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Beneath the tumbling hills of Dorset lies a history richer than many could imagine. Not only will you discover the fascinating stories within the walls of Mapperton House, we will also explore the exceptional histories of neighbouring historic estates, such as Athelhampton House, Minterne House and Sherborne Castle. Two stately homes or historic locations will be included in the tour with the specific venues confirmed in the final Itinerary.

Minterne House

Minterne House

The original home of the Churchill and Digby families, Minterne House possesses a history that dates beyond the Battle of Trafalgar, earning its description by the current Lord Digby as “the cradle of the Churchill dynasty”. The first Winston Churchill undertook a lease for the house in the 17th century following Cerne Abbey’s loss of the property during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. His ownership saw the army officer turn politician, General Charles Churchill, be both born and raised on the grounds. The unique Himalayan gardens are laid out in a horseshoe below the House. With a chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams and the collection of Cherries, Maples and Rhododendrons, the wild garden is noted for its Autumn colouring.

Minterne House & Gardens
Athelhampton House

Athelhampton House

One of England’s finest Tudor Manor houses, Athelhampton has grown over the centuries, with The Great Hall built in 1485 at the heart of the house. A fine example of Tudor architecture, the Great Hall boasts heraldic stained glass and a minstrels’ gallery. From the West Wing to the East Wing, fine furnishings reflect the changes in fortune and fashion from the 17th century to the 1920s. The Grade 1 listed gardens are full of architectural vistas. Dating from 1891, topiary yew pyramids stand proud within the walled gardens, laid with Ham Stone courts, ponds and fountains. Lying along the banks of the River Piddle is a boardwalk through some of the 160 acres of deer parkland.

Athelhampton House & Gardens
Sherborne Castle in Dorset

Sherborne Castle

Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 as a hunting lodge, this historic house reflects a glorious variety of decorative styles from over 400 years of English History. Set within 1,200-acres of parkland, the Castle was acquired by Sir John Digby in 1617 and has remained in the family ever since. The Castle houses nationally important collections of furniture, paintings and porcelain and is surrounded by Capability Brown’s English Landscape Garden.

Sherborne Castle & Gardens
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