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The Gardens of Dorset & Somerset

England 4 nights Price from £1,489 per person
Departs: 03 Jul 2023
Departs: 03 Jul 2023

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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

  • Four nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities
  • Services of the Kirker Tour Leader
  • Dinner each evening


  • 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

    On our final morning there will be a visit to The Old Rectory Litton. Richard and Emily Cave bought the former rectory in 2008 and seeking to put their own stamp on the gardens, brought in the garden designer Arne Maynard to advise. For Richard Cave, who is an expert in 18th century decorative art, the most important thing was to place the house more successfully in the garden. The turning drive was moved away from the lovely Georgian facade and is now screened by a row of crab-apples that rise above a low hedge of loose-clipped box, which mirrors the existing box hedge on the other side of a circular lawn, framed with billowing borders of purple and blue perennials and white “Crocus” roses.  The success of the garden lies in its contrasts: formality and informality, the cut and the uncut, clipped yew versus clipped 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 for her new business, Rosa Cheney, which supplies cut roses for weddings and gifts.

Departure Dates and Prices

03 Jul 2023

Status Available

Price from£1489

Single Supp.£388

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Kirsty Fergusson

Kirsty Fergusson

Tour leader

More Info

To make an enquiry please speak to one of our experts on 020 7593 2288, or enquire online

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