Plan Your Christmas Celebrations

christmas robinAlthough it is certainly feeling a little too warm to begin thinking of St Nic, roaring log fires, the smell of freshly cut pines and paper-cuts from too much wrapping, there is actually no time like the present to start planning your traditional family Christmas!  Whether you are big on celebrating with lots of sparkly decorations and twinkling lights as soon as December hits,  or a more last minute “pull a pine” on Christmas Eve type, the following simple ideas can leave you with a truly sumptuous and cosy Casterbridge style Christmas that Thomas Hardy (not the good looking one ladies!), himself would be proud of.

With so much in the way of local fayre and events on offer across Dorset, I have outlined just five of my top tips. You can even follow them while on holiday with us in one of our Christmas Holiday Cottages, ideal for families who need a little more space than their own home allows, those visiting family from afar, or even those of you that are not so far, but like the sound of holidaying in the holidays!

A Christmas Tipple

My number one and most favourite tip of all has to be sourcing everyone’s preferred tipple! By that I mean ensuring that you (the host) have enough stock for all eventualities.  Lets face it, should we have a sudden snow fall similar to Feb/March this year, no one wants to be without a generous stock of holiday cheer, and milk of course! One of my personal favourites, guaranteed to put a little extra sparkle into Christmas is from Langham Wine Estate, nestled in Blandford Forum and crediting a south facing vineyard, chalk soils and our unique microclimate for the divine taste, Langham Wine really should take pride of place on your Christmas table. Should time allow a tour of the vineyard and visit to the tasting room, it is highly recommended. https://langhamwine.co.uk

purbeck ciderIf like me your other half is not really a wine drinker, look no further than our very own Piddle Brewery for their fine ales or perhaps The Purbeck Cider Company. You will find both served in most of our cosy Dorsetshire pubs – a perfect way to spend boxing day after a glorious stroll in the Purbeck hills. One of our favourite spots is The Square and Compass, guaranteed to be one of the quaintest pubs you have ever encountered. On a clear day, you cannot beat sitting outside at this little gem! Or for those seeking a little more comfort, snuggle up in front of the roaring fire at The Bankes Arms in Corfe Castle.

A Christmas Feast

Two – The food.. it’s all about the local produce!

Well if number one is alcohol, two has to be the food!  Feel free to re order those, this is just my personal preference!!

Dorset has fresh organic food in abundance, why not pre order your Turkey and collect on arrival in Dorset?  Chilcott Farm near Owermoigne has sumptuous Turkey’s, reared with possibly one of the best views in the County, bred to the highest free-range standard, plucked and finished by hand the good old fashioned way!

You can pick up your fresh vegetables in one of our local farm shops, we love Gourmet Goats little honesty hut in Harmans Cross, stocked daily.  Norden Farm Shop just outside of Corfe Castle are another high placed contender or Vines Farm Shop in Sturminster Marshall. You cannot beat the taste of this fresh and seasonal produce.

For a one stop of local fayre, try Chalbury food and wine http://chalburyfoodandwine.co.uk, great for picking up all the trimmings such as cranberry sauce along with all the cheeses for your board – you cannot leave Dorset without trying our delicious Blue Vinney!

For those of you that have come to Dorset and cannot bear the thought of getting up ridiculously early to put the bird in the oven, I have just the answer! We are lucky enough to be inundated with some of the best places to eat in the country. My top picks for a mess free Christmas lunch time are:

The Greyhound Corfe Castle – Dorset’s most photographed pub at the base of Corfe Castle

The Scott arms – Kingston – Dorset’s best view? Probably..

Cafe Oasis – A warm cosy eatery with stunning sea views.

The Pig on the Beach Studland – Fabulous Festive Menu.

A Traditional Christmas

Three – Go along to midnight mass on Christmas Eve or perhaps attend an open air carol concert

Follow in the footsteps of Dick Dewy and Fancy Day in Under The Greenwood Tree and go along to midnight mass in one of the many local Churches,  sing carols by candle light and soak up the cheery Christmas atmosphere. Alternatively, why not sing carols shoulder to shoulder in one of the many candle lit concerts around Dorset? find your nearest one here…. Sure, to put you in the Christmas spirit and an ideal opportunity for the small visitors to see Santa. Most concerts even have mulled wine and minced pies!!! Our favourite must be carols around the tree in Weymouth (New Bond Street).

Baubels and Tinsel

Four – For inspiration why not visit the beautiful garden centre at Poundbury, transformed over the Christmas period to an enchanting winter wonderland of decorations and festive displays. They even have a cosy garden café to enjoy a hot chocolate and cake.

There is nothing better than foraging for Christmas decorations in the days before Christmas, whether its making a wreath for your door, a centre piece for the table or something for the tree, the possibilities are endless.  You can have lots of fun with the children making hanging ornaments from cooked flour and water or dried orange slices with cinnamon sticks.  Spending the time crafting together, even if like me you are the least crafty person ever, with a strange phobia of glitter, there is something strangely satisfying and heart-warming.


And Finally…Dorset is a Cracker!

Did you know that a little-known Dorset company ensures that the Queens Christmas goes off with a bang?  Celebration Crackers based here in Dorset make prestigious crackers for the likes of Selfridges and  Claridges Hotel. Why not splurge on these fancy festive table treats this Christmas and make sure your Dorset Cottage holiday is well and truly cracking?!


Five Ways To Make Your Christmas More Casterbridge Dorset Holiday CottagesThis Article was written by our very own Charlie Mahoney, our Property Manager at Corfe Castle.