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Character Farm Cottages,
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Athlehampton House near Dorchester.
Dating back to the 15thC, Athlehampton is one of the finest manor houses and is surrounded by one of the great architectural gardens of England. Atlehampton House has many finely furnished rooms including the Great Hall, the Great Chamber, the Library, the Kings room and the wine cellar. In the West Wing Gallery you will find paintings by the Russian artist Marevna who lived in the house from 1948 - 1947. The West wing also houses a fine dining room, The Yellow Bedroom and State Bedroom, the Dressing Room and a bathroom with a copper bath.
The formal gardens were built between 1891-1899 by Alfred Cart de Lafontaine and include the world famous topiary pyramids and collections of roses, tulips, chematis, magnolias and lilies. The River Piddle forms a natural boundary and along the banks you will find the ancient 15C Dovecote.
The garden at Minterne house was landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown in the 18th Century and is laid out in a horseshoe shape below the main house with a chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams. The garden contains an unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas with Spring bulbs, Cherries, Maples and many rare trees. Over 200 Maples and Acers provide sensational autumn colouring.
The gardens are open daily between 14th Feb to 9th Nov between 10am and 6pm. Admission is £5.00, & there is a ticket kiosk at the entrance. Children under 12 are admitted free. Dogs are welcome on leads. Please note that some of the paths are uneven and steep making access for wheelchairs difficult. There is free parking and picnic facilities available. Minterne House itself is NOT open to the public.
Kingston Lacey, near Wimbourne is an elegant 17th Century Italian inspired country mansion set in attractive formal gardens and extensive parklands. You are free to wander around the house and discover the Spanish Room with its gilded leather and gilded ceilings brought from the Venician Contarini Palace. The house is home to the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK and is home to paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titan and Brueghel. You are able to stroll around the Japanese Garden complete with authentic Japanese teahouse or stroll through the woodlands. Kingston Lacey also has its own herd of Devon cattle and a restaurant which serves homemade cakes and scones.