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The Gardens of Dorset & Somerset

England 5 nights Price from £1,895 per person
Departs: 01 Jul 2024
Departs: 01 Jul 2024

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Expert horticulturalist and popular Kirker tour leader Kirsty Fergusson will escort this highly anticipated new itinerary ‘behind the scenes’ of some of the most wonderful gardens in the south-west of England. Based in the picturesque small town of Bridport, close to Dorset’s World Heritage Jurassic Coast, we will join Kirsty in visiting a fascinating range of public and private gardens, many of which will open specially for our visit – including kitchen gardens, meadows, historic orchards, elegant water gardens and subtropical plant collections.

What's included

...when you travel with Kirker

  • Five nights accommodation with breakfast
  • Three dinners and three lunches
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities
  • Services of the Kirker Tour Leader


  • Day 1 - The Bull Inn, Bridport

    Please make your own way to the charming Bull Inn in Bridport, just over an hour from Bournemouth or Exeter, which will be our base for the duration of the holiday. Dinner will be served at the hotel this evening.
  • Day 2 - Gardens in Beaminster & West Milton

    This morning we will visit the home of John and Jenny Makepeace in Beaminster. John Makepeace is a leading designer of contemporary fine furniture, dedicated to exploring the beauty of wood. His wife, Jennie is a distinguished gardener and plantswoman and together they have created complementary “his and hers” gardens, reflecting two very different approaches to garden design and planting. We will continue to Milton Mill in West Milton, the former home of nature writer Kenneth Allsop, where we will have lunch with owner Margaret Morgan-Grenville and a tour of her idyllic garden which has a river flowing through it and its own cider orchard. In the afternoon we will head to Mapperton in Beaminster for a tour of the house and garden where Kirsty was Head Gardener for five years.
  • Day 3 - A Private tour with Charles Dowding & a visit to The Newt

    Charles Dowding, master of the “No Dig” method, will give us a private tour of his exceptional kitchen garden this morning and will share his insight into how to make your own produce grow and taste better. We then cross the border into Somerset where we will visit England’s newest Grand Garden at The Newt. We will have lunch at the excellent restaurant here and a tour of the gardens bravely created on the site of Penelope Hobhouse’s Hadpsen.
  • Day 4 - Forde Abbey & Southwood Farm

    Our first visit today is to Forde Abbey, with its beautiful meadow gardens maintained by young head gardener, Joshua Sparkes. We will then continue to Southwood Farm. Garden designer Arne Maynard has worked with owner, Professor Clive Potter, a researcher at the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College, to create a garden that marries sensitively with the medieval yeoman farmhouse and the wider rural landscape beyond. Courtyards brimming with perennials and neat topiary and a superb kitchen garden overlook hay meadows and woodland beyond.
  • Day 5 - The Old Rectory Litton & Chettle

    Richard and Emily Cave bought The Old Rectory in Litton in 2008 and brought in the garden designer Arne Maynard to advise. The success of the garden lies in its contrasts: formality and informality, the cut and the uncut, clipped yew versus field maple, tumbling borders and strong, defining architecture. A woodland garden criss-crossed with streams and shady ponds occupies the slopes below the garden. Beyond the kitchen garden a gate leads into an open meadow, on whose upper slopes Emily Cave has established a rose nursery. We are fortunate to conclude our tour with a visit to the gardens at Chettle House where we will enjoy a private visit in the company of the owners, Tom and Rosamond Sweet-Escott.  After a five-year programme of meticulous restoration the Grade 1 house has now been restored to its Georgian Baroque glory, with the addition of brilliantly reinterpreted gardens by one of the UK’s most respected landscape designers, Pip Morrison.
  • Day 6 - Tour ends

    The tour ends after breakfast this morning.

Departure Dates and Prices

01 Jul 2024

Status Available

Price from£1895

Single Supp.£430

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Kirsty Fergusson

Kirsty Fergusson

Tour leader

More Info

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