JC Stays: Silverlake, Dorset

Nature meets luxury at this eco-friendly retreat in west Dorset


For a holiday destination that’s focused on family stays, it’s remarkably peaceful at Silverlake. This rural retreat, in the heart of Dorset, consists of a community of sustainable holiday homes perched around a series of lakes, ponds and heathland.

And while you might hear the occasion whoop of joy as a child splashes in the pool, it’s more likely you’ll be enchanted by the chirp of a woodlark or a nightjar instead.

The sister development to Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds, the concept is appealing to those who want a touch of luxury from their UK home-from-home, while still keeping to a green philosophy.

There’s a variety of houses to bed down in — from lavish, Miami-style luxury properties to smaller cottage-like dwellings. You can book for short or long stays, and for those looking for something more permanent, there are also a number for sale.

Cheetah’s Lodge, for instance, is a cosy three-bed. With open-plan living, slick bathrooms and a contemporary kitchen, this is a modern version of the typical British cottage rental.

Visit in the summer and you probably won’t be spending too much time indoors but come winter, there’s a log-burner to keep you warm and still enough cold-weather pursuits to get you outside. In autumn, there’s the incredible starling murmurations to see over the reedbeds.

The impressive architecture uses sustainable materials and finishes, with some homes featuring ground-breaking design by noted architects, such as sloped wildflower roofs, wrap-around decking and state-of-the-art construction.

The highlight, however, is the central £3 million Hurricane Spa — a cutting-edge building with roof-top terrace, heated outdoor pool, sauna, gym, library and lounge. Treatments are by Caudalie to match the natural ethos — the Vinoperfect Radiance Facial is blissful.

But it’s being surrounded by such biodiverse and unspoilt nature that is Silverlake’s USP. Free bikes for all ages make it easy to explore the hundreds of acres of wilderness. There’s also a zip-wire to whizz you over a wild pond and adventure playground for the little ones to blow off some steam.

Tennis courts and a multi-use game area (MUGA) are also tempting, especially given the full box of equipment — meaning you can travel light with no need for a car full of racquets and balls.

Paddle-boarding and kayaking are also included on one of the lakes: be warned if travelling with older kids — you won’t see them for a while.

While there is not a restaurant (yet), the roof-top spa terrace serves lunches, light snacks and drinks and there’s a pizza yurt at the weekends.

House guests can also pre-order food and meal deliveries from a local company, although the joy of Silverlake’s location is, of course, getting out and about in Dorset with Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and cream teas nearby.

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