Last week I spent a truly magical day at the Deans Court Estate in Wimborne, Dorset. Tucked away behind the busy high-street lies a secret haven and thriving estate owned and run by William and Ali Hanham, which has been in William's family for 500 years. It was hot and we sat out under the shade in a gravelled courtyard, amongst French artefacts for sale, mismatched cafe tables and tomato plants suspended from beams. The whole place oozes style and charm and I kept wishing I lived nearer Wimborne so this could be my local haunt.
After a delicious lunch of grilled halloumi salad and toasted panini, we visited The Squash Court, which shares the same courtyard space. As its name would suggest, it was previously a 1930's squash court and is now a shop offering a practical and quirky collection of contemporary and retro homeware. You can buy everything from wooden brushes (as we used to sell here) to linen napkins (you'll find ours there), to 1920's French sofas, fresh home-grown vegetables and honey. It's like your dream general store. Once again, those lucky people of Wimborne.
Ali, the owner, showed us her beautiful walled kitchen garden which was Peter Rabbit perfect and heaving with vegetables. She explained that the fruit and vegetables supply the café, with any surplus sold as vegetable boxes, collected weekly from the courtyard. Whatever's left over beyond that is made into jam or chutney and sold in the shop or used in the café. The ethos is admirably and rightly that nothing goes to waste. Deans Court eggs and honey can be found in the Shop too.
There's so much to say about this wonderful place. But for now, if you find yourself in the area, it's well worth a significant detour.