Enid Blyton absolutely loved her holidays in Dorset, particularly the Isle of Purbeck, and visited three times a year for over 20 years. Some of her best known children's books were inspired by the real places and people she met in Dorset.

Spend 72 hours in the Isle of Purbeck and have a jolly good time, just like the Famous Five did. You can also download our Enid Blyton Trail leaflet which includes more places to visit in the area.

Enid Blyton's Famous Five recreated at Corfe Castle

Day 1

Climb aboard the Swanage Railway, then sit back and relax during a leisurely trip behind a historic steam locomotive to the pretty seaside town of Swanage.

The 12 mile return trip takes you through the beautiful Purbeck countryside and includes stunning views of the iconic remains of William the Conqueror's Corfe Castle. This is the exact train journey which Enid Blyton would have taken with her family while visiting the area in the 1950's and 60's.

Swanage Railway at Corfe Castle Station - photo credit to Diana Jarvis

© Diana Jarvis

The traditional Victorian seaside resort of Swanage makes a perfect morning out; stroll along the promenade and restored pier, wander around the art galleries and boutique gift shops or take a boat trip along the coast with City Cruises. Swanage has one pier less than it did in the Blyton heyday, when she and her husband Kenneth, used to swim round both piers before supper.

Swanage Pier

On your return trip on the Railway, stop off at Corfe Castle, said to be the inspiration for “Kirrin Castle” in Enid’s Famous Five books. It was first mentioned in ‘Five on a Treasure Island’ where gold is discovered hidden in Kirrin Castles dungeons.

The iconic castle ruin (now owned by the National Trust) was once one of the county’s great strongholds until betrayal from within led to its downfall.

As well as paying a visit to the castle, the village itself is one of the prettiest in Dorset and a great spot for a cream tea.

Day 2

Catch a ferry from Poole and take a trip to the mysterious Whispering Island (Brownsea Island) which is owned by the National Trust and is the largest island in Poole harbour. In Enid Blyton's time, Brownsea Island was owned by the very reclusive Mrs Bonham-Christie, who would not tolerate visitors and allowed the island to return to nature. In ‘Five Have a Mystery to Solve’, Enid described it as “Keep Away Island”.

Brownsea Island aerial view - photo credit National Trust and John Miller

© National Trust and John Miller

Brownsea is the home of the endangered red squirrel and is a nature lover's paradise; take advantage of the various walking trails and stroll around the island to uncover hidden beaches, foraging deer and an impressive variety of wading birds. 

Don't forget to pack a picnic of Ginger Beer and corned beef sandwiches to enjoy along the way!

Day 3

Set off for a tranquil few hours at The Blue Pool - described in the Famous Five book ‘Five Go Off in a Caravan’ as “An enormous blue lake that lay glittering in the August sunshine”. The Pool is less blue these days, but doesn't that description just want to make you go and visit it for yourself!

Set within the Furzebrook Estate, the Blue Pool is also home to Blue Pool Tea Rooms – a teahouse dating from 1935 which remains in a vintage style. Perfect for lunch or a cream tea.

The Blue Pool, Wareham

© The Blue Pool

Spend the afternoon or early evening at Kimmeridge Bay.

In the Famous Five book ‘Five Fall into Adventure’, the children take a picnic down to the sea “Where rocks jutted up from the beach, surrounded by limpid rock pools”. This is undoubtedly Kimmeridge Bay which is one of the best places to go rock-pooling in Dorset.

Later in the book, the children row a boat around the coastline until they see ”a high cliff” on top of which was a “dour, grey stone building….. a little like a castle. It brooded over the sea with one square tower overlooking the waves.” The building is thought to have been inspired by Clavell Tower – built in 1831 as a folly and which is now holiday accommodation with amazing views over Kimmeridge Bay.

Kimmeridge Bay and Clavell Tower - credit WSweeney and The Landmark Trust

© W Sweeney/The Landmark Trust

Where to Stay

Enid Blyton and her family used to stay at The Grand Hotel in Swanage and The Knoll House Hotel in Studland. You can find other places to stay in our accommodation section.

The Grand Hotel in Swanage has stunning panoramic views across Swanage Bay and direct access from the hotel gardens to the private beach. Enid Blyton stayed at the hotel between 1952 and 1960. You can enjoy lunch or dinner in their Coast Restaurant or have a drink in their bar and enjoy the fantastic sea views.

Enid used to stay at Knoll House Hotel for several weeks in the spring and summer throughout the 1960s. She and her husband Kenneth always occupied room 40 with its view across the bay. In the dining room they religiously sat at table 3 - Enid would face south with a view of Old Harry Rocks while Kenneth saw views towards Bournemouth. There is a collection of memorabilia and artefacts around the hotel, including letters from Blyton, highlighting her much loved relationship with Knoll House.

Optional extra's

Visit the vibrant market town of Wareham

England’s second favourite country park, Durlston Country Park is situated near Swanage.

Follow the fascinating story of the majestic Lulworth Castle an early 17th-century mock castle.

2 of Dorset’s best loved attractions, Monkey World and the Tank Museum.

Explore the abandoned war village of Tyneham (accessible most weekends).

Dont forget to tag us on Social Media when posting about this itinerary with the hashtag #visitdorset

Related

Swanage Railway
Railway
Swanage Railway - photo taken by Andrew P.M. Wright

Enjoy a nostalgic steam-train ride on the Purbeck line. Trains run for most of the year - daily from April to October and most weekends throughout the year. Park at Norden then catch a train to travel 6 miles south to Swanage, passing through Corfe Castle village.

Swanage Pier
Pier
swanage pier early light

Restored Victorian Pier, stroll, visit the exhibition, café or shop. Boat trips, fishing and diving.

Corfe Castle
National Trust Property
Corfe Castle in spring

Adults and children alike will be captivated by the romantic Corfe Castle ruins and the breath-taking views across Purbeck.

City Cruises Poole
Boat Trip
Solent Scene boat cruise

Cruises operate daily from Poole Quay and Swanage Pier (1st April - 31st October 2019). We offer a wide selection of cruises along the Jurassic coast, trips to the Victorian resort at Swanage and the Steam Railway, Poole Harbour cruises, evening cruises or private charters.

Brownsea Island
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Red Squirrel on Brownsea Island

A beautiful island with wonderful views, history & wildlife including rare red squirrels and birds, and is also the birthplace of Scouting and Guiding.

The Blue Pool
Parkland/Woodland Garden
The Blue Pool, Furzebrook near Wareham

A unique Pool varying in colour from green to turquoise, surrounded by 25 acres of pine trees, gorse and heather. A haven for families to enjoy and explore.

Kimmeridge Bay
Natural Feature
View from flats to east side of Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay lies within a marine Special Area of Conservation and boasts the best rockpooling and safest snorkelling site in Dorset.

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