With the pandemic restricting holiday plans and international travel for 2020, I was in need of a little getaway so decided to book a staycation in December just before the eminent third UK lockdown came into place.
I scoured the internet for any sort of availability for a shepherd’s hut with a hot tub (a must) and found the quaint Leonora on Canopy and Stars in Dorset. I had always wanted to stay in a hut, so there was no better time to tick this off my list! We spent two days disconnected from the outside world, where your only neighbours are the red deer that roam the fields, roasting marshmallows on the open fire and stargazing in the hot tub.
The Leonora hut is situated within an organic working farm run by husband and wife duo, Adam and Ali who are more than happy to show you around. Dotted throughout the farm is also The Gathering Camp that fits up to 6 guests and another hut, Murgatroyd which sleeps 2.
The hut itself is bigger than you would expect from the images online especially the bed and designed with an ensuite bathroom, kitchen and a log burner making the space a rustic and cosy little home. It has all the necessary basics you would need for a weekend away.
The best part of this place is of course the private wood-fired hot tub on the deck outside the hut. It was our first time using one where you have to burn firewood to heat it up which took just under 2 hours. At night, you have unspoilt skies for stargazing, we even saw a shooting star!
There’s also an honesty shed on the farm where you can buy firewood, ice, organic venison and free-range eggs from the farm.
Good to know:
- Private wood-fired hot tub
- Outdoor seating with an open fire BBQ
- King size bed
- Fully equipped kitchen (kettle, toaster, sink, fridge, induction hobs, microwave)
- Oil, vinegar, tea, coffee
- Underfloor electric heating
- Log burner (initial supply of firewood is free)
- Electric shower and toilet (towels and toiletries provided)
- No wifi – but there is phone signal
- Honesty shop
Local food shops
- Stourpaine Village Shop (3 min drive) – next to the White Horse pub, stocked with all the basics.
- Gold Hill Organic (5 min drive) – an organic farm shop with a cafe.
- Tesco/Lidl/M&S in Blandford Forum (10 min drive) – we stopped at Lidl to stock up on food to cook in the hut.
Places to visit
Right from the farm, there are walks that lead up to Roman and Neolithic Hill forts – you’ll find maps in the hut.
- Shaftesbury (20 min drive) – Make sure to check out Gold Hill and stop for a cream tea.
- Kingston Lacey (30 min drive) – National Trust with beautiful gardens, tea rooms and an art collection.
- Durdle Door (45 minute drive) – walk along the cliff paths with views of the iconic Durdle Door.
Prices start at £149 a night – Book your stay here
Images of Leonora hut above taken from Canopy & Stars website