Do you have a particular attachment to an area in the UK? Have childhood memories played a part in helping you decide where to settle? And have you recently reconnected with any childhood friends like Gransnet Dorset Local Editor Marion Spencer?
There are so many lovely places in Dorset to take your grandchildren and make some real memories. People I have spoken to who have retired to the area did so because of its nostalgic connection to their own childhoods. Dorset has it all: beaches, hills, rivers, history, tradition, arts and artisans, architecture, gardens, farms, footpaths, nature reserves, animal parks and hospitality.
My own childhood was spent growing up in Somerset, but we were near the border and many of my trips to the Dorset coast or hills were with my neighbour’s grandsons when they came down from Cambridge during the holidays. Weymouth sands, a joy to dig in, was followed by a swim, ice cream, sardine sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs, and a go on the mini golf park after the model railway. There is something about that kind of continuity when you are a child that helps those summer holidays seem so much longer.
We went on the Swanage Railway together and immediately I was nine years old again, running up the platform and leaning out of the window to get the best view of Corfe Castle on the way.
Lyme Regis was about rock pools, paddling and negotiating the pebbles with a chance of spotting a piece of ammonite, mackerel fishing on a choppy boat, fish and chips, penny falls at the arcade when it rained and a visit to the aquarium followed by a steep trek up the hill to the big car park. West Bay, Charmouth, Chesil and Burton Bradstock were also on our hit list. We came home worn out from fresh air and exercise, often sandy with itchy legs from the salt but very happy nonetheless. Ancient hill fort sites like Lamberts Castle and Pilsdon Pen offered the young imagination a chance to pretend and we built camps from sticks in the woods. It was innocent fun and everyday an adventure. Sometimes we went to events like a steam fair or local fetes. The Swannery at Abbotsbury, funfairs and museums…the Tank Museum was a particular favourite. Cinemas were reserved for rainy days.
Recently I met up with one of my childhood friends who I hadn’t spent time with since the age of 12. We went on the Swanage Railway together and immediately I was nine years old again, running up the platform and leaning out of the window to get the best view of Corfe Castle on the way. Such a joy and all thanks to us being able to reconnect on the internet.
Now, Dorset offers even more excitement for grandparents and grandchildren, whether it’s theme parks, funfairs or family-friendly festivals that run all through the summer. Are you looking for things to do with your grandchildren? Come to Dorset and make some memories.
Marion was born in Somerset near the Dorset border. She now lives on a dairy farm in Purbeck.
I have many fond childhood memories of Dorset. My grandparents moved from Essex to Ferndown when I was young so we spent a lot of time in the New Forest and in a caravan in Mudeford. My husband proposed to me in Swanage.
I also have fond childhood memories of Dorset. I was born in Weymouth and lived there until I was 7. We then moved to Wareham but unfortunately moved away after a couple of years. I can relate to Marion's post from the wonderful sands at Weymouth to the outstanding Purbeck Hills and surrounding area. My husband and I go back regularly to visit and also the lovely Lyme Regis area. We have also explored the local picturesque villages around Bridport where my ancestors had lived. In my opinion Dorset has it all.