Dorset Gardens Tour

Dorset Coast - Dorset Gardens Tour -Compton Acres - C 003web.jpg
Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Garden Tours
from £1,189pp

Dorset has a wonderful collection of stately homes surrounded by long-established gardens. Dorset’s southerly location allows subtropical plants to thrive at Abbotsbury – a garden noted for its Camellia groves and magnolias. The design of Minterne House gardens was inspired by Capability Brown while the Victorian gardens as Larmer Tree were laid out by General Pitt Rivers. From the gardens of 15th century Athelhampton House to the large formal gardens of Kingston Lacy, there’s something for everyone.

Holiday Highlights

  • Attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland at Kingston Lacy
  • Magnificent garden at Athelhampton surrounding the 15th century house
  • Compton Acres – the south’s finest historical gardens
  • The subtropical gardens at Abbotsbury are famous in Dorset of their Rhodeodendrons, Hydrangea collections and a charming Victorian garden. 

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
  • The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • All transport to and from gardens on a comfortable, good-quality coach with a PA system
  • All garden admission costs except those for English Heritage, National Trust and RHS Gardens. If you are a member of these organisations, don't forget to bring your membership cards! Some venues have stately homes/houses which incur a separate admission fee should you wish to visit.

 

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Check-in starts from 2.30pm (Best and Better rooms from 1pm). All guests are invited to join us for afternoon tea where we’ll introduce your leader.


In the morning you will be visiting Kingston Maurward Animal Park & Gardens. The garden is a tranquil, peaceful area situated in the undulating Dorset countryside which has lakes, canals and formal gardens. 

In the afternoon you will visit Compton Acres. The gardens of compton acres are laid out on a circular route. The unique layout allows visitors to discover each of the garden. 


The valley around Minterne Gardens was first landscaped in the 18th century, with ideas from Capability Brown. The upper gardens include a fine collection of trees and shrubs, especially those from the Himalayas. The lower gardens, a chain of pools and streams, have many azaleas, ferns and waterside plants. Later we visit Mapperton, a formal garden in the Italianate style and set in a valley, alongside a beautiful Jacobean manor house surrounded by mature trees and with superb views.


A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House.


Athelhampton House is a Tudor mansion with beautiful formal gardens. The gardens include water features, perennial and rose beds, and a topiary garden. Guests may choose to visit the house (admission not included). Later we visit Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens. Enjoying a very mild microclimate the gardens have a wide range of mature trees, shrubs and perennials laid out in informal style.


In the morning you will visit Cranborne Manor. A seventeenth century garden, which has a mount and a grass terraced tilt yard. The mount is now a rose garden but still permits views out of the garden. 

In the afternoon you will be visiting Larmer tree gardens. An 11 acre garden set in the heart of cranborne chase. The area boasts outstanding beauty. 


Knoll Gardens is a plantsman’s garden, created from the 1970s. Informal in style the garden has many rare trees, shrubs and perennials, and collections of ornamental grasses. In the afternoon we visit Kingston Lacy. The house was built in the 18th century by Ralph Bankes in the Italianate style. The grounds include formal gardens and extensive, informal parklands that feature a Japanese Garden, a fernery and woodland walks. Guests may also wish to visit the house (admission not included).


Depart after a leisurely breakfast.


West Lulworth House

Set just 200 yards from the sea, West Lulworth House has a highly coveted location just above the lake-still expanse of Lulworth Cove on Dorset’s iconic Jurassic Coast. Built in 1881 by the then Mayor of Weymouth, it has been perennially popular with walkers, twitchers and fossil hunters. As well as 22 delightful bedrooms, there’s a south facing garden and elevated terrace with cracking views, an outdoor heated pool and a pair of lovely lounges, perfect for a relaxing walking holiday exploring the Jurassic Coast. Step out the front door and on to the coast path. To the west lies Middle Beach and the picture perfect Durdle Door, with its massive rock arch and gently sloping beach. East lie the beaches of Mupe Bay and Arish Mell. But you’re here for the walking and what adventure you’ll have on the coast path or exploring the interior. Then there’s Lulworth Castle and the famous ruins of Corfe Castle standing guard over the Purbeck Hills to explore.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas.

In Scotland and Wales physical distancing is still in place so this will be adhered to indoors and outdoors. Guests will need to wear face masks in public areas except when eating and drinking. The Scottish and Welsh governments are reviewing their guidance in August and we will adapt our measures in line with any updated guidance at this time.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

At this time the evening social programme has been replaced by individual or small group walks talks which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options with leaders. All of our swimming pools have opened as planned, except for Brecon and Glen Coe, which have delayed pool re-openings. Swimming pools are being operated in line with guidance provided by Swim England.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms or in the adjoining cottage. With 22 bedrooms, West Lulworth House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: each room has an airy feel and the same cosy style. Opt though for Room 4 on the first floor of the main house for its weathered, pastel-painted wood panels and the lovely view looking over the cove, or squirrel yourself away in Room 23 in the cottage to the side of the main house for a large room with more sumptuous views to soak up.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on the Dorset Coast or hunting for fossils, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the sunny south facing gardens or take a table on the terrace with matchless views of the cove below. Slip in to the heated outdoor pool (currently closed) then surface in time to retire to the cosy lounge and its squishy sofas and seafaring decorations to read up on the area or the attractive bar with its pretty tiled insets for a sundowner.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at West Lulworth House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might tuck in to flavours such as Dorset blue Vinney, pork fillet with Purbeck Cider and apple sauce and New Forest wild mushroom tagliatelle. Settle in under the large roof lantern or beside the panoramic double doors to dine in style – if the sun’s out they’ll even throw the doors open to let the outside in.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for West Lulworth House

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Getting to West Lulworth House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

As you'll be walking around the gardens please bring stout, comfortable footwear for rough, wet or uneven terrain in gardens, and clothes for the great British weather!

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2022
17 Jun - 24 Jun 2022
7 Garden Tour £1,189 Available Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
7 nights
Interests:
Garden Tours

7 nights from £1,189pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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