During my international student orientation last year, I heard about a really cool organisation called Host UK.
You say which weekends you are available, and how much of a traveling budget you have, and then Host UK will pair you with a host family. A had the pleasure of spending the weekend with Di and John at their place in Beaminster.
Beaminster has a population of about 2000, with many having summer or holiday homes there. It was quaint and beautiful. We literally walked through a field to get into town, passed some pigs (which I of course greeted) then went to the local butcher who was hanging out with the local fruit and vegatable guy. I’m not kidding. It was great. We also interupted a prayer service while checking out the cathedral, but c’est la vie.
Di and John were lovely. They cooked a delicious home made dinner on Friday evening while we discussed options for what to do the rest of the weekend.
Having never set foot in a National Trust house – I asked if we could please got to Montecute the next day… and it did not dissapoint.
Sense and Senseability was filmed there – they also had a room dedicated to Elizabeth of Bohemia – The Winter Queen (the national portrait gallery has space in the long gallery there). I always enjoy being able to walk around pieces of history – to imagine the parties or conversations or arguments that happened behind these walls. The place was absolutely beautiful, and it was quite interesting to learn a bit more about English nobility and history.
Sunday brought us to the Jurassic coast – which was fantastic despite the wind and the limited amount of time there. Brunch at the hive cafe followed by walking along the cliffs of Maiden Castle.
I loved everything about it. From Di and John opening up their house and their world to me, to setting foot inside my first National Trust house, to finding ancient Roman Ruins, to having some really great conversations.
It was the perfect retreat before the chaos of the new MBA school year (and eventually new job) ensues.