We've always had a thing for West Bay - the unpretentious resort and fishing town nestled between Golden Cap and the Jurassic cliffs that extend east to the smaller but equally appealing community of Burton Bradstock. Now of course everyone knows it because of the smash hit TV series Broadchurch, which has just begun its second enthralling series on ITV. But what is it about West Bay that we like so much - and what brought the TV crews here in the first place?
They needed somewhere with high steep cliffs to fit the Broadchurch storyline, and they certainly came to the right place: West Bay's cliffs are as majestic as anywhere along this impressive coastline, and tower over a magnificent beach.
West Bay is effectively the seaside bit of nearby market town Bridport, and we have a soft spot for this excellent seventeenth-century coaching inn, which has reinvented itself as a contemporary boutique hotel – and one that's as comfy as it is chic. Sadly it's not the actual property owned by saucy hotelier Becca Fisher in Broadchurch, but is still a favourite place of ours to stay in the area.
This is a top choice of local boy Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall but to be honest it had been going long before that young upstart arrived here, and it's still the best pace to eat fish and seafood for miles around. Try one of their heavenly seafood platters if you're hungry, but book ahead in season – it's justifiably very popular.
Serving the same brilliant fish and seafood dishes as its more renowned sister restaurant - the Hive Café in Burton Bradstock – this place couldn't enjoy a better location, right on the beach in the heart of West Bay. Its seafood broth is legendary.
If there is a bakery in the whole of Dorset as yummy as this one, then we have yet to find it. A fabulous place to stock up for a picnic, with home-baked organic bread, cakes and pastries, and including the most delicious almond croissants that we have ever tasted.
Just a few miles east of West Bay, Norburton Hall is one of the comfiest paces to stay hereabouts, an Edwardian manor house that does both B&B and self-catering accommodation. It's grand without being formal, with a sweeping staircase, lovely gardens and en-suite rooms that mix antique furnishings with more contemporary touches. Very nice indeed.
This beautifully converted rope warehouse now houses a great café and gallery – and hosts occasional live music events in the evening. Food is lovely – soups, mezzes, salads, local fish stew.
One of our favourite activities in West Bay is to take one of these fishing trips – mainly for mackerel – out beyond the harbour. You can catch a shedload of fish and cook it up for dinner at the end of the day.
Broadchurch is on every Monday night at 9pm, ITV.