Dorset and the surrounding counties have many interesting houses and beautiful gardens to visit.  Here are some of our favourites.


Stourhead Gardens, bridge and lake view

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.

Athelhampton House and Gardens

Athelhampton House

Location: near Dorchester,  DT2 7LG
Distance: 18 miles,  35 mins’ drive.
Website:  Athelhampton
Nearby: Kingston Maurward Gardens


Tintinhull House and Garden, Somerset

Location: Farm Street, Tintinhull, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8PZ
Distance: 22 miles, 45 mins' drive
Website: Tintinhull (NT)
Nearby: Montacute House,  Yeovil

Lytes Cary Manor

Lytes Cary House and Garden

Location: nr Somerton, Somerset, TA11 7HU
Distance: 24 miles, 45 mins' drive
Website: Lytes Cary (NT)
Nearby: Montacute House,  Tintinhull

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset

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.

Forde Abbey House and Garden

Forde Abbey

Location: Chard, Somerset, TA20 4LU
Distance: 34 miles,  1 hr 10 mins' drive
Website: Forde Abbey
Nearby: Lyme Regis


Montacute House

Location:  Montacute, Somerset, TA15 6XP
Distance: 21 miles, 45 mins' drive
Website:  Montacute (NT)
Nearby: Tintinhull House, Yeovil

Knoll Gardens

Knoll Gardens, Dragon Pond

Location: Stapehill Rd, Hampreston, Dorset, BH21 7ND
Distance: 22 miles, 45 mins' drive
Website: Knoll
Nearby: Wimborne Minster

Kingston Lacy

Kingston Lacy House

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.

Mapperton Gardens

Mapperton Gardens

Location: Beaminster, Dorset, DT8 3NR
Distance: 25 miles, 50 mins' drive
Website: Mapperton
Nearby: Beaminster, Bridport, West Bay

Barrington Court

Barrington Court

Location:  nr Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0NQ
Distance: 30 miles, 55 mins' drive
Website:  Barrington (NT)
Nearby: Tintinhull House, Yeovil

Compton Acres

Compton Acres Italianate Garden

Location: Canford Cliffs Rd, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7ES
Distance: 27 miles, 1 hr's drive
Website: Compton Acres
Nearby: Poole, Bournemouth