National Trust Places To Visit In Dorset

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Having had a National Trust membership for a few years, it’s decided you can definitely save money by purchasing the membership. Finding National Trust places to visit in Dorset isn’t a difficult task as there are plenty of options available.

Many of these National Trust locations are dog friendly which is a bonus for dog owners.

Kingston Lacy National trust

Kingston Lacy

Address: Wimborne Minster, Dorset, BH21 4EA

Kingston Lacy is a popular day out in Dorset for adults and children alike. There is so much for all the family to do including taking your four legged friend along too.

A country house and estate located near Wimborne, Dorset, designed to resemble an Italian palace. If you wish to tour the house you can book online free of charge, but availability can run out during busy days. The house is well worth a visit, with plenty of history and information to be soaked up.

The woodland trail is a great place to explore, and it’s a popular National Trust walk. The views that it provides are stunning and all the while providing lots of exercise for everyone.

You can spot bluebells in the Spring and snowdrops in the Winter months. The trail has some uneven ground in places, but generally is an easy walk.

Related Post – Woodland walks in Dorset

Whilst dogs aren’t allowed on the front lawn and some of the gardens, its well worth a visit without the pets to explore all the amazing scenery Kingston Lacy has to offer.

At Christmas time, a night time visit to one of their popular events is a tour along the illuminated garden. Enjoy a wander along the lit paths before stopping for a hot chocolate near the Christmas tree. Very festive!

Kingston Lacy is often opened for free for non members during September as part of the Heritage Open Days.

Kingston Lacy Gardens

Max Gate

Address: Alington Avenue, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 2AJ

Max Gate is one of the popular places to visit in Dorset, located a short walk from Dorchester town centre.

A Victorian home designed by Thomas Hardy in 1885 who wanted to show he was part of the wealthy middle class in the area. The house was named after a nearby tollgate keeper named Mack.

Exploring Max Gate, you can expect to see the rooms where Hardy lived until his death, find the pet cemetery and the large garden where Hardy would spend a lot of his time.

Hardy’s Cottage

If you wanted to visit the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, then you’ll want to discover Hardy’s cottage near Dorchester. It was here that Thomas Hardy was inspired to write Far From The Madding Crowd. He lived in the cottage until he was around 30 years old, when he moved away from Dorset.

Max Gate, another National Trust property in Dorset then became Hardy’s home until he did.

You can tour the cottage and see the rooms both downstairs and upstairs as well as touring the beautiful gardens.

Hardy's Cottage

Hardy Monument

Address: Black Down, Portesham, Dorset, DT2 9HY

The Hardy Monument can be found above the village of Portesham in Dorset. Built in 1944 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Mastermind Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The location of the Hardy Monument is very dog friendly, but be mindful of cattle grazing in the area. The carpark opens from Weds to Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm between Easter and September weather permitting.

Studland Bay

Address: Studland, near Swanage, Dorset

There are plenty of walks to be taken near Studland Bay including walking to the famous Old Harry rocks where you can see amazing views of the Jurassic Coast.

There is also a family friendly circular walk through the dunes at Studland Bay where you can spot a seahorse sculpture, amazing views across the sea and plenty of wildlife.

Related Post – Things to do in Swanage

corfe castle

Corfe Castle

Address: The Square, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5EZ

Corfe Castle is a great place to visit during the different seasons. There is always something different happening with games and events for the children.

Corfe Castle is the setting Enid Blyton based Kirrin Castle on in her stories of Famous Five, and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how much fun the character would have had when you explore the grounds.

Related Post – Dog friendly days out in Dorset

Corfe Castle is located in Corfe, Dorset, and there is a large free car park for National Trust members at the bottom of the hill which is a great bonus. A short walk from the car park and you can spend hours exploring the ruins.

Golden Cap

Address: Golden Cap Estate, Morcombelake, Bridport, Dorset

Golden Cap is one of the National Trust places near Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset. It provides stunning views from the highest point on the south coast, and gets it name from the golden colour of the cliffs.

brownsea island peacock

Brownsea Island

Address: Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7EE

Brownsea Island is accessed via ferry from Poole Quay and Sandbanks. I remember visiting Brownsea Island for the first time when I was on a school trip years ago, and couldn’t wait to go back as an adult.

Related Post – Visiting Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island is a full day out by the time you factor the ferry times in. Ferry’s do leave at frequent intervals but expect queues during the nicer weather.

On Brownsea Island you can see some amazing peacocks, they do like to show off for the visitors. You may also be able to spot red squirrels as they go about their business on the island.

Ringstead Bay

You’ll find approximately half a mile of beach at Ringstead Bay in Dorset. It’s a perfect location for exploring some of the South West Coast path, or flying a kite and visiting the beach.

A popular Jurassic Coast walk is between Ringstead Bay and Osmington Mills. National Trust members can park for free in the car park at the top of the hill. This also provides amazing views across the sea, the perfect place for a picnic.

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