two take time out in Dorset: the houses and gardens bit

My mum says I was born middle-aged and I am not ashamed to stand up for my love of old houses and lovely gardens…food for the soul. I am not averse to a tea shop or two either, although Mark is a savoury person so on holiday with him, we are more likely to have something breakfasty rather than cake. I rather feel cake is like alcohol, and is a social consumable – best shared with friends and a bit sad and desperate when scoffed alone – so my sweet tooth is best satisfied when out on holiday or a day trip with my sister…or Karen B…or Karen L…or Alison…or Hayley…or Gail…or….well you get the picture. My most pleasantly surprising sweet goody this holiday was a breakfast at the Watch House in West Bay the day we came home; blueberry pancakes with pineapple, melon and strawberries, topped with yoghurt with fresh mint and tarragon and a balsamic vinegar reduction!

Anyway, to the houses and gardens…

Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens

One of my favourite places in the world. We go every time we visit Dorset, so I hope you are not bored with photos of here (if you are skip on, as there is a house and garden we visited for the first time this week with never before blogged photos – well, never before blogged by me anyway)

note wicker family of deer in the background

note wicker family of deer in the background

IMGP8284

love the huge gunnera - gives it a really Jurassic feel

love the huge gunnera – gives it a really Jurassic feel

dragonfly

dragonfly

big fish in a small pond

big fish in a small pond

grasshopper hiding

grasshopper hiding

Is it bad that this little bothy always makes me think of Sean Bean as Mellors?

Is it bad that this little bothy always makes me think of Sean Bean as Mellors?

beautiful comma butterfly

beautiful comma butterfly

Forde Abbey

Another favourite haunt – starting to look beautifully Autumnal.

Forde Abbey from the vegetable garden

Forde Abbey from the vegetable garden

I have never seen the chrysanthemums look so good

I have never seen the chrysanthemums look so good

always love an old locked door...gets the imagination working

always love an old locked door…gets the imagination working

Forde Abbey

Forde Abbey

love this boat-inspired bench

love this boat-inspired bench

love the colour of these huge cows

love the colour of these huge cows

who needs an umbrella?

who needs an umbrella?

time to sit and reflect

time to sit and reflect

nice to let the dog take the weight off his paws

nice to let the dog take the weight off his paws

three little maids from school are we...

three little maids from school are we…

look who I found in a flower bed!

look who I found in a flower bed!

Atlantic Giant pumpkin - simply enormous!

Atlantic Giant pumpkin – simply enormous!

 

Athelhampton House

Mark’s parents left a leaflet about days out in Dorset in the flat (including discount vouchers) so we decided to head somewhere we had never been before. Athelhampton House is a few miles the far side of Dorchester and I can safely say is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The house is large and fine, but homely – the smell of wood smoke entices you in to the great hall, and you can feel the house is lived in and loved. The family who owns lives in the house must be torn between the income from visitors necessary to maintain the house and grounds and the longing not to be invaded on a daily basis.

Athelhampton House

Athelhampton House

Despite its grand proportions, the house has a warm homely feel

Despite its grand proportions, the house has a warm homely feel

I really covet this bathroom...and the copper bath!

I really covet this bathroom…and the copper bath!

The garden is set out in a series of ‘rooms’, separated by walls and hedges and water features. I love that the river that runs through the garden (a shallow one teaming with trout) is called the river Piddle!

lovely gate - looks like it has been gnawed by giant mice

lovely gate – looks like it has been gnawed by giant mice

big old dove cot

big old dove cot

can you see the statue of Queen Victoria?

can you see the statue of Queen Victoria?

Athelhampton House

Athelhampton House

the family live in the house, but still let visitors walk through the garden by their private wing

the family live in the house, but still let visitors walk through the garden by their private wing

the garden opens from one 'room' to the next with every gate and archway aligned for lovely vistas, broken only by ornamental fountains

the garden opens from one ‘room’ to the next with every gate and archway aligned for lovely vistas, broken only by ornamental fountains

kiddy seats hidden in the topiary - cool!

kiddy seats hidden in the topiary – cool!

teddy's tea party

teddy’s tea party

the pyramid garden

the pyramid garden

Sadly the church the other side of the road was locked, the toilets at the back of the church made me laugh though – quite a come down from the grandeur of the house and gardens!

the church

the church

couldn't resist a picture of the elegant church toilets!

couldn’t resist a picture of the elegant church toilets!

 

the swannery at Abbotsbury

We just had to fit in one last visit to the swannery at Abbotsbury before it closes for the Winter. It is a beautiful place crammed full of wildfowl and other wildlife.

hydrangea at the swannery in Abbotsbury

hydrangea at the swannery in Abbotsbury

great bug hotel

great bug hotel

love crows!

love crows!

 

When we got home – to a house and garden looking way better than when we left them (thanks to Sue and Don who stay in our house and look after the cats whenever we are away) – we went to pick some courgettes for tea and found this little fella in our vegetable plot. I think he’s beautiful!

visitor keeping the courgettes free of slugs and snails

visitor keeping the courgettes free of slugs and snails

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under places to visit, Uncategorized

2 responses to “two take time out in Dorset: the houses and gardens bit

  1. Lovely photos! As always.

    And oh, they make my heart sing – when can we come back?! You must surely be longing for some Swedes living in your hourse for a lenghty period of time? 🙂

    England is such a beautiful country! (not to mention the clotted cream…)

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