Postcard from Dorset: checking out the Hive Beach Café

You might remember a couple of weeks back we spent a day raving about some of Britain’s Best Beach Cafés. As threatened promised at the time, Mr & Mrs Smith paid a visit to some of them, for – ahem – research purposes (nothing to do with the lure of knickerbocker glories, marshmallow-pink prawns, fresh lobster sandwiches or crumbly wedges of moist sponge cake, then). Here’s what James – aka Mr Smith – had to say after a trip the Hive Beach Café in Dorset with his Mrs Smith, Tamara


Hive Beach Café – holidays in Dorset

March 2009Beach cafés have in the past meant (in my mind at least) soggy fish ‘n’ chips, cappuccinos from milkshake machines and glow-in-the-dark ice cream for pudding. All served up by po-faced temporary staff from local student halls.

So, when we were on a seaside weekend away staying at the Bull Hotel in Bridport with our good friends Kate and Robbie, and Mrs Smith suggested we go for a bracing walk (on what turned out to be a typically miserable wet and windy Spring day) and ‘stop off for a coffee at the Hive Beach Café’, I responded by smiling through my gritted teeth and mumbling ‘sounds like a great idea’. Because kicking back and reading the Sunday papers by a cosy fire with a nice cup of tea wasn’t at all what I had wanted to do. Oh no. Heaven forbid.

Eating out in Dorset at the Hive Beach CaféIn fairness, Hive Beach was beautiful, and the Jurassic coast made a refreshing change from the ‘pretty’ Cornish beaches that I’m more familiar with, and when we did eventually arrive at the Hive Beach Café, I have to confess, I was immediately smitten. Toasty warm inside, a fish-shop-style counter takes centre stage: it’s packed with various catches of the day, and chalk boards explain where everything had been line-caught (you can even look up the name of the local fishermen who’ve caught your fish). Bustling chefs behind the counter added a little seaside theatre to proceedings.

You then walk into the adjacent room, and your eyes become wider as you see the home-made cakes on display – and real ‘grown-up’ coffee-making machines with an impressive array of coffees to choose from. The staff even smile. One guy I talked to had worked there for seven years – which confirmed (in my mind at least) this was indeed a special café.

The guy in question then shouted, ‘Hive Beach Café in DorsetHot scones ready, come and get ’em!’, and as people leapt from their seats to get their sticky mitts on the latest batch, I found myself jostling for pole position. Because (and you might here like to imagine the honeyed tones of Dervla Kirwan) this isn’t just any old beach café; this is the ultimate, gold-star, award-winning, like no other, best beach café in the world. Probably.

So I grab my tray (it’s self-service) and start to pile things on top that I don’t even want, but which look too good to refuse, and after all we were on a mini-break, and of course the rules of the mini-break clearly state that you are allowed to eat as much cake and ice cream as you like. And when it’s this good, it’s even worth the walk….

Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by

As well as wordsmithing online, in print, in the press and for Smith TV, Lucy Fennings has been a driving force in making the Smith Travel Blog an award-winner. Mr & Mrs Smith's Group Editor cut her travel teeth early; as daughter of a hotel PR, she visited far-flung flophouses from French châteaux to Ethiopian tukuls. After a year in Dubai (working on Emirates Woman magazine and enjoying the kind of dives that require a wetsuit), Lucy went to Glasgow University to study art, literature and whisky. A stint as production editor at Legalease publishing was spent discovering how to be creative with copy about tax, followed quickly by a stint discovering more interesting things across south-east Asia. When Mr & Mrs Smith found her, Lucy was at Harper’s Bazaar, keeping her finger on fashion’s pulse and sharpening her editorial knife on hapless hotel PR copy.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Tamara at 7:50 pm

    I love the fact that this cafe is open all year round – where locals have their breakfast come rain or shine.

    We were told that it gets very busy in the summer – but with the beach right in front of it, there’s plenty of space to spread out.

    As I’m going to be spending a lot of time down there this summer, I will report back!

  2. Lucy at 8:18 pm

    Super place and lovely morning this morning despite the weather – loved seeing the pancake race as did my children!! Thank you

  3. Pingback: Britain’s best beach cafés | Travel Blog - Mr & Mrs Smith Boutique & Luxury Hotels
  4. Pingback: Ruinart and Miller Harris Sensory Afternoon Tea at the Soho Hotel, London

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *