History

Early History

Established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. Developed since then into a magnificent 30 acre garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world. Many of these plants were first introductions to this country, discovered by the plant hunting descendants of the Countess.


Top Pond in 1898


The Garden today


The Garden Today

After the great storm of 1990, a major restoration project has been underway. Many new exotic and unusual flowers have been introduced to this fabulous Dorset Garden.

The Garden is a mixture of formal and informal flowers, world famous for it’s Camellia groves and magnolias. Noted in Dorset for its Rhododendron and Hydrangea collections and the charming Victorian Garden.

Facilities include the Colonial Restaurant, a quality gift shop and a fantastic plant centre where many of the flowers grown in the Garden can be purchased.

The Colonial Restaurant is also a superb wedding venue and is fully licensed.

Regular events take place at the Garden including the floodlighting of the Garden in October. Hallowe’en is a major feature during the floodlighting when thousands of visitors dress in Hallowe’en costumes and the Restaurant becomes a centre for Hallowe’en celebrations.

Don’t miss stunning views of the Dorset Jurassic Coast from the viewpoint at the top of the Magnolia Walk.


New for 2015 – Brand new Swinging Bench!

The Sitting Spiritually garden swing seat at the far end of the West Lawn


Installed February 2015, Lyme Regis-based bespoke makers Sitting Spiritually have created a brand new garden swing seat, finished in Farrow & Ball ‘French Gray’. You can try it out at the far end of the West Lawn.

Click to find out more about Sitting Spiritually bespoke garden swing seats on their website.