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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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  1. Add Athelhampton House and Gardens to your Itinerary

    Athelhampton House and Gardens


    Historic House/Palace


    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 Bennetts Water Gardens to your Itinerary

    Bennetts Water Gardens




    Situated on the Jurassic Coast, on the edge of Chickerell Village, is Bennetts Water Gardens. This third generation family run business is on an eight acre site of tranquil lakes and a world famous lily collection. The gardens hold the National Plant Collection© of Water Lilies with a Monet style...

  3. Add Kingston Lacy  to your Itinerary

    Kingston Lacy


    Historic House/Palace


    Kingston Lacy is an elegant 17th century Italian inspired country mansion set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland.

    Wander around Kingston Lacy house and discover the Spanish Room with its gilded leather and gilded ceiling brought from the Contarini Palace in Venice.


  4. Add Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens to your Itinerary

    Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens




    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...

  5. Add Lulworth Castle & Park to your Itinerary

    Lulworth Castle & Park



    EAST LULWORTH, Wareham

    Welcome to Lulworth Castle and Park at the heart of the privately owned Lulworth Estate.

    Follow the fascinating story of Lulworth Castle and the inspiring past of its dedicated owners.

    From the Lulworth Castle tower, discover breathtaking views over the Dorset countryside, picnic in the...

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

    Kingston Maurward Gardens and Animal Park




    Kingston Maurward House was built in 1720 for George Pitt in the classic Palladian style that so characterised this period. 

    The contemporary parkland and pleasure gardens were laid out in the style popularised by Capability Brown.

    Simplicity was the hallmark of the gardens which consisted of...

  7. Add Sherborne Castle to your Itinerary

    Sherborne Castle


    Historic House/Palace


    Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 and stately home of the Digby family since 1617, Sherborne Castle is a Historic House which reflects a glorious variety of decorative styles from over 400 years of English history. Come and experience the Castle's rich interiors with splendid collections of art,...

  8. Add Forde Abbey and Gardens to your Itinerary

    Forde Abbey and Gardens


    Historic House/Palace


    Forde Abbey is a fascinating combination of mediaeval monastery and family home. Many of its 12th century features, including the Cloisters and vaulted Undercroft (in use today as a tea room) are beautifully preserved.

    After the dissolution of the monasteries, Forde Abbey was transformed into a...

  9. Add Mapperton House & Gardens to your Itinerary

    Mapperton House & Gardens




    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.

    Voted 'The Nation's Finest Manor House' by...

  10. Add Clouds Hill - home of T.E .Lawrence to your Itinerary

    Clouds Hill - home of T.E .Lawrence


    Historic House/Palace

    BOVINGTON, Wareham

    T E Lawrence's (Lawrence of Arabia) retreat containing his own furnishings and photographs. Sorry no internal photography is permitted. Suitable for school groups. A special exhibition on Lawrence is provided in the garage area.