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HOUSES AND GARDENS
Dorset and the surrounding counties have many interesting houses and beautiful gardens to visit. Here are some of our favourites.
From the NT website: "When Stourhead first opened in the 1740s, it was described as ‘a living work of art’. The world-famous landscape garden has a magnificent lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees." The house is a Palladian mansion, filled with Georgian treasures including Chippendale furniture and fine paintings.
Location: near Mere, Wiltshire
Postcode: BA12 6QF
Distance: 16 miles, about 35 mins' drive
Combine this visit with: King Alfred's Tower, and maybe lunch at the Bull at Hardway.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
The garden celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2015 and is filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world. It has a mixture of formal and informal areas, with charming walled garden walks and spectacular woodland valley views. Magnolia walk and viewing point over the Jurassic Coast. There's a good restaurant at the entrance to the garden.
Location: near Weymouth, Dorset
Postcode: DT3 4LA
Distance: 37 miles, about 1 hour's drive
Combine this visit with: Abbotsbury Swannery, Abbotsbury Children's Farm, and Chesil Beach.
Described on the N T website as an "elegant country mansion set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland". The garden includes a fernery, displays of snowdrops followed by daffodils in spring, Japanese garden, flower borders, kitchen garden, pigs, chickens, kids' play area, forest walks. There's also a restaurant in the old stables.
Location: Near Wimborne Minster
Postcode: BH21 4EA
Distance: 18 miles, about 35 mins' drive.
Combine this visit with: Badbury Rings, Wimborne Minster, and maybe lunch at the Anchor pub at Shapwick.