the classic guide

A guide to the West Country from the people that know…

Best gardens in Dorset

A very worthy winner in a county that is essentially one big beautiful garden.

Sculpture by the Lake

Definitely the place to take a picnic, settling in the shadow of one of the massive forms that are dotted around Pallington Lakes. It’s slightly surreal, but in a glorious and beautiful way, perhaps bringing out the inner poet in you…and 26 acres means you can make a long slow day of it.


Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

With celebrity advocates, these gardens are fairly well-known, but for good reason. There is a plethora of rare and exotic plants filling the 20acres, the Colonial Restaurant to nibble in and a garden shop to pick up your own little piece of subtropical paradise.


Athelhampton House and Gardens

A stunning example of historic English manor and gardens at their best. The house was built in the 15th Century and has been faithfully preserved, whilst the formal gardens with their famous pyramid topiary trees and meticulously maintained. Whilst walking through you may fancy yourself with a bustle and sunshade, ready to be wooed by Mr Darcy…

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