Athelhampton House & Gardens

Athelhampton house front entrance Magnificent stone built 15th-c English country mansion (with additions from the 16th-c). Contains many finely furnished rooms, including the Great Hall, West Wing Gallery and a well stocked library. The property is set in outstanding Grade 1 listed gardens, with sweeping lawns, clipped topiary, fountains and mature trees.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, Sun-Thur 10.30am to 5pm; Nov~Feb, Sun only, from 10.30am
Location: Athelhampton, Dorset, DT2 7LG - Tel: 01305 848363
Facilities: parking, restaurant, shop, children's trail.
Admission Charge - see website for further details.

Clouds Hill

Clouds Hill Cottage T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) bought this little cottage in 1925 and lived here until his death in 1935 from a motor cycle accident. The cottage has been kept just as he left it, containing his furnishings and belongings. From the cottage there is a 7 mile trail to where he worked. He is buried in the churchyard at nearby Moreton.

Run by National Trust

Opening times: Mar~Oct, Thu-Sun. 12 to 5pm
Location: King George V Road, Bovington, Dorset, BH20 7NQ - Tel: 01929 405616
Admission Charge - see website for further details.

Compton Acres Gardens

Water Garden at Compton Acres Ten acres of landscaped gardens with spectacular views over Poole Harbour and the Purbeck Hills. Reputed to be amongst the finest gardens in Europe, they were laid-out in 1919 and took many years to complete. There are seven gardens in all, including, English, Heather, Japanese, Italian, Roman, Rock and Water gardens; each with its own individual charm and beauty. The intricate lay-out of the gardens is enhanced with winding paths and bridges and ponds, plus a fine collection of bronze and marble statues from around the world.

Opening times: Apr~Oct 9am to 6pm, Nov~Mar 9am to 4pm (closed Xmas)
Location: Canford Cliffs Rd, Canford Cliffs, Dorset, BH13 7ES - Tel: 01202 700778
Facilities: parking, licensed restaurant, shop, cafe, garden centre
Admission Charge - see Website for further details.

Hardy's Cottage

Small cob and thatched cottage at High Bockhampton, where the famous novelist Thomas Hardy was born in 1840. It was here that he wrote his early novels "Far from the Madding Crowds" and "Under the Greenwood Tree". The cottage is open to the public and furnished and maintained by the National Trust.

Opening times: Apr~Oct, Wed-Sun, from 11am
Location: Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, DT2 8QJ - Tel: 01305 262366
Facilities: parking nearby (no coaches)
Admission Charge - see website for further details.

Kingston Lacy House, Garden & Park

Kingston Lacy House The only surviving example of a country house designed by Sir Roger Pratt (1663-5). Its owner Sir Ralph Bankes had it built after his previous home, Corfe Castle, was destroyed in the Civil War. The internal walls are adorned with a great many masterpieces, including works by Rubens, Titian and Van Dyck. There are also sculptures from Venice and furnishings from Florence. The focal point is a magnificent white staircase of Carrara marble.

The property is set in 32 acres of formal gardens and lies at the heart of an 8,500 acre estate.

Opening times: House: Mar~Oct, Wed-Sun 11am to 5pm; Garden & Park: daily from 10.30am
Location: Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 4EA - Tel: 01202 883402
Facilities: parking, cafe, restaurant, gift shop
Admission Charge - see website for further details.

Knoll Gardens

ornamental grasses at Knoll GardensEvoking nature's profuse spontaneity, meadow-style drifts merge almost seamlessly from sunny perennial meadows to prairie style plantings and tough easy-care, green lawn substitutes. Featuring plants from Knoll's onsite nursery amidst a mini-arboretum of rare and unusual trees and shrubs, discover an abundance of practical planting ideas in this inspirational environment.

A full event programme includes guided walks, workshops, masterclasses and plant fairs and all garden visitors receive a tree trail, highlighting some of the rarer specimens within Knoll's mini arboretum as well as information about the garden's history. Knoll's Chelsea Gold Medal-winning nursery sells many of the plants found within the garden and can also offer planting advice, whilst the website provides a comprehensive insight into how to recreate Knoll's relaxed style and bring a flavour of the natural world into your own garden.

Opening times: 1 Feb ­ 22 Dec 2017, Tues ­ Sat 10am ­ 5pm (4pm Nov ­ Mar). Closed Monday except Bank Holidays.
Location: Stapehill Rd, Hampreston, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 7ND - Tel: 01202 873931
Facilities: Parking, nursery, self-service refreshments
Admission Charge - see website for further information.


A 16th-c Tudor manor house set in idyllic valley gardens (Grade II listed) nestled in the ancient wooded hills of west Dorset. The beautiful gardens are terraced down into a lovely sheltered valley with formal borders, mature trees and shrubs, ponds and fountains.

At the bottom of the valley is an exquisite Italianate sunken garden with topiary carved animals, fountains and statues. Beyond which is a woodland and wild garden that links the
formal gardens with the surrounding landscape.

Opening times: Mar-Oct, daily (ex Sat) 11am to 5pm
Location: Beaminster, Dorset, DT8 3NR - Tel: 01308 862645
Facilities: parking
Admission Charge - see website for more information.

Minterne Gardens

Unique 18th-c woodland garden, filled with magnolias, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, plus many other flowering shrubs and aquatic plants. Described by Simon Jenkins as 'a corner of paradise', this 20 acre garden is beautifully enhanced with lakes, streams and water cascades.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, daily 10am to 6pm
Location: Minterne Magna, Dorset, DT2 7AU - Tel: 01300 341370
Facilities: parking
Admission Charge - see website for more information.

Red House Museum & Gardens

Georgian house containing a local and natural history museum and art gallery, set in lovely rose and herb gardens with woodland walks.

The core of the Red House dates from 1760, when it originated as a workhouse. The Museum's natural history section includes fossils from the Tertiary deposits at Barton. The archaeological section includes material from a late Paleolithic 'Reindeer Hunters' camp site at Hengistbury and
from the nearby port and settlement, dating from the Early Iron Age to Roman times. In the Victorian section are Children's toys and games displayed in a period setting. Some 19th-c costumes and accessories are also on display.

The art gallery has regular changing exhibitions.

Opening times: Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 2-5 (closed Xmas & GF)
Location: Quay Rd, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1BU - Tel: 01202 482860
Facilities: parking (200 metre) cafe, shop
Admission Charge - see website for more information.

Please note that the above information was accurate at the time this page was last updated. This information is subject to change at any time (opening times in particular), therefore if you plan on visiting any of the above attractions, please check the owner's website first or phone them for the latest details.


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