindsor and there are wonderful walks stretching out in every direction.

Beaminster has a strong artistic community which is reflected all around, and if you catch Dorset Arts Week in May you'll be well rewarded with amazing talent to admire.



Brilliantly bustling Bridport

Travel inland from Groves and you'll find the town of Bridport, which holds a traditional street market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  We're biased but this small town is a firm favourite and others seem to agree as it's often ranked one of the UK's best locations to live or visit.

Perhaps it's the selection of independent retailers lining South Street, West Street and East Street selling gifts, homewares, hats, menswear, shoes, records and more.  Possibly the fantastic butchers shops, artisan bakers and well-stocked health food stores.  Or the handmade gelato, street food stalls and wide range of top notch eateries.  The Antiques Quarter is also a must-see, keep an eye out for the monthly Sunday markets on St Michael's Trading Estate.

With Colmers Hill framed in the background, Bridport Museum, a peaceful library, and well kept town gardens there's plenty to do away from the shops too.  Or sit in Bucky Doo Square and simply soak up the atmosphere.



Go west - Charmouth & Lyme Regis

We're on the Jurassic Coast which means fossil hunting options are plentiful, none better than Charmouth beach.  In the summer you can often find guided tours for keen fossil hunters, and the wide open beach lends itself to walking, relaxing and adventures.  This is also a popular spot for stand-up paddleboarding, swimming and kayaking although visitors should always take note of the tides and sea state before venturing in.

Further west is the lovely seaside town of Lyme Regis, you'll recognise the harbour wall - The Cobb - from a multitude of pictures, films and online videos.  John Fowles based his novel The French Lieutenant's Woman in the town and The Cobb features heavily in it's symbolism.  Lyme Regis is right by the sea, so it's easy to seamlessly switch from beach to shops, and is also home to a variety of well-regarded restaurants, hotels and pubs.

Travel further west again on the coast road and enjoy Beer, Branscombe, Sidmouth (including the well known Donkey Sanctuary) and Budleigh Salterton - better still, take a bus and take in the wonderful views of West Dorset and East Devon.



Go east - Burton Bradstock, Abbotsbury, Weymouth & Portland

Dorset's Chesil Beach is 18 miles of continuous pebble shingle stretching from West Bay to Portland with iconic golden cliffs at West Bay and Burton Bradstock.

If it's a quaint village walk you're seeking, look no further than Burton or carry on along the amazing coast road to Abbotsbury.  We're not joking, the views on the B3157 are seriously impressive - overlooking the sea at points and hugging the coastline all the way to Weymouth.

Weymouth is an old fashioned beauty, with a town beach and long parade of terraced houses.  The old harbour is particularly scenic and the town centre has a good range of shops.  Drive across the man-made causeway to Portland - the southernmost tip of Dorset - and explore a wild, rugged outcrop whose crowning glory is the Portland Bill lighthouse.

Further east again and you reach the Isle of Purbeck, an area of rolling green hills and beautiful coastline between Weymouth and Poole. It's around an hours drive from Groves and incredibly picturesque. 



Ivy House Kitchen - breakfast, lunch and afternoon cakes

Walk into Groves in Bridport and one of the first things you'll notice is our wonderful restaurant, Ivy House.  This stunning building offers plenty of seating, great menu choices including a children's menu and smaller appetite portions, and dog-friendly seating in the side conservatory area.

Our chefs work hard to bring you daily specials as well as a full breakfast and lunch menu, and table service means you will be greeted and seated by the friendly Ivy House Front of House team.

If you fancy something sweet to replenish your energy we have a lovely range of cakes, scones and sweet treats, all washed down with a cup of Dorset tea or Full Circle coffee.  You can also choose hot chocolate with all the toppings, cold drinks, local beer and cider, non-alcoholic options, and local spirits with mixers.

Whether you're getting set up for your day out, popping in half way through or rolling in after a full itinerary of sightseeing, for a day trip in Dorset a visit to Ivy House at Groves is truly the icing on the cake!