discovering Dorset

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Kingston Lacey

Wimborne Minster


BH21 4EA


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Timed admission to the House may operate on Bank Holiday Sundays & Mondays. Last admission to house 1 hour before closing.

Contact Information:

Telephone: (01202) 883 402



Kingston Lacy House has been the home of the Bankes family for over 300 years and was . The Bankes' family home was originally Corfe Castle which was destroyed in the Civil War. The house was built in the 17th Century and then substantially altered by William John Bankes with his friend the famous Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses Of Parliament.

William John Bankes (1786-1855) rebuilt the estate as it stands today. His influence can be understood in the context of his extensive travelling to the Orient and Egypt - he collected the largest private collection of Egyptian artefacts in the world. Bankes had notable friends including Lord Byron and served as an MP for Corfe.


William Bankes accumulated an outstanding collection of works of art, including the famous Spanish Room with its walls hung in magnificent gilded leather, and collection of Egyptian artefacts.

Paintings by Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel.

Grounds: Wooded grounds with snowdrop displays in Spring. Waymarked walks offer pleasurable strolls around the grounds with various areas of gardens and a fine herd of North Devon cattle. There is a restored Edwardian Japanese garden which was completed in 2005. The Japanese Garden was originally designed for Henrietta Bankes at the beginning of the 20th Century and were an Edwardian vision of a Japanese landscape. Visitors can sit in the "Heavenly Seat" which is sat up on a bank and looks down across the Tea Garden, Evergreen Garden, Cherry Garden and Acer Glade.

The working estate surrounding the house extends to over 3,200 hectares and offers more pathways to walk around (leaflet available from reception area).

Badbury Rings - Iron Age Hill Fort

This hill fort falls under the Kingston Lacey estate. It dates from 800BC and was in use until the Roman occupation in 43CE. The fort is situated on a Roman cross-roads between Dorchester, Old Sarum (Salisbury) and Hamworthy (Poole).

There are suggestions that this was the site where a Romano-British Celt army was stationed which repelled Anglo-Saxon forces. This site could be one of the contributing sources to the King Arthur legends - it is suggested that Badbury could be "Badon" of the legend of the Battle of Mons Bandonicus which in the 9th Century work, Historia Brittonum, the victory is attributed to King Arthur.

Access to the hill fort is free. Car parking is available next to the hill fort.

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Kingston Lacy House

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