Dorset is home to some of the most spectacular homes and gardens in the South of England and many have direct links to some of England’s most famous historical figures. We are able to create a bespoke group tour so you can follow your historical and horticultural passions and here are a selection of our favourites to visit.
Corfe Castle – No visit to Dorset would be complete without a visit to the iconic Corfe Castle in the village of Corfe. With over 1000 years of history these romantic castle ruins have breath-taking views of the Dorset countryside. Now owned by the National Trust, Corfe Castle is open all year and dogs are welcome on short leads. During April – September there are fun filled family history events on offer within the Castle, beyond the Castle walls there are plenty of walks through the historic Dorset landscape.
Athelhampton House and Gardens – Near Dorchester is Athelhampton, which is one of the finest 15th C manor houses surrounded by one of the great gardens of England. The Great Hall is a fine example of Tudor Architecture and from here you enter the various finely furnished rooms. The gardens at Athelhampton are full of variety, the formal gardens were built between 1891-1899, and the Great Court with its striking Pyramid shaped yews trees is the most famous. Beyond the wonderful gardens the path takes you along the banks of the River Piddle to the 15th C Dovecote. Athelhampton House and Gardens are open all year and dogs are allowed on leads in the Gardens.
Lulworth Castle and Park – Lulworth Castle near Wareham is a magnificent 17th C that is one of the most beautiful castles in the South of England. From the tower there are spectacular panoramic views of the Dorset countryside, there are extensive grounds to explore, with woodland walks and plenty of picnic areas. There is a lovely Tea Room at the heart of the Castle where you can enjoy a Dorset Cream Tea. The Castle is open from Easter to December, Sunday-Fridays, dogs are allowed in the Park on leads.
Kingston Lacy – a luxurious family home that was built to resemble an Italian Palace in the rural Dorset countryside near to Wimborne Minster. This 17th C house that is owned by the National Trust was home to the Bankes family for over 300 years. The family’s exceptional taste and desire to surround themselves with beauty has meant that Kingston Lacy has an internationally acclaimed art collection, including paintings by Rubens, Velazquez and Titian. There is plenty to explore outside too. With sweeping lawns, a Japanese Garden, kitchen garden, woodland and parkland walks. With plenty of places to enjoy a picnic, Kingston Lacy is a great place for a family day out on your holiday in Dorset. The Garden and Park are open all year and dogs are allowed on leads, the House is open from the beginning of March until the end of October.
Mapperton House and Gardens – Mapperton House is a glorious Jacobean House which is the home of the Earl of Sandwich, situated near to Beaminster with outstanding views of the Dorset hills and woodlands. The House can be visited by guided tour only from 1st April – 31st October in the afternoons, Sunday- Thursday. There are over 6 hectares of beautiful gardens to explore, with an orangery, topiary, an Italianate Garden which all lead down to fish ponds and a wild garden. Mapperton House has been used as a location for films and television programmes including the 2015 adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’.