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The family-run Furleigh estate produces some of England’s finest wines, including its sparkling classic cuvée, its silver medal-winning sparkling rosé and its light “Sea Pink” still rosé.
My award for best name goes to their Tyrannosaurus Red.
• Moonfleet Manor Hotel, near Weymouth ££ It’s family-friendly, but grown-ups love it for its spa, scenic coastal setting and distressed furnishings – so nothing for the kids to ruin (01305 786 948; uk; doubles from £120 b&b).
• Summer Lodge, Evershot £££ With its gracious mature gardens, choice antiques, brilliant staff, homely decor and luxurious spa, this country house hotel comes recommended in the Michelin Guide. • George Burt’s Dining Room ££ The finest feature of Purbeck House Hotel is its grand former billiard room, now its main restaurant, named after the first owner.
Now it’s time to enjoy cultivation of a different kind, at the Furleigh wine estate at Salway Ash, a half-hour drive along the A35 then the pretty B3162 – perfect for the Volkswagen Touareg I am driving, with its refined, long-legged comfort, pace and 4WD performance.
Its elevated seating position makes it ideal for peeping over the hedges and across fields.
The very Sherman used in the film makes a startling centrepiece, complete with waxwork of Pitt himself, swaggering by the gun barrel.
“They’re not penned in; they really want to stay.” Visitors like to linger, too.
After watching the swan-feeding, then admiring the Children’s Farm in the ancient Great Barn where children can milk Molly the Magic Cow, it’s time for a flutter on the sheep, which – enticed by tasty morsels – race along a 200m course, entertaining all ages.
After a short morning stroll to the seafront, head slightly inland on the A351 to a real stronghold, or at least the remains of one.
Park and hike to the windy top of romantic, ruined Corfe Castle, now a National Trust monument.
Anyone with even a passing interest in military history – or vehicles – will love the grandly imposing collection of 300 tanks.