Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch are not only renowned for their stunning coastal landscapes but also for their exquisite gardens that offer a haven of tranquility and natural beauty. From historic estates to hidden gems, these gardens of interest captivate visitors with their unique charm, captivating history, and breathtaking displays of flora. The Bournemouth Observer invites you on a journey to explore the gardens that grace our beloved region, delving into their rich history, points of interest, and the best times to visit.
1. Compton Acres: A Botanical Paradise
Nestled in Poole, Compton Acres is a splendid garden that dates back to 1920. Spanning over 10 acres, it showcases various themed gardens, including Italian, Japanese, and rock gardens. Stroll through the tranquil pathways, admire the vibrant floral displays, and take in the panoramic views of Poole Harbor. Spring and summer are ideal seasons to visit when the gardens are in full bloom, offering a riot of colours and fragrances.
Address: Compton Acres 164 Canford Cliffs Rd, Poole BH13 7ES
Phone: 01202 700778
2. Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve: A Coastal Wonderland
Located between Bournemouth and Christchurch, Hengistbury Head boasts a unique combination of coastal beauty and rich biodiversity. This nature reserve is a haven for wildlife, with wildflowers, heathlands, and sand dunes providing a stunning backdrop. Take a leisurely walk along the trails, spot migratory birds, and enjoy panoramic views of the coast. Spring and autumn are perfect seasons to visit when the reserve is teeming with bird activity and vibrant wildflowers.
Address: Hengistbury Head Broadway, Bournemouth BH6 4EN
Phone: 01202 451618
3. Highcliffe Castle Gardens: A Historic Gem
Highcliffe Castle Gardens, situated near Christchurch, offers a captivating blend of history and horticultural beauty. These meticulously manicured gardens surround the magnificent Highcliffe Castle, a Grade I listed building. Explore the Italian sunken garden, wander through the woodland walk, and marvel at the collection of rare plants and trees. The gardens are particularly enchanting in late spring when rhododendrons and azaleas burst into a riot of colour.
Address: Highcliffe Castle Rothesay Dr, Highcliffe, Christchurch BH23 4LE
Phone: 01425 278807
4. Lower Gardens: The Heart of Bournemouth
Located in the heart of Bournemouth, the Lower Gardens are a beloved oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling town. These Victorian gardens showcase a wide array of trees, flower beds, and colourful displays. Take a leisurely stroll along the meandering paths, enjoy picnics on the lawns, or simply relax by the river. Spring and summer are delightful times to visit when the gardens are adorned with vibrant blooms and host various events and festivals.
Address: Lower Gardens Bournemouth, BH2 6EA
5. Upton Country Park: A Serene Retreat
Upton Country Park, situated in Poole, is a picturesque landscape that combines parkland, gardens, and woodlands. Spanning over 100 acres, it offers something for everyone. Explore the walled garden with its rose beds and herbaceous borders, wander through the orchard, or venture into the woodland trails. The park is a year-round delight, with each season bringing its unique charm, from the colourful displays of spring blossoms to the golden hues of autumn foliage.
Address: Upton Country Park, Upton House, Poole BH17 7BJ
Phone: 01202 262753
6. Stourhead Gardens: A Timeless Masterpiece
Although not within the immediate vicinity, Stourhead Gardens, located near Shaftesbury, is a gem that is worth the journey. This world-renowned garden is part of the Stourhead Estate, owned by the National Trust. Inspired by classical landscapes, it features a magnificent lake, stunning vistas, and carefully curated garden spaces. Visit in late spring or early summer to witness the rhododendrons, azale as, and magnolias in full bloom, creating a breathtaking spectacle.
Address: Stourhead Gardens, Stourton, Warminster BA12 6QF
Phone: 01747 841152
7. Christchurch Priory Gardens: Serenity Amidst History
Nestled in the heart of Christchurch, the Christchurch Priory Gardens offer a peaceful retreat steeped in history. These picturesque gardens surround the ancient Christchurch Priory, a Grade I listed church with roots dating back over 900 years. Admire the beautifully manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and the tranquil river that runs alongside the gardens. Spring and summer bring an explosion of colours, making it an ideal time to explore this historic sanctuary.
Address: Priory Gardens, Quay Rd, Christchurch BH23 1BX
Phone: 01202 485804
8. Knoll Gardens: Celebrating Native and Ornamental Grasses
Situated in Wimborne, just a short drive from Bournemouth, Knoll Gardens is renowned for its stunning collection of ornamental grasses. This acclaimed garden showcases the beauty and versatility of grasses, with a focus on sustainable planting and low maintenance. Visit during late summer or early autumn when the grasses sway in the gentle breeze, creating a mesmerising and ethereal atmosphere.
Address: Knoll Gardens, Hampreston, Wimborne BH21 7ND
Phone: 01202 873931
9. The Italian Villa Gardens: A Mediterranean Escape
Tucked away within the exquisite Compton Acres in Poole, the Italian Villa Gardens transport visitors to the Mediterranean. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery, fragrant citrus trees, and cascading water features. These Mediterranean-inspired gardens provide a serene backdrop for weddings and events, exuding elegance and charm. Spring and early summer offer the best opportunity to witness the blooming flora and vibrant Mediterranean colours.
Address: Italian Villa Gardens, 164 Canford Cliffs Rd, Poole BH13 7ES
Phone: 01202 700700
10. Keyneston Mill: An Aromatic Adventure
Keyneston Mill, situated near Blandford Forum, is a unique destination that celebrates the world of fragrance and botanicals. Explore the expansive gardens, dedicated to growing aromatic plants used in perfumery. Wander through scented gardens, discover rare and exotic plants, and learn about the art of perfumery at the on-site fragrance studio. Each season brings its own scented highlights, making it a captivating place to visit throughout the year.
Address: Keyneston Mill, Tarrant Keyneston, Blandford Forum DT11 9HZ
Phone: 01258 456831
Immerse Yourself in Nature’s Splendor
These captivating gardens throughout Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch offer a glimpse into the beauty and diversity of nature. From historic estates to serene coastal landscapes, each garden tells a unique story and invites visitors to immerse themselves in its splendor.
When planning your visits, be sure to check the opening hours and any restrictions that may be in place. Consider visiting during weekdays or early mornings to avoid crowds and fully embrace the tranquility of these remarkable spaces.
As you explore these gardens of interest, allow yourself to be captivated by their rich histories, take pleasure in the intricate displays of flora, and find solace in the peacefulness that nature provides.
The Bournemouth Observer: Exploring the Enchanting Gardens of Our Region