smedmore estate

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The Smedmore Estate is situated in the Isle of Purbeck around the Dorset coastal village of Kimmeridge – not far from Corfe Castle and Wareham.  It’s two main attractions are Kimmeridge Bay, and Smedmore House.

Kimmeridge Bay is designated an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and lies within the Purbeck Coast Marine Conservation Area.  It’s home to Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Marine Centre because of its exceptional marine life and is famous for safe swimming, rock pooling, canoeing, wind surfing and water sports.  It is also on the South-West Coast Path National Walking Trail.

The beach consists mainly of rocky shale, with large limestone ledges.  It is of great geological interest and the rocks on the beach, surrounding cliffs and shale ledges contain a variety of interesting fossils just waiting to be discovered.  Many examples of these can be seen in the Etches Collection Museum in Kimmeridge village.

The water visibility is excellent for snorkellers and divers because there is no sand.  For surfers, it offers Dorset’s premier reef break, Broadbench, which can hold waves of up to 15 feet along with other waves in the “K-Bay” area.

Clavell’s Tower, a local landmark, and the inspiration for P.D.James’s murder story, The Black Tower, overlooks Kimmeridge Bay.  In 2006, the Tower was dismantled and moved back from the cliff edge which had eroded badly. It’s been totally restored and is now the Landmark Trust’s most popular rental property. The bay was once a haunt of smugglers, and scene of their battles with coast guards.

Kimmeridge Bay & Car Park are reached by a privately owned and maintained Approach Road.  Access on foot or by bike is free but access with vehicles incurs charges.  The Main Car Park overlooks the Bay and there are toilets located in the Slipway car park.  There is a restaurant, the Boat on the Bay, serving locally sourced delicacies such as crab, lobster, and freshly caught fish from the Kimmeridge fisherman.

Nearby Smedmore House, is a beautifully situated Georgian manor house which is available for exclusive use rental for all kinds of event – holidays, weekends, house parties, weddings, and civil ceremonies It’s a beautiful and historic Purbeck stone house which has been the home of the Mansel family for many generations.  Surrounded by rolling countryside and spectacular sea views, Smedmore House offers a level of tranquillity and privacy hard to find elsewhere.  It’s surrounded by walled gardens and extensive lawns with avenues giving views to the sea at Kimmeridge Bay and across to Portland.

Smedmore House holds a Wedding Licence and each year many couples take their vows in the Avenue with the sea views behind them.  The house can sleep up to 24 people and is regularly used for multi-generational family celebrations and get togethers.  It has also been used as a film location.

There is an Open Day held each year in aid of a local charity in both the house and grounds with tours of the house given by Dr. Philip Mansel, the noted historian, and members of his family.  Full details about this can be found here:  There are also chamber music concerts held in the house as part of Purbeck Arts Week.

The charming hamlet of Kimmeridge is quiet and unspoilt with extensive sea views.  The road running through is lined with stone and thatched cottages with pretty gardens.  On this road you will also find Clavell’s Restaurant, which is open year-round, offering delicious, locally sourced food and the Etches Museum of Jurassic Marine Life.

The Smedmore Estate also manages the Smedmore Caravan site which is in a neatly mown field off a private drive.  It’s a partially sloping site bordered on three sides by trees with 40 spacious pitches. Facilities include electrical hook-ups, Wi-Fi, an information hut, two watering points and one chemical disposal point. There are no showers or toilets.



  • Accessible to Wheelchair Users

Establishment Features

  • Dog Friendly
  • On-site Restaurant/Cafe
  • Picnic Area

Map & Directions

Smedmore Estate


Smedmore House, Kimmeridge, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5PG
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Call direct on:

Tel01929 480719

Tel01747 820031

Opening Times

Season (1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024)

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