3 open garden events in Dorset to enjoy this bank holiday

Several long, pink astilbe stalks are nestled against greenery

Dorset is home to some beautiful gardens that are too good to miss - Credit: bluecorvette, Flickr

An open garden event is the perfect way to spend this May bank holiday. We've picked out three happening in Dorset which look truly gorgeous!

The National Garden Scheme is a fantastic organisation that encourages private gardens to open up a few days of the year for public viewing. Not only that, but the money made from admissions, tea, and cake all go back into the community through donations to nursing and health charities. In 2020, they donated almost £3 million to Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, and many more.

Over this May bank holiday, a handful of Dorset-based houses are offering you the chance to explore their floral accomplishments and offer great walking for all abilities. Its the perfect treat for the long weekend.

Gillans, Dorchester

Gillans is an almost completely unheard of wonder nestled into the valleys by the River Cerne. This makes for a relaxing walk along the river and ponds of the five acres this estate holds. Blossom trees are abound and there are plenty of species of magnolia and cornus to point out. This time of year, the primroses will be in full bloom too making for some breath taking sights. 

Gillans will only be open on Sunday 2nd May and tickets cost £5 for adults. This is a dog friendly garden too. Refreshments will be available in aid of the local church. You can book here.  


The Manor House, Beaminster

Next up on our list is a much lesser known series of gardens in Beaminster. Many will know of Mapperton House and Gardens just down the road, which was once voted the nation’s Finest Manor House by Country Life, but did you know there is another manor in Beaminster? Simply called The Manor House, the stunning 16 acre parkland has plenty to offer including woodland walks and wildflowers in abundance. 


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There is also the walled garden known as 'Serendipity' to explore, as well as livestock to keep an eye out for. The Manor House Gardens have not been open to the public for over three years so this is not an event to miss. They will be open a handful of times over the spring and summer including this coming Sunday and Monday of the bank holiday.

Learn more and book your tickets here. 


The Old Rectory, Litton Cheney

Once the home of the famous engraver Reynolds Stone, The Old Rectory has been loving restored in recent years to resemble how it would have looked in the 19th century. As well as four acres of natural woodland to walk through, there is also a walled garden with informal planting, the kitchen garden, an orchard, and some 350 rose bushes spread throughout the gardens. 

Litton Cheney - Old Rectory

For the past seven years, designer Arne Maynard has been sculpting the front garden with topiary and perennial flowers alongside paths and borders to really create something special. The Old Rectory is only open a handful of times a year and you can visit on Sunday 2nd May to really treat yourself this bank holiday.

Tickets can be booked here. 


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