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A Visit to Dorchester

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

We recently received this lovely letter by email, and thought we’d share it with you all. It was written by Sue Marshall following her visit to Dorchester earlier this month, and she describes her experiences and impressions of the town in glowing terms…

Dorchester walks by the River Frome
Dorchester’s River Frome

Dear Phil,

We met a couple of weeks ago when my friend and I were doing a Dorchester walk on our three day break. You recommended a couple of restaurants and asked us to let you know how we got on on our visit so here goes:

There were three in our party: myself and my friend and her partner. We stayed at Westwood House which we would all thoroughly recommend. The rooms were spacious, comfortable and spotlessly clean. The breakfast was excellent – I have never seen such a selection of jams in guest accommodation.

The couple running Westwood House were extremely helpful and full of useful information. The information about local restaurants  in the room folders was good too.

The tourist information office was good and the ‘Dorchester Walks’ leaflet really helpful. We enjoyed several of them and were extremely impressed by the Roman House.

Your recommendation to eat at ‘No 6’ was good. The service was excellent as was the food. I thoroughly enjoyed the Lyme Bay scallops which were beautifully cooked.

Sadly the gondola as well as a couple of other restaurants were closed for the week; one was undergoing refurbishment and the others with notices saying they were closed whilst the owners took annual holiday. However, on the second night we visited Prezzo in the High Street as we wanted to see inside the building. It certainly was worth the visit with some interesting features. The food was OK given that it was a chain and we had a pleasant evening.

We had been intrigued by the description of ‘Billy the Fish’ restaurant in our room information and we went looking for that. We found it late on the second afternoon but it looked all closed up and we thought may be it was only open at lunch time.

However, on the third afternoon (Thursday) we passed it on our way back from the station and saw the board advertising meals that evening. It also announced it was under new management. We took a chance and gave it a try. We had a fabulous evening.

We discovered it is now called ‘Surf and Turf at Shelley’s Plaice‘, Shelley being Billy’s ex chef and who now owns the restaurant. The menu consisted of a list of fish available, all very fresh.

Shelley then arrived at the table and explained how she would cook each one. We then watched her cook and were entertained by her singing along to the 60’s music being played. She wouldn’t win a Karaoke competition but it was extremely amusing. The fish was absolutely delicious. Two of us had John Dory and the other turbot.

Having eaten fish on every continent of the world I can honestly say the fish at Shelley’s ranked with some of the best including that I’ve eaten in Iceland and freshly line caughtcod off Bear Island in the Arctic. Her home made summer fruits cheesecake was delicious. Definitely an experience not to be missed whilst in Dorchester!

We had a lovely few days and enjoyed visits to the coastal area as well as looking around Dorchester itself. The only disappointment were the closed restaurants and the information plaque at Maumbury Rings which was rather worn and very difficult to read. The rings themselves were impressive though and, on speaking to a local lady who was walking her dog, were delighted to learn that they are still used for town events on a regular basis. We will have to return to see them in use.

Many thanks for your recommendations.


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