Gardens to Visit in Dorset

Abbotsbury Gardens

Chinese Bridge © Robin Drayton (CC2)

A paradise of sub-tropical plants, protected from the elements by a band of oak trees. Contains many large trees, plus a wide variety of rare and exotic plants. Good displays of camellias and rhododendrons in spring, followed by hydrangeas in late summer. Japanese maples provide stunning autumn colour. Dogs are on leads welcome.

Facilities: parking, trails, plant sales, shop, cafe
Open: all year, daily
Address: Bullers Way, Abbotsbury DT3 4LA
Tel: 01305 871387
Web: abbotsburygardens.co.uk

Athelhampton

South-western Side © Derek Voller (CC2)

Fine mediaeval house set in outstanding Grade 1 listed gardens, with sweeping lawns, clipped topiary, fountains and mature trees. Includes a series of formal Elizabethan-style court gardens, including the Great Court with twelve 10 ft (9 m) high yew pyramids.

Facilities: parking, restaurant, shop, trails
Open: all year
Address: Athelhampton, Dorset, DT2 7LG
Tel: 01305 848363
Web: athelhampton.co.uk

Bennetts Water Gardens

Monet Bridge © Bennetts Water Gardens

Tranquil water gardens laid out as a series of ponds with lilies and a Monet-style bridge. Encompassed by wetland plants, native trees, palms and wild flowers. Home to the National Collection of Water Lilies, which flower from late spring through to early autumn. Also Tropical House with a range of exotic plants. Family nature trails.

Facilities: parking, shop, cafe, plant sales
Open: March to September
Address: Putton Ln, Chickerell DT3 4AF
Tel: 01305 785150
Web: waterlily.co.uk

Cranborne Manor

Lychnis coronaria © Seasonal Gardening

Romantic gardens laid out in the 17th-c. by John Tradescant. Especially good show of old Roses. Highlights include a Jacobean Mount garden and a knot garden planted with traditional Elizabethan flowers.

Facilities: parking, plant centre, shop
Open: March to September
Address: Wimborne St, Cranborne BH21 5PP
Tel: 01725 517248
Web: cranborne.co.uk

Compton Acres

Japanese Garden (FM)

Historic ten acre site set in a peaceful wooded Valley. Laid out as a series of individual gardens each with its own beauty, charm and character. Includes a formal Italian Garden, a Japanese Garden, sculpture garden, Egyptian Court garden and a Spanish water garden. Picturesque views across Poole Harbour and the Purbeck Hills.

Facilities: parking, shop, cafe, garden centre
Open: March to October
Address: Canford Cliffs, Dorset, BH13 7ES
Tel: 01202 700778
Web: comptonacres.co.uk

Kingston Lacy

House and Gardens by Kirsty Holl (CC0)

One of Dorset's finest gardens with 300 acres of formal gardens set in a vast 8,500 acre estate. Range of different garden styles, including a Japanese Garden with cherry blossom and flaming maples, and a Victorian Fernery with over 40 varieties of ferns. A graceful Lime Avenue leads to a fine arboretum with spectacular spring displays of azalea, camellia and rhododendron.

Facilities: parking, cafe, restaurant, gift shop
Open: daily from 10.30am
Address: Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 4EA
Tel: 01202 883402 - Run by National Trust
Web: nationaltrust.org.uk

Knoll Gardens

The Long Walk © Knoll Gardens

This beautiful all-year-round garden, provides a flourishing environment for its meadow and prairie style planting, and a welcoming habitat for wildlife. Planted with thousands of grasses, plants, trees and shrubs, Knoll is renowned for its naturalistic style. Its full annual event programme includes guided walks, workshops, master classes and plant fairs.

Facilities: parking, nursery, refreshments
Open: February to December
Address: Hampreston, Dorset, BH21 7ND
Tel: 01202 873931
Web: knollgardens.co.uk

Mapperton

Magnolia liliiflora by hansbenn (CC0)

Nestled in the ancient wooded hills of west Dorset. These mature gardens terrace down into a lovely sheltered valley with formal borders, mature trees and shrubs; enhanced by ponds, fountains and statues. An exquisite Italianate sunken garden with clipped topiary lies the bottom of the valley. Beyond which is a wild woodland area, linking the formal gardens with the surrounding countryside.

Facilities: parking
Open: March to October, daily
Address: Beaminster, Dorset, DT8 3NR
Tel: 01308 862645
Web: mapperton.com

Minterne

Water Lilies (FM)

Historic 20 acre woodland garden, filled with magnolias, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, plus many other flowering shrubs and aquatic plants. Enhanced with lakes, streams and water cascades. Stout footwear required due to steep and uneven surfaces. House not open to public.

Facilities: picnic area
Open: February to November, daily
Address: Minterne Magna, Dorset, DT2 7AU
Tel: 01300 341370
Web: minterne.co.uk


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