West Dorset has an abundance of historic houses and gardens, and Mapperton House and Gardens, near Beaminster, can be counted among its numbers. Voted 'The Nation's Finest Manor House' in 2006 by 'Country Life' magazine, the property is an impressive Elizabethan structure, built out of golden sandstone. The gardens are built into a valley, ensuring spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
Upon concluding your visit to Mapperton, head west to Lyme Regis via Bridport and the A35. Lunch can be taken here in one of the local cafes, or a picnic lunch can be enjoyed on the beach or in the Langmoor and Lister Gardens overlooking the harbour and promenade. Whilst here, take a short walk to the Town Mill, and admire the seventeenth-century walled garden on-site.
Departing Lyme Regis, head north-west to Chard, via the small market town of Axminster, and follow the signs to Forde Abbey. This twelfth-century abbey was founded by Cistercian monks, and served as a monastery for over 400 years.
Set in 30 acres of beautiful gardens, the estate bears witness to its 900 year history, and boasts the highest powered fountain in England, with a maximum height of 160 feet.
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