Minterne Gardens will be open from 1st February | 8th June closed 1.55-2.30pm | 22nd June closed 1.55-2.30pm



GGTD 2024 MapOur garden is a haven of tranquillity to explore and inspire.

landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown and Trailing around a mile in length, Minterne boasts a world renowned and completely unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas, with Spring bulbs, Cherries, Maples and many fine and rare trees. Wander the trail and enjoy our chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams. With an abundance to see from the snowdrops in winter, to spring bluebells through to summer azaleas and hydrangeas, the garden is full of interest throughout year.

With benches nestled throughout the garden, sit back, absorb the tranquillity, and remove the stresses of everyday.



Visitor Information

Our Gardens feature in The Telegraph’s top 25 gardens to visit. Come and see why we hit the top spot for ‘Best for Tranquility’.


Entry to and from the gardens will be asked to kindly stop for outside wedding ceremonies between these times:

8th June closed 1.55-2.30pm

22nd June closed 1.55-2.30pm

If you are entering the grounds just before 1.30, you can wait at the Tea Terrace, or, if you are coming out of the garden at 1.30, you will be required to wait in the garden, until 2.30pm

  • Opening Times
    February 1st– 10th November 2024
    Daily, 10.00am – 6.00pm (last entry at 5.00pm)
    The Himalayan Tea Terrace serving a delicious selection of cakes and light lunches from 10am to 4pm.
  • Garden Entry Tickets 
    Adults – £10
  • Children  £5 (Easter trail 23rd March- 14th April please pay on arrival)
  • Season Ticket Holders FOC
  • RHS Members FOC
  • Historic House Members FOC
  • We are a RHS partner garden
  • Free access for (Member 1 only)
  • We are a Historic House Member
  • Free access for members
  • Seasonal Tickets are now available.
  •  Family Season Ticket (2 adults and 2 children) – £45.00
  • Single Adult Season Ticket – £35.00
  • SEASON TICKET HOLDERS CAN USE MS Cards for ADULT ENTRY only to the FAIRY TRAILS but there is a charge for children (2-15) and the Trail Packs (£6.50) & (£2)



Planning your visit

  • Minterne is a working estate and whilst we welcome dogs, we ask they be kept on leads
  • Unfortunately Minterne Gardens feature many uneven surfaces and are therefore not suitable for wheelchairs
  • Please wear suitable shoes to enjoy our gardens to avoid slipping on uneven, slippery surfaces
  • Parking is free for those visiting Minterne House and Gardens and is located opposite St Andrews Church, Minterne Magna
  • Personal picnics are also allowed on estate/in the gardens but we kindly ask you to leave the garden as you found it for others to enjoy and to take your litter with you

We are taking all necessary precautions to safeguard our staff and visitors at this time, in compliance with government legislation

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Tea Terrace

  • Our Tea Terrace opens Daily, serving homemade light lunches, cakes and Cream Teas. Offering a selection of Reads Coffee, Dorset Tea and Folkington’s Juices, our ethos is simple – relax, unwind and be served by our dedicated in-house team. There is nothing we enjoy more than serving up delicious salads with our Minterne dressings, Homemade Hummus, Quiches, Flatbreads and Brioche Buns, and Homemade cakes. All made with locally sourced ingredients and recipes created by us, for you.
  • To book lunches or afternoon teas email:
  • Opening / closing times – 10 am to 4 pm, daily, ( Keep a Look Out for certain days when the gardens and tea terrace will be closed for private events)
  • We are dog friendly.
Tea Terrace Menu

History of Minterne Gardens


An island nation, our explorers are well known; from Drake, Raleigh, Captain Cook to the pilgrims on the Mayflower, our list of explorers is impressively endless…

The Beginning

An island nation, our explorers are well known; from Drake, Raleigh, Captain Cook to the pilgrims on the Mayflower, our list of explorers is impressively endless.

However, there is another group of unsung English explorers who remain unknown to many, the plant hunters of the Victorian times. This relatively inconspicuous group whose names include Joseph Dalton Hooker, Frank Kingdon-Ward, George Forrest and Edmund Loder revolutionised/transformed the English garden as we know it.

Between 1850 and 1947, these impressive plant hunters voyaged across the world, sponsored by many amateur garden enthusiasts, under the umbrella of the Royal Horticultural Society. Lasting up to 6 years, each trip introduced countless new exotic species including Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, to name but a few to English gardens; the seed was shared around the sponsors who propagated this as a basis for exotic subtropical shrub gardens. Minterne Gardens were at the forefront of planting these newly introduced species with the vast majority of species at Minterne being propagated from seed brought back by these explorers.

The Capabilities

Gaining his name due to his observing a landscape and proclaiming “ah, it has capabilities”, Capability Brown revolutionised the English domestic landscape as we see it and is known as England’s greatest gardener and “the last of the great English 18th-century artists to be accorded his due”.

Before Robert Digby rode to Sherborne Castle to ‘pick the brains of Brown’, Minterne gardens were originally made up of a small stream below the house with a square bowling green and four rectangular paddocks or gardens, leading up to the house. However, Capability Brown’s style of smooth undulating grass running straight to the house, clumps, belts and scattering of trees, along with his serpentine lakes formed by invisibly damming small rivers, swept away all the remnants of the previous formally patterned style.

The Design

As we see it today, Minterne Gardens is made up of a series of small lakes and cascades created by the small stream being dammed up. The original square gardens were swept away, many trees planted both exotic and indigenous providing a oasis of calm. Whilst the hills are chalk, the garden is situated on a mound of green sand which runs for a mile down the centre of the valley. A combination of this, the humus and dappled shade provided by the large beech tress, provided the perfect setting for the Rhododendrons and Magnolias obtained during the Wilson, Forrest, Rock and Kingdon Ward expeditions to the Himalayas. With the horizon ever growing, we are continuing the work of those early explorers by continuing to add new and exciting plants to the garden gathering horticultural delights for the future. Today, Minterne’s 20 acre woodland garden are laid out in a horseshoe over the course of a mile creating a breath taking landscape.

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