Trip of the Week: Knoll House Hotel, Studland
This post is otherwise entitled Five Go on a Helicopter Adventure, and not just because there were five of us in the R66 when we flew to Knoll House Hotel in Dorset. This Studland Bay hotel has a special literary claim to fame: it was a favourite haunt of the children’s writer Enid Blyton.
Indeed, the author stayed at Knoll House several times a year during the 1950s and 60s, and is said to have gained inspiration for her Famous Five series from the local area – nearby Brownsea Island and Corfe Castle being among the real-life locations immortalised in the popular novels.
Sir Winston Churchill and Roald Dahl have both been guests of Knoll House, too, while during the war troops were stationed here as they prepared for the D-Day Landings. Luckily, it was a rather more fun sort of landing for us when we popped in for tea on our way home from the Isle of Wight.
What to do while you’re there
Being right next to the beach, the approach to Knoll House is every bit as spectacular as you’d expect, with incredible views across Studland Bay to Old Harry Rocks.
You land in a field leading down to the beach, by the tennis courts, and then walk across the road to the hotel. How’s that for a helipad with a view?
The impression of the hotel itself is perhaps of a place that’s seen better days (though what British seaside resort hasn’t?), but what it lacks in modernity it makes up for in the aforementioned literary connections and above all in its wonderful views of Studland Bay – the latter to be enjoyed from the terrace or from a table beneath the pine trees.
The interiors, if we were to be brutally honest, are a bit dated from what we saw, but let’s go with ‘quaint’. On the plus side, you’ll find plenty of bits of Enid Blyton memorabilia adorning the walls.
We only popped in for a cup of tea, so can’t comment on the quality of the food, but if you’re tempted to drop in for lunch or an overnight stay, you can check out the dining options and room rates on their website.
Planning your visit
We’d better start by warning you that the landing fee at Knoll House was a hefty £50, which is a bit of a shame, but we’ve since been told that it’s waived if you have lunch.
It’s about an hour’s flight time from Elstree. We got a basic service and zone transit from Bournemouth on our way in; the frequency is Bournemouth Approach on 119.475 MHz. It’s worth taking life jackets just in case you end up routing further out across the sea.
You’ll easily spot the field opposite the hotel, quickly identified thanks to the tennis courts that you land alongside.
Finally, if you’re approaching from or lifting out towards the sea, just be careful to avoid startling the sunbathers by flying too low over the beach! There were also a few people flying kites when we departed, so keep a good lookout for those as well.