Kingston Maurward’s Grade II listed pleasure gardens and surrounding parkland were laid out in the style of ‘Capability’ Brown. Simplicity was key, the main elements being rolling lawns, strategically placed groups of trees, an ornamental lake and a lakeside temple. Now incorporating the best features from several different eras, the formal gardens have been restored using old plans and photographs. They contain a number of small gardens, each with a different theme. There are delightful old trees, lakeside walks and a walled garden to enjoy, plus an animal park where children can feed some of the farmyard animals when they have worn themselves out in the play area. You can picnic by the lake or try the fare at the Coach House café before dropping in at the gift shop to complete your visit.
- Opening Times: Open 3 Jan-18 Dec, daily 10-5.30 (dusk if earlier)
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About the area
Dorset means rugged varied coastlines and high chalk downlands. Squeezed in among the cliffs and set amid some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery is a chain of picturesque villages and seaside towns. Along the coast you’ll find the Lulworth Ranges, which run from Kimmeridge Bay in the east to Lulworth Cove in the west. Together with a stretch of East Devon, this is Britain’s Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, noted for its layers of shale and numerous fossils embedded in the rock. Among the best-known natural landmarks on this stretch of the Dorset coast is Durdle Door, a rocky arch that has been shaped and sculpted to perfection by the elements. The whole area has the unmistakable stamp of prehistory.
Away from Dorset’s magical coastline lies a landscape with a very different character and atmosphere, but one that is no less appealing. Here, winding, hedge-lined country lanes lead beneath lush, green hilltops to snug, sleepy villages hidden from view and the wider world. The people of Dorset are justifiably proud of the achievements of Thomas Hardy, its most famous son, and much of the county is immortalised in his writing.
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