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  1. All of our local tourist spots are really busy at the moment so when you want to cool down on a hot day you need to think of other places to go.  RSPB Arne is an area of natural beauty which covers 565 hectares of heathland and woodland so you can choose to have a short visit or stay all day if you wish.  The reserve on the edge of Poole Harbour is a haven for wildlife and remains one of the few places in the UK where all six of the UK's native reptiles can be found.

    Of course things are a little different with the current pandemic situation so the visitor centre and café is closed however you can still park the car for the day for £5 (free for RSPB members) and staff are there to answer any questions you may have. 

    There is 1 toilet open in the car park which I’d recommend using before you start your journey through the woods.  We chose to take the red route which we were told would take approximately 25 minutes however it was hot, I had a pushchair and my daughter had to keep looking for fairy doors and climb trees so for us it took about 40 minutes.

    BeFunky Arne 1

    The views are simply stunning and by the time we got to the water we were hot hot hot and desperate to get in and have a paddle.  There seemed to be quite a lot of seaweed but we walked far to the right which was much clearer and whilst we didn’t go far enough in for a swim we was quite content in the warm shallow water and my daughter had endless fun fishing seaweed out of the water using her spade and making a collection with some nice shells.

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    Arne Aug 20 5

    After our picnic it started getting too hot for us and whilst there was a couple of shady spots under the trees we thought it would be nicer to have a slow walk back through the woods where it was cool.

    Now, here lies our one little problem.  We followed the red route down with no problems at all but on the way back I must have missed a turning and we ended up going a completely different route.  My mistake took us out of the lovely shade and onto a hot path which ended up taking well over an hour which luckily my daughter slept mostly through.  My poor mum was bursting for a wee and I’ll admit after a while I wished I’d picked up a map or invested in a compass haha.

    Just before you get back into the current car park field there is a catering pod which is operating daily and sells drinks, ice creams, sweet and savoury snacks.

    There is plenty of signage to encourage social distancing however the reserve is pretty big and at no point did we need to get close to anyone so if you enjoy the great outdoors then I’d thoroughly recommend it.

    For more information including location, trails and car park open hours please visit RSPB Arne.

    BeFunky Arne 2

  2. The Green House Hotel has always had a very good reputation and I know their afternoon teas are legendary which is why this outstanding review won’t come as a surprise.

    We visited on a very dreary wet day which was a shame because the garden looks beautiful but I wasn’t too disappointed with us dining in the Arbor restaurant which has a feature tree as a centrepiece.  Since we are still in pandemic times we had a temperature check on arrival and there was an appropriate one way system in place plus the tables were nicely spread out so no one was on top of each other.

    Our waiter was very friendly and attentive and asked us if we would like a glass of English Oak Rose before or during our afternoon tea.  After a hectic morning we opted to have it asap and I’ve now made a note to look out for this delicious wine which is actually made on the English Oak Vineyard in Lytchett Matravers.

    We didn’t have to wait long before our sandwiches and English Breakfast tea arrived.  We had a lovely choice of sandwiches with cheese and pickle, ham and mustard, tuna and cucumber and egg mago which were on a mix of fresh white and brown bread.

    Then came the wow factor! Our afternoon tea was delivered on a stunning wooden stand with the scones, jam, lemon curd and clotted cream on the side.  Our waiter was very professional and told us that we had a potted crème brulee, millionaires cheesecake, lemon tart and that the one of the scones was plain and the other dark chocolate chip.

    BeFunky Green House Hotel 1

    I have always had a sweet tooth and after we finished our sandwiches we started with our favourite treats and I was pleased that the portions weren’t tiny but equally not massive so that I could enjoy each one without having to be rolled out the door.  I started with the millionaires cheesecake and I’ve honestly never tasted anything like it before.  There was a sweet and very slight salty taste to the caramel which was divine and nothing like anything I’d ever tasted before.  I’ve actually found myself thinking of that piece of cheesecake far too much and I’ve considered tracking the chef down and holding her to ransom for more!

    The dark chocolate chip scone was lovely and I topped it with lemon curd and the plain scone was equally as light and fluffy and tasted delicious with lashings of strawberry jam and cream.  The crème brulee cup had a hard crispy sweet shell which cracked open to reveal the silkiest crème underneath.  Last was the lemon tart which was equally as pleasant as the rest and all washed down with several cups of refreshing tea.

    Green House Hotel Afternoon Tea 10

    I literally couldn’t fault one thing, our waiter checked back to ask if we were ok a few times and offered us more tea which we politely declined since the pot first given allowed for several cups.  When we finished I asked if everything was homemade and I was informed that they have 2 very talented pastry chefs who make a number of cakes and desserts daily and therefore each visit would probably see you try something new each time.

    All diets can be catered for with 24 hours notice which includes dairy free, gluten free, vegan options and allergies.  They even offer a collection service for anyone who would like to have a party at home or a posh picnic on the beach or park nearby.

    The Green House Hotel is a luxury boutique eco-hotel which is located on Grove Road just a few minutes from the beach.  The Arbor is a multiple award winning 2 rosette restaurant with the Head Chef Andy Hilton specialising in seasonal cooking using local, organic, Fairtrade produce from artisan suppliers.

    Whether you book for lunch, dinner, afternoon tea or even hold a large celebration there (when things are back to normal) then I know you will receive a first class experience.

    For more information or to book your table please visit The Green House Hotel.

    Green House Hotel Afternoon Tea 5

    Dorsetmums was invited to The Green House Hotel for the purpose of a review however all words are my own.