Athelhampton's history and that of its inter-related families covers more than a thousand years. Much of the present house has stood for over five centuries. This House & its estate have been in private ownership for over five hundred years but visitors are welcome. There is also a gift shop, a topiary restaurant and a Sunday carvery.
Grass paths meander between a series of ponds and lakes within this 8 acre site, with scenic places to sit and ‘unwind’. Blooming at their best throughout the summer months is one of the most outstanding displays of water lilies in Britain, surrounded by huge pond and moisture loving plants, native trees, palms, wild plants and flowers. A ‘Site of Nature Conservation Interest’, the gardens, ponds and reed beds are home to abundant wildlife.
As well as its beautiful ten acres of gardens, there are exciting shopping opportunities, restaurants, a delicatessen, regular events and with further all-weather facilities planned for the near future.
A spectacular 200-acre woodland garden, world-famous for the Rothschild collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, rare trees and plants, a riot of colour in spring, and a dazzling sight in the autumn. There are twenty miles of pathways to explore; or why not enjoy a 20-minute steam railway journey or 45 minute buggy tour and be taken to the best of the colour.
This garden is a gorgeous riot of colour with unusual and interesting annuals and perennials alongside traditional and familiar plants like phlox, roses, asters and dahlias boldly combining to make a spectacular display.
This beautiful house was built between 1919 and 1920, the formal gardens which surround it are laid out in the Arts and Crafts style of the Edwardian period. There is also an animal park where you will see donkeys, goats, horses and much more.
Tiny, isolated cottage owned by TE Lawrence (of Arabia). Austere rooms show his Middle Eastern links. There is also an exhibition detailing his life. Tel: 01929 405616
A romantic valley garden deep in a lost Dorset combe among tumbling hills and unspoilt countryside. The gardens descend from the great lawn, through the formal topiary down to the valley garden. The manor house with its church,stable block, coach house, dovecote and courtyard is essentially a part of its countryside, a glorious harmony of golden sandstone.
Birthplace of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy. There is also a traditional cottage-style garden.
Restored renaissance palazzo set in 13 acres of beautifully landscaped and woodland gardens, left to The National Trust by Bankes family. Huge collection of paintings, Egyptian artefacts, regular music events. Tel: (01202) 883402.
One of Weymouth's few remaining Tudor buildings and furnished as the home of an early 17th century middle class family. Guided tours explain aspects of the life and times. Tel: 01305 779711
Thomas Hardy’s home from 1885 until his death in 1928, designed by the great author himself. Includes memorabilia, garden and drawing room. Tel: (01305) 262538.
Wander through 20 acres of wild woodland, with many fine and rare trees, landscaped in the 18th century with lakes, cascades and streams. Formed the setting of Great Hintock House in Thomas Hardy's 'The Woodlanders'.
A fine mediaeval and Elizabethan manor house. Lying in the water-meadows near the confluence of the rivers Cerne and Frome. It was much embellished around 1580 and has splendid plaster ceilings, fireplaces and panelling of that date. To be seen are the Great Hall, Stairs and Chamber, Parlour, Dining Room, Chapel and Cyder House. The mediaeval Gatehouse has two unmatched and older towers. There are good pictures and furniture. Tel: 01305 263500.
A Tudor house with gatehouse, medieval stained glass, terraced gardens, topiary and herb garden. Tel: 01963 220206
Some say the house is haunted by a pack of dogs. It was restored in Tudor times and was held by John Alayne in the reign of Edward I, and ownership has since been passed through several noble families.
'Specialist growers of Ornamental Grasses and Perennials and the U.K. home of Ulmus Princeton the disease tolerant elm.'
A Queen Anne House in English Baroque Style, part of which is open to the public. Set in beautiful gardens with fine herbaceous borders and many interesting plants. Tel: 01258 830858.
Celebrated 18th-century landscape garden and Palladian mansion filled with Georgian treasures. Enchanting temples, monuments and rare planting around a tranquil lake.
An excavation of an entire house, showing the layout of the buildings and other features such as the well. The rooms containing mosaics are covered by a glass-walled structure. The largest intact area of mosaic is in the part of the house nearest to the uncovered walls. Tel: 01305 251000.
In Plantaganet times the ancient manor house of Canford was owned successively by the Earls of Salisbury, then the Beauforts, Courtenays and Blounts. All except the kitchens of the ancient house were demolished in 1765, and the new house built in 1826 by Lord de Mauley. Enlarged by Sir John Guest in 1848 with the addition of great hall, gallery and tower.
A fine Tudor Manor House with Georgian additions and an unusual octagonal Victorian dairy. The delightful walled garden has a herbaceous border and gives keen gardeners the opportunity to see organic gardening in practice. Tel: 01725 517207
The house has a Tudor wing but the principal building dates from 1720. The chief glory of the House is the mural in the hall painted by Sir James Thornhill, himself a Dorset man.