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Itinerary Planner

Plan your visit to Dorset using the '+ Itinerary Planner' button. Add to Excursion

Select items throughout the site to build an itinerary of your choice.

Thomas Hardy's country home

Thomas Hardy's country home

Max Gate House

Houses and Gardens in Dorset

Do you appreciate the finer things in life and enjoy opulent surroundings? Then why not be lord of the manor for the day and savour the stunning stately homes and Dorset gardens.

Dorset is home to some of the most spectacular homes in the country with breathtaking gardens with their own hidden histories.

Enjoy a relaxing day taking in the wonderful surroundings and imagine these homes in their hay day playing host to English aristocracy, dignitaries and famous faces.

A long list of famous figures

Many of Dorset’s gardens and homes have direct links to some of England’s most famous historical figures that made Dorset their home.

Visit the very cottage where famous author Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 and then explore the Victorian house Max Gate that Hardy designed himself and lived up until his death in 1928.

Amazing architecture and wonderful art collections

Kingston Lacy House in Wimborne Minster built in the 17th century is an elegant country mansion built in the style of an Italian Palace and is home to a fine art collection.

These include paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel plus a host of carvings, intimate family souvenirs and even an ‘I owe you’ from a king.

Inspiring gardens and horticulture

With Dorset’s mild and bright climate it’s no wonder that it’s home to some magical gardens and horticultural masterpieces.

Take in the grandeur of these wonderful grounds that have been painstakingly cared for over hundreds of years.

Mapperton House and Gardens is a stunning setting that was recently featured in the Mail on Sunday’s Top 10 British Gardens.

With a gentle walk around this magnificent garden you will be able to see why it’s thought of so highly.

Knoll Gardens is a garden of year round beauty and is renowned for its ornamental grasses that have won multiple gold awards at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The east of the county is also home to award winning growers of Roses, Camellias and Fuchsias.

You can find details on how to visit the gardens of these award winning gardeners and growers by downloading the specialist nurseries and hidden gardens of East Dorset trail.

Meet the experts and learn their secrets, they may even share with you a few of their top tips to make your own garden flourish.

Find more of the beautiful homes and Dorset gardens to visit, please browse the listings at the bottom of this page.

Plan your visit

Now you’re aware of the quality of the homes and gardens in Dorset, there is no better time than now to start planning your trip.

We’ve got hundreds of different accommodation to suit everyone featured on the website so why not book now and start planning your own tour of Dorset’s wonderful homes and gardens.

Please use the links below to find your accommodation or use our search facility.  Enjoy your visit to Dorset!

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Number of items: 12

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  1. Add Athelhampton House and Gardens to your Itinerary

    Athelhampton House and Gardens

    Type

    Historic House/Palace

    DORCHESTER

    Athelhampton is one of the finest 15thC manor-houses and is surrounded by one of the great architectural gardens of England. The house contains many finely furnished rooms including The Great Hall, Great Chamber, wine cellar. The Gallery in the west wing exhibits works by the Russian artist Marevna...

  2. Add Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park to your Itinerary

    Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park

    Type

    Garden

    DORCHESTER

    Kingston Maurward Gardens are set deep in Hardy's Dorset and are listed on the English Heritage register of gardens. The gardens include grand floral displays, stone terraces, topiary, a lake and temple. The Animal Park is a firm favourite with children and home to an interesting collection of...

  3. Add Bennetts Water Gardens to your Itinerary

    Bennetts Water Gardens

    Type

    Garden

    WEYMOUTH

    Wild plants and wildlife abound in the 6 acres of ponds, including a National collection of over 150 varieties of water lilies. Tropical house displaying tropical water lilies and a cacti collection. Woodland walks and a museum showing the history of Chickerell's brickworks. Replica 'Monet' style...

  4. Add Forde Abbey and Gardens to your Itinerary

    Forde Abbey and Gardens

    Type

    Historic House/Palace

    CHARD

    Enjoy England Excellence Silver Award Winner 2008 and South West Tourism Small Attraction of the Year 2006 & 2007.

    Now privately owned, Forde Abbey was founded by the Cistercians in 1140 and became one of the richest and most learned monasteries in the country. The church was demolished in the...

  5. Add Lulworth Castle & Park to your Itinerary

    Lulworth Castle & Park

    Type

    Castle/Fort

    EAST LULWORTH, Wareham

    Walk in the footsteps of Kings and Queens as you enjoy wide open spaces, historic buildings and stunning landscapes. Built as a Hunting Lodge in 1608, this Castle has been owned by the same family for over 400 years. Inside the Castle is a wealth of fascinating history, follow their fortunes, fate...

  6. Add Minterne Gardens to your Itinerary

    Minterne Gardens

    Type

    Garden

    DORCHESTER

    The secluded gardens at Minterne, famed for its seasonal profusion of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Japanese cherries and Magnolias are set in a peaceful wooded valley and have been described by Simon Jenkins as ‘corner of paradise.’ In late May and June many fine specimens of Davidia Involucrata (the...

  7. Add Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens to your Itinerary

    Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

    Type

    Garden

    Weymouth

    Probably one of the best gardens of its type in the world. Winner of silver medal at Chelsea and silver gilt at Hampton Court Show. Magnificent Victorian walled garden set in 20 acres of woodland valley. The unique micro climate enables rare and exotic species from all over the world to thrive here...

  8. Add Mapperton House & Gardens to your Itinerary

    Mapperton House & Gardens

    Type

    Garden

    BEAMINSTER

    Gardens descending at 3 levels beside Tudor manor-house, remodelled in c1660s. Italianate garden and fountain court. Fishponds, orangery and summerhouses. Wild garden with specimen shrubs and trees. Surrounded by wooded landscape with magnificent views. Gifts and plants for sale. Licensed cafe...

  9. Add Hardy's Cottage to your Itinerary

    Hardy's Cottage

    Type

    Historic House/Palace

    DORCHESTER

    Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in this small cob and thatch cottage, which was built by his great-grandfather and is little altered since the family left. His early novels Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd were written here.

  10. Add Kingston Lacy House and Gardens to your Itinerary

    Kingston Lacy House and Gardens

    Type

    Historic House/Palace

    WIMBORNE

    Elegant 17thC Italian inspired country mansion set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland.

    Wander around the house and discover the Spanish Room with its gilded leather and gilded ceiling brought from the Contarini Palace in Venice. Witness paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and...