How to find us
The Old School Gables is located in the heart of the village of Drimpton in West Dorset. The address is:
Old School Gables
From the North – southbound on the M5; leave at Junction 25 and take the westbound A358 to Ilminster and Chard. In Chard take the B3162 to Winsham and then Drimpton. At the Royal Oak pub in Drimpton turn left and the Old School Gables is on your right.
From the East – westbound on the A303; after the Cartgate Roundabout (Yeovil) take the next main exit (A356 for Crewkerne). In Crewkerne, follow the signs for B3165 (Lyme Regis). On passing through the village of Clapton, turn left after the flour mill towards Drimpton. The Old School Gables is on the left at the ‘Give Way’ sign.
From the South – from Bridport follow the signs for Broadwindsor. At Broadwindsor, follow the B3162 towards Chard. In Drimpton, turn right at the Royal Oak pub the Old School Gables is immediately on your right.
From the West – eastbound on the A303/A30 to Chard. In Chard take the B3162 to Winsham and then Drimpton. At the Royal Oak pub in Drimpton turn left and the Old School Gables is on your right.
Walking – there is a wealth of public footpaths around the Drimpton area and we can supply maps if required. From local walks of a mile or two to longer 'hikes'; the choice is yours! For example, close by there is the Monarch's Way footpath which traces the path of the escaping Charles II in 1651 (see www.ramblers.org.uk for more information) and there is the local Drimpton Trail which conveniently passes Lucy's Tea Rooms, offering a delicious selection of homemade cakes (www.oathillfarmleisure.co.uk). For coastal walks, the South West Coast Path follows the coastline from Poole to Minehead (total 630 miles!) and many fantastic sections of this footpath are easily accessed from here.
Swimming – the West Dorset beaches at West Bay (Bridport) and Lyme Regis are patrolled by RNLI lifeguards. There are also excellent indoor swimming facilities at the Bridport Leisure Centre (9 miles) www.bridportleisure.co.uk and the Crewkerne Aqua Centre (4 miles) www.aquacentre.co.uk.
Cycling – this area is fairly ‘up and down’, but taken at a comfortable pace it’s worth the effort! There are plenty of small roads that cross Hardy’s landscape from Marshwood Vale to the Brit Valley with some interesting watering holes along the way. Remember that the coast is not far away so you could incorporate that as well.
Golf – there are three courses within about ten miles of the Old School Gables, all of which are fun, forgiving and friendly. They are Bridport bridportgolfclub.org.uk, Lyme Regis www.lymeregisgolfclub.co.uk and Windwhistle between Chard and Crewkerne www.windwhistlegolfclub.co.uk. There are many others within an hour’s drive from Drimpton offering plenty of choice to aspiring Open Champions.
Places of Interest
Lyme Regis – a magnificently unspoilt coastal resort and harbour with some great history behind it. Whatever the weather, this is a ‘must’ on your list of places to visit. Walking through the town and along the promenade to the famous Cobb harbour wall will leave a wonderful memory. Equally, exploring the eastern end of the town towards Church Cliffs and beyond is a fascinating experience. (though care should be taken with the tide, rock falls and mudslides). Further details on Lyme may be found at www.lymeregis.com.
Bridport – an old rope-making town with a lovely fishing harbour and beach at nearby West Bay. There is a wonderful ambience to this town which is probably best experienced during one of the street markets held on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The town lays on many events throughout the year which include the Food Festival in June, the Carnival in August and the Hat Festival in September. Further details on Bridport and West Bay can be found at www.bridportandwestbay.co.uk.
Dorchester – the delightful county town of Dorset with plenty of history running throughout the ages from Neolithic times to Thomas Hardy’s days. There are some very pleasant short walks in the town which provide an interesting overview of the town’s history. The town is also the home of several interesting museums, including the Tutankamun, Dinosaur and Rifles Military museums. More information on these and other places of interest in Dorchester is available at www.visit-dorchester.co.uk.
Places to Visit
If you’ve had enough of exploring the countryside, relaxing on the beach, walking around town etc, there are plenty of other things to see and do. These are a short selection of what and where else you may consider within an hour or so from the Old School Gables; all have lunch and refreshment facilities:
Montacute House – a fine National Trust property with gardens, not far from Yeovil - www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-montacute.
Barrington Court – this old stately home is close to Ilminster and is definitely worth a detour, especially in the Spring and Summer when its gardens are in splendid bloom - www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-barringtoncourt.
Abbotsbury Swannery – located on Chesil Beach towards Weymouth and Portland, this is a fantastic sanctuary for about 600 swans and their cygnets which hatch each year from May to June. An experience not to be missed!
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens – close to the Swannery, these gardens present a wonderful collection of rare and exotic plants from all over the world.
Monkey World – this is not a zoo but a marvelous (and often amusing!) rescue and rehabilitation centre for abused primates. It is certainly worth a detour (towards Wareham) and if you fancy it, you can adopt your own little monkey! www.monkeyworld.org
Bovington Tank Museum – for those who are interested in Britain’s military history, this is one of the finest collections of tanks in the world. It is also supported by live demonstrations but see the website for more information. The museum is not far from Monkey World. www.tankmuseum.org
Forde Abbey – this beautiful former Cistercian monastery is just minutes down the road from the Old School Gables. It is one of the region’s finest stately homes and has stunning gardens in which to relax. Interesting events and activities take place throughout the year, details of which can be found at www.fordeabbey.co.uk".
Fleet Air Arm Museum – located at Yeovilton (Royal Navy Air Station), the museum presents a fine hands-on exhibition of naval aviation throughout its 100 year history. www.fleetairarm.com.
Broadwindsor Craft Centre – for when you don’t want to venture far, this is a great collection of local artisans brought together under one roof (or two!). Plenty to see and buy and there’s a restaurant in the centre as well. www.broadwindsorcraftcentre.co.uk
Places to Eat and Drink
If you’ve had enough of cooking for yourself in the Old School Gables, there is no danger of going hungry! First and foremost, you are conveniently placed within a very short walking distance from the local pub, the Royal Oak, which offers an excellent menu of
dishes cooked from locally sourced produce. It is a family run hostelry where you can be assured of a very warm welcome (www.royaloakdrimpton.co.uk).
Beyond Drimpton, there are plenty more pubs and restaurants and the following short selection provides an example of what’s available to you:
Restaurants in Beaminster
Bridge House (www.bridge-house.co.uk/rest.asp)
Wild Garlic (www.thewildgarlic.co.uk)
Pubs around Beaminster
White Lion in Broadwindsor
New Inn in Stoke Abbott (www.newinnstokeabbott.co.uk)
Winyards Gap near Chedington (www.winyardsgap.com)
Marquess of Lorne at Nettlecombe (www.themarquisoflorne.co.uk)
Restaurants in Bridport
Hive Beach Café at Burton Bradstock (www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk)
Riverside Café at West Bay (www.thefishrestaurant-westbay.co.uk)
Washingpool Farm (daytime only - www.washingpool.co.uk/restaurant.htm)
Bull Hotel (www.thebullhotel.co.uk/tuck-in)
Taj Mahal (www.tajmahalbridport.com)
Pubs with interesting menus around Bridport
The Anchor Inn at Burton Bradstock (www.dorset-seafood-restaurant.co.uk)
The Half Moon at Melplash
The Anchor Inn at Seatown (www.theanchorinnseatown.co.uk)
The West Bay Hotel at West Bay (www.thewestbayhotel.co.uk)
Restaurants and Pubs in Lyme Regis
The Harbour Inn (www.harbourinnlymeregis.co.uk)
The Royal Standard (www.theroyalstandardlymeregis.co.uk)
Hix Oyster and Fish Bar (www.hixoysterandfishhouse.co.uk)
The Volunteer Inn
……..and, finally, if you’re after a Cream Tea, then across the fields from the Old School Gables you will find Lucy’s Tea Room (www.oathillfarmleisure.co.uk/lucytea.html) or further afield in Chideock there is the Bay Tree House from where you can start a gentle stroll up to the top of Golden Cap (www.baytreechideock.co.uk/teagarden.htm). There are plenty more!