Heritage

Mapperton House & Gardens, Beaminster

Set within a romantic valley betwixt sprawling Dorset countryside, the award-winning Mapperton House and Gardens make for a splendid day out. Comprised of a glorious sandstone manor, 15 acres of gardens and a popular café, this hidden gem is one for all the family. 

Mapperton’s Jacobean manor house near Beaminster has a long and interesting history. Voted the Nation’s Finest Manor House, it was originally noted in the Domesday Book back in 1086 as Malperetone, under William de Moion, the Sheriff of Somerset. Over the following centuries, it became the home of four subsequent families until 1955, when it was taken over by the current owners - the Earl and Countess of Sandwich.

As well as being a much-loved family home, Mapperton House is a brilliant visitor attraction in Dorset that embodies an eclectic amalgamation of life throughout the ages. As well as the gabled north wing, inside attractive plaster panelling and fireplaces still survive from the 16th century Tudor manor, while the hall, stable blocks and dovecotes date from the 17th century and the balustrade from the 18th century.

From heraldic lions and griffins to fleur-de-lys motifs to the latest Sandwich collection, each generation has its own tasteful stamp on the property. As explained by Lord David Cecil in 1955: “Throughout the house 16th, 17th and 18th centuries meet each other at every turn. Yet – and this is notably characteristic of Mapperton – they do not quarrel. Diversity never means discord. Rather the different ages combine to create an unexpected and richer harmony.”

As for the gardens, the magic pours out from the house and spreads across 15 acres of manicured terrain. Winner of the Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2020 award, the Grade II* listed gardens are among the finest in the South West. Overlooked by the manor, the Italianate gardens feature varied planting with topiary gardens, an Orangery, arboretum, fountains, statues, ponds, summerhouse and more. 

Particular highlights are two rectangular ponds lined with clipped yew trees just beyond the Fountain Court. On the north/south axis, these ponds reflect the sky on calm days with a glassy, mirror-like quality and provide a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy the tranquillity for a while. The garden’s latest edition, the Wild Garden, is also pretty special. Created by Victor Montagu, it features small streams of water feeding into a planted arboretum, with glades of magnolias, guilder roses and dogwoods.

Adding to the appeal for families, an onsite licensed café, the Coach House Café, serves refreshments from Sunday to Thursday. With seating inside and out, you can pick your perfect spot and peruse a locally-focused menu for your favourite dish. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Dorset here.

Mapperton Estate, Mapperton, Beaminster Dorset DT8 3NR | 01308 862 645 | mapperton.com

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