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A Selection of Local Gardens and National Trust Sites to visit this Summer

Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life?
How about taking a stroll through an array of secluded gardens and flowery meadows?
Maybe you would prefer to take a walk-through time and explore and learn the history of
some of Dorset’s most famous castles and hidden gems. If that isn’t your cup of tea, how
about a walk along the many ancient coastlines, blue flag beaches or a visit to a secluded
island. With all this wonderful weather we have been having, all are perfect opportunities
to get your fix of fresh air and to enjoy the great outdoors:-
Kingston Lacy
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Courtesy of: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

An Italian palace in the heart of the Dorset Countryside home
to one of Dorset’s most powerful families, the Bankes.

Bask in the beauty of one of the largest private collection of
paintings in Britain or discover the treasures of Egypt roaming one of the largest displays of
Egyptian relics in the UK. Look up at beautifully restored ceiling fresco, see one of the last
surviving ‘tent rooms’ or spot the keys to Corfe Castle over the mantelpiece and read up on the
History of the Bankes family over the last 400 years.

Set on 8,500 acres of estate there is loads to explore outside
as well. From Iron Age forts, to colourful heathland, water meadows and even a Roman road.
Take a summer picnic and sprawl across the south lawn or let the children run wild in the
nearby play areas. Have a wander around the Japanese Garden, complete with authentic tea house
or take a sheltered walk through the surrounding woodland. You can even take home some
inspirational tips on how to maintain the perfect vegetable garden!

Corfe Castle
Related image

Courtesy of: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle

A  royal palace and fortress shaped by warfare with 1,000 of years
history to discover from the lives of all who have lived, worked and fought in the castle to
tales of treachery and treason. With many nooks and crannies to explore and a vast amount of
fallen walls and secret places, these castle ruins are captivating for all ages. Admire
breath-taking views of the Purbeck hills and meet many wildlife that have set up home there.

Visit the Model village, step back in time and compare the
castle as it was almost 300 years ago to the ruins that stand before us today.

There is also an array of walks to choose from and regular
activities to join in on or watch such as rein actions of Corfe Castle history , open air
theatre productions, cooking classes etc.

Studland Bay
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Courtesy of: https://www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/studland-beach-p127213

A 4 mile stretch of golden sandy beach with views of both Old
Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight. The perfect location for sandcastle making, water sport
trying and long walks in the dunes or through the designated countryside trails. Studland is home
to an abundance of wildlife from dragonflies and damselflies to sea birds and deer along with a
range of different wild flowers and woodland to explore. For some of the best views of the
heathlands, head to Agglestone, a 400-tonne rock sitting alone on a conical hill. Perfect for
a breath of fresh air.

Brownsea Island
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Courtesy of: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island

From the moment you step ashore, Brownsea can feel like a whole other
world with an array of woodland, heathland and a lagoon to explore. With a remarkably varied history,
there is a lot to learn about the islands past residents. From being a hideout for pirates or a
second world war refuge to  being a historical landmark for the Scouting and Guiding movement,
there is a lot to know about the fascinating castaway island.

It is also a unique haven for wildlife, especially the red
squirrel, and their island trails provide a refreshing walk through many habitats home to
all kinds of creatures.

With regular events and activities for both adults and kids
and a visitor centre providing maps and guidebooks to help with your day, Brownsea island
has something for everyone.

 

Compton Acres
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Courtesy of: https://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk/england/item/compton-acres-gardens.html

Acknowledged as one of the finest privately-owned gardens in England,
Compton Acres is well known for its 10 acres of horticultural and ornamental gardens. Each
garden is set to a different theme from Italian to Japanese, Wooded Valley to Rock & Water,
each with their own unique displays of colour, plants, statues, waterfalls & fountains,
trees and shrubs. It’s a great place for a peaceful and relaxing walk, both long and short,
filled with breath taking views and an oasis of natural beauty. There is even a café to stop and
grab a coffee and a bite to eat overlooking the gardens and Poole harbour and their plant centre
allows for you to take some of what is the beauty of Compton Acres home with you.

Lulworth Castle & Park
Lulworth Castle and Park

Courtesy of: https://www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/lulworth-castle-and-park-p155493

The most beautiful castle in the South, steeped in history. Follow in
the footsteps of kings and queens as you take a walk around the Castle grounds, stand at the top of
the tower admiring the views or explore the rooms and background of the castle itself. With extensive
parkland, woodland walks, a children’s play area, animal farm and an array of garden games to keep you
busy, Its great for a family day out. Why not bring a picnic or come for a walk with the dog? You
could even visit the castle tearooms and feast on a selection of homemade cakes or enjoy a cream tea.

Upton Country Park
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Courtesy of: http://www.paulunderhill.com/wedding-photography/upton-country-park-wedding-planning-saraj/

An award-winning park and Poole’s main attraction whatever the
season. Its ideal for a leisurely stroll or cycle ride with many mapped out routes through woodland
and countryside you can follow. You could even take a Segway tour as a more exciting way of getting
around. There’s an abundance of wildlife, gardens and plants to explore and a woodland play trail
for the kids. There’s an art gallery above the tea rooms displaying the works of many local
professional artists and knowledgeable guided tours of the ground floor rooms of Upton House
are available.

Durlston Country Park & National Nature Reserve
Image result for durlston country park

Courtesy of: https://www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/durlston-country-park-national-nature-reserve-p140203

A mile south of Swanage lies Durlston Country Park, 320 acres of
countryside filled with a diverse selection of wildlife and an array of habitats in which they
breed from sea-cliffs to meadows. Bask in the stunning views, follow the walking trails, look at the
historic Great Globe or explore the renovated Durlston Castle. You can even hire a family explorer
backpack for the kids filled with an array of fun activities. Visit the art gallery with regularly
changing art and exhibitions or grab a hot beverage and a quick lunch from the castles café.

Blue Pool
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Courtesy of: http://www.bluepooltearooms.co.uk/

If your looking for a place of peace and tranquility, then the Blue Pool
is the place for you. Surrounded by 20 acres of woods and heathland with multiple sandy paths leading
down to the waters edge, the pool itself constantly varies in colour going from green to turquoise.
This makes for some gorgeous pictures. Visitors may even catch a glimpse of some of the landscapes
wildlife including deer, rabbits, badgers, foxes and dragonflies and could even be luck enough to spot
a Dartford Warbler or Green Sand Lizard. There is an array of play areas dotted around for the children
to explore and Magic Fairy Doors and Model Squirrels in trees for the kids to find. All the family
would be entertained.

Kingston Maurward Gardens & Animal Park
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Courtesy of: https://www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/kingston-maurward-gardens-and-animal-park-p154253

The contemporary parkland and pleasure gardens were laid out in the
style popularised by Capability Brown (the UK’s most celebrated landscape designer). Simplicity was
the hallmark of the gardens which consisted of rolling turf, carefully placed groups of trees, a lake
and a lakeside temple.

The gardens seen today have survived several periods. Created between
1915 and 1922, the 35-acre formal gardens were set within the existing framework of the 18th
century parklands. More recently, the gardens have been sympathetically restored using photographs from
the 1930’s retaining the best features of the old and adding new ones. They consist of a cornucopia of
small gardens set on an axes, each with their own themes, character, trails, walks and walled gardens.

The animal park is a hit with the kids and home to a interesting selection
of animals including goats, alpacas, miniature Shetland ponies, sheep and more.

dorset hotel

Discover Dorset

How well do you know Dorset?

With its perfect mix of history, countryside and coastline there are miles of scenery
to explore and activities to do appealing to holiday makers with a variety of interests.

A lover of long walks and orienteering expeditions?
Why not walk the Jurassic Coast and witness the array of wildlife, dramatic cliff-tops and stunning landscape for yourself. We’ve put together a few local walks for you to take advantage of. Check them out here or download the PDF version.

Want to get away to a seaside haven?
Dorset provides an array of blue-flagged beaches –  ideal for relaxing in the sunshine,
taking up your preferred water sport or simply building a sandcastle with the ones you love.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed escape away, why not head inland
and discover Dorset’s wealth of historic castles, fantastic houses and impeccably kept gardens.
Take a stroll through beautifully quaint villages and seaside towns offering an array of eateries for you to try the fresh local produce in the presence of incredible views.

With something for everyone, we have put together a list of the MUST DO’s in Dorset
to keep you entertained while your away in this beautiful location.

Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island & Sandbanks

Why not take a trip to Poole Quay and Old Town,
both steeped in history and offering attractions to suit all interests.
Poole Quay is the gateway to the stunning harbour and islands making it the best place to take breakfast, lunch or dinner whilst watching ships, fishing boats or luxury Sunseeker yachts as they enter and leave the bay.

When visiting Poole Quay you must make time to stop of at Poole Pottery.
Witness famous artists and modellers at work and watch demonstrations or get your hands dirty and have a go at painting your own masterpiece.

Also a short walk from Poole Quay is Poole Park and The Ark,
offering a wide variety of activities from water sports on the lake to crazy golf,
ice skating and 3 levels of soft play with slides, tunnels and interactive zones.

From Poole Quay, voyage across the water with City Cruises,
taking in Europe’s largest natural harbour dotted with tiny islands.
Stop off at the National Trust’s Brownsea Island, home of the scouting movement.
This wildlife haven, is free of traffic and easily walk-able – spot red squirrels and migrating birds or take a picnic and find your own beach cove for a quiet afternoon away.

If a relaxing boat trip isn’t your cup of tea why not take to the shallow waters of Poole Harbour & Sandbanks and try out one of over 25 water based
activities they have to offer at The Watersports Academy. Whether its windsurfing, sailing, paddle boarding or fishing for your own dinner on a chartered boat trip, you’re sure to have fun.
Sandbanks, known as one of the most expensive places in the world to live, also offers fantastic, wide sandy beaches and lots of sophisticated cafes and eateries to stop off and take in the gorgeous views.

Just a short drive from Sandbanks is Compton Acres,
one of the finest privately-owned and important ornamental gardens in England.
Explore over ten acres of stunning individual gardens displaying exquisite plants from all over the world, browse the treasures in the Gifted Moment store offering excellent shopping opportunities of
Dorset-made goods or attend one of the many events held all year round
from Sculpture Trails, Wine Tasting and more.

Studland & Swanage

Take the old-fashioned chain ferry across the mouth of Poole Harbour from Sandbanks
(either on foot, by car or by bus) and enjoy Studland Bay.
Famous for its sand dunes, heathland and nature reserve, it makes a wonderful day out.
Walk through paths of wild garlic to the iconic Old Harry Rocks enjoying fabulous coastal views, peering down at smugglers’ coves and looking back at the Bournemouth Coast.

Follow the roads from Studland in to the seaside town of Swanage,
situated at the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. Swanage is a traditional seaside resort with a long promenade and plenty of interesting shops. Try travelling back in time on the steam railway, take a stroll along Swanage Pier while taking in its Victorian heritage or visit the Durlston Country Park
nature reserve soaking up its stunning views and an array of wildlife while setting out on one of its many marked trails and coastal walks.

Corfe Castle

This pretty old village, with a National Trust shop, lies at the foot of dramatic castle ruins.
Originally built by William the Conqueror on a natural hill, Corfe Castle’s purpose was to guard the principal route through the Purbeck Hills, where Purbeck marble was once quarried. With fallen walls and secret places, there are tales of treachery and treason around every corner for families to discover.
As well as a castle visit, Corfe is also home to a unique range of independent shops,
the Corfe Castle Town trust museum and separate information centre, the Purbeck mine museum, the model village and it is the connecting town for the Swanage Steam railway.

Jurassic Coast

This World Heritage Coastline spans 95 miles and is a “must see” when in Dorset.
Visit Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge, Ringstead Bay, Durdle Door, or Worbarrow Bay with its deserted village of Tyneham.
Explore rock pools, hunt for fossils, enjoy the walking paths or just sit back and experience some of the country’s most stunning scenery, from sweeping beaches, dramatic cliffs, blustery headlands and sheltered coves.
It’s a geologists dream and a photographer’s haven.
Fancy a long walk? Try tackling a section of the beautiful Dorset Coastal Path
(you’ll need six days to walk its entirety – it’s 86 miles from Poole Harbour in the east to Lyme Regis in the west!)
Along the way, you’ll uncover many fascinating stories: the ‘walk through time’ – an exceptional record of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of the Earth’s history; stories of farming, fishing, quarrying, smuggling, of war and fortification; and spot some of Dorset’s wonderful wildlife along the way.

Wimborne

Wimborne Minster and the surrounding area offer fun for all ages,
from high adrenaline activities to more gentle pursuits, from nature based attractions to unique heritage sites.

Visit Moors Valley and follow their outdoor play trails, hire a bike and test yourself
on their varying ability cycle paths or take a trip on the narrow gauge steam railway.
Why not live life adventurously and explore the park from a monkey’s perspective!
Go Ape are an outdoor activities company offering tree top walks, forest Segway tours,
tree top junior adventures and zip wires to all ages.

Other activities in the area include Honeybrook Farm,
Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park & Rescue Centre and Green Cottage Riding Centre.

Explore the extensive grounds of Kingston Lacy House & Gardens:
Owned by the National Trust, this 17th Century mansion contains an outstanding collection of paintings and other works of art. The house and gardens are set in a wooded park with attractive walks, covering over 43 acres and feature restored Japanese Gardens, a Victorian Fernery and Formal Gardens.
Located on the Kingston Lacy estate is the Badbury Ring’s (an Iron Age hill fort),
so you can go and fly your kite from the highest height.

Take a trip to Knoll Gardens and witness the breeze blow through the stunning
ornamental grasses which the four acre of gardens are famous for and learn how to bring the wow factor to your own garden.

Located in Wimborne town centre is the Priest’s House Museum & Garden,
delve in to the town’s archaeology and discover hidden gems that have been found in the area. Enjoy the town and its more recent history from a different perspective at the Wimborne Model Village or imagine the roar of water and the grind of mill stone at the White Mill.

Hengistbury Head and Christchurch

Hengistbury Head is a dramatic headland to the south of Christchurch Harbour.
It is an outstanding site for wildlife and archaeology and offers beautiful beaches and views across the New Forest, Isle of Wight and Purbecks. Access is easy for all ages and abilities.
There is a Land Train (great fun for both young and old!) linking to Mudeford with its colourful beach huts and beach café, ferries to Christchurch, as well as a summer bus service to Bournemouth.
A perfect day out – you are in the countryside but still close to the town!

With two rivers to walk or boat down, two historic quays to discover and
two historic castles to explore, Christchurch is an ideal holiday playground.
The historic Priory Church and Castle ruins help give an old world charm to the bustling town centre with its range of independent shops, high street stores and regular markets. Visit the clifftop grounds and delight in the buildings and interiors of Highcliffe Castle or use your imagination to bring back to life Christchurch Castle from its ruins. You can also take in the collections and exhibitions of this historical town at the Red House Museum and Garden.

The New Forest

Right on Christchurch’s door step is the New Forest, a great place for the whole family
to get out and get some fresh air. Take a scenic drive through the New Forest to Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway.  Covering over 200 acres, the gardens hold the famous Rothschild collection of azaleas, camellias & rhododendrons.
To make the most of the day, visit Buckler’s Hard, a picturesque 18th century traffic-free village on the banks of the Beaulieu River. Buckler’s Hard is a little over two miles from its sister attraction of Beaulieu, another pretty village where visitors can tour the National Motor Museum as well as Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey.
Head in to Burley, hire a bike and tackle the different cycle paths available to follow, stopping in the suggested pubs on the way. A great place to relax and enjoy a picnic in the sunshine or take the dogs for a walk.

Dorset Villages

There are so many picturesque Dorset villages from Milton Abbas,
with its row of thatched houses, Beaminster with its fine medieval church with a 16th century tower to the pretty village of Cerne Abbas with its famous giant on the hill.
The quaint village of Moreton is famous as the final resting place of “Lawrence of Arabia”, and has an 18th Century church with stunning stained engraved glass windows. The result, especially on a sunny day, is a spectacle worth seeing.

In the village of Higher Bockhampton you can visit Thomas Hardy’s cottage,
owned by the National Trust, and walk in Hardy’s footsteps on some lovely trails surrounding the cottage.

Visit the small market town of Shaftesbury, the home of gold hill, made famous by the Hovis advert.
Athlehampton House & Gardens is a quintessential manor house with a labyrinth of gardens each with their own theme. Water forms the recurring feature with fountains, pools and the River Piddle on its doorstep.

Use The Rivera as a base while you Discover Dorset!

Dorset hotel with swimming pool

We are very fortunate to be within easy striking distance of a marvellous selection
of beautiful and fascinating Dorset destinations. Whatever your interests, we guarantee you will enjoy yourself
to the full with a wide range of places and attractions available, and their all at our door step!

Stay with us on our Discover Dorset package and enjoy Dorset cream tea on arrival,
a full English breakfast each morning and dinner every evening using some of the finest Dorset produce.
We will even provide you with a suggested itinerary of where to go, what to see and what to do!

Stay 4 nights or more and we may even upgrade you to a sea facing room with
private balcony if available.

Booking is simple- Just click here and select your dates!