Adrian Mourby

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Travel through Hampshire, Dorset and Devon and you rapidly leave behind those seaside resorts that owe their existence to day-trippers from London. Christchurch, Lyme Regis and Torquay are old coastal settlements along what has chosen to promote itself as the English Riviera. This is a seafarers' landscape, not as wild as Cornwall but full of history. While there are still plenty of resorts that owe their existence to Victorian developers, you'll also encounter ruined castles, ancient forests, medieval houses and priories. There are very few pubs along the coasts of Dorset and Devon that don't claim a long association with smugglers - or the Royal Navy.
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

Although built in the early eighteenth century, Chewton Glen wrote itself into the history books during the 1840s when Captain Frederick Marryat came to stay here. George Marryat had bought Chewton in 1837 and the house was a good place for his brother Frederick to work on his novel The Children of the New Forest, which was published in 1847. Today visitors can arrive at Chewton Glen through that very same forest.

The Connaught Hotel

With its bay windows and turrets the Connaught Hotel was clearly built as a family home in the 1850s. As such it was part of the rapid development of Bournemouth that followed its inclusion in a book The Spas of England, by the physician Augustus Granville. Granville's book (1841) drew visitors who hitherto had preferred Weymouth and Brighton.

Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant

The “Alex”, as it is known locally, overlooks Cobb Harbour in Lyme Regis, the setting for John Fowles' novel – and the Meryl Streep film of – The French Lieutenant's Woman. The original building was constructed in 1735 as a home for the Dowager Countess Poulett and was later the residence of the Duc du Stacpoole before becoming a hotel in 1901 with the addition of a Victorian bay window over its neo-classic portico.

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