FROM the moment it opened its doors The Tickled Pig in Wimborne has gone from strength to strength winning a series of awards.

Now in its seventh year the restaurant has just won the BH Stars award for Best Chef for Head Chef Luke Jefford and the Silver award for the Best Overall Dinning Experience in the BH area.

But The Tickled Pig team say they are keeping their trotters “firmly on the ground”!

“Our ethos has always been about home grown and home reared produce” explained co-owner Jez. “Our original strap line for the business was ‘Taking Food back to its Roots’, and that is essentially at the heart of everything we do.

“We have always believed that great food starts with great ingredients and that is why we continue to strive to source the best local produce that we can, as well as growing and rearing as much of our own ingredients as possible.”

The Tickled Pig team have taken this to the next level with the launch last year of Abbots Court in Winterborne Kingston.

“Abbots Court is really the beating heart of the Tickled Pig project” explained Niki, “this is where we are growing and rearing our produce and it is also where our customers can come and stay to get a truly immersive Tickled Pig experience”.

Described as a boutique rural escape, Abbots Court provides guest accommodation and dinning as well as a chance to visit the Tickled Pig kitchen garden and livestock.

It is a small rural oasis that the team are developing using the ideas of regenerative agriculture to maximise their yield and grow even more delicious produce to enhance their award winning menus.

There is also a herd of rare breed Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, chickens and bees as well as having meadow, woodland and an original walled kitchen garden where they grow the produce for the restaurant.

The accommodation at Abbots Court is luxurious but not pretentious, with each unique bedroom benefitting from an ensuite bathroom and views of the gardens and rolling countryside.

There is a small menu that showcases the produce grown, reared and foraged on site.

Alex Naik, head chef at Abbots Court was recently voted Dorset’s Chef of the Yea.

Abbots Court Rural Escape at Winterborne Kingston near Blandford was listed in the Guardian in its top ten countryside escapes.

They have also received 5 stars from the AA, inclusion in the Trencherman’s Guide and have featured in the Guardian online and the Independent.

Despite all of this, the overall sense that you get when visiting either the Tickled Pig or Abbots Court is one of being put at ease.

“It is our mission to make the whole experience as accessible to as many people as possible and overall we want our guests to feel really welcome, relaxed and at home with us,” explained Niki.