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We understand some days in your life are extra special. We really do. And we appreciate that few, if any, are more important than your wedding day. You want to know it’s in safe, capable, passionate hands. As many of our hotels are licensed for civil ceremonies, we’re also happy to host your actual wedding as well as your reception. Whatever your choice, when you get hitched, we’ll make sure your special day goes without a hitch. That’s a Hallmark promise.

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Blooming Marvellous: 7 of the Best Gardens to Visit in Dorset During Springtime


Spring is an exciting season for garden lovers, as brilliant blooms, luscious lawns and wildflowers life, producing incredible displays of colours. From the grounds of majestic manor houses to award-winning green spaces, Dorset is blessed with some of the finest public gardens in the country. Don’t miss the best of spring and visiting one of the spectacular gardens.

Knoll Gardens

Visit Knoll Gardens Image by Peter Curbishley This four-acre plot is home to the UK’s biggest collection of ornamental grasses, which provide the beautiful backdrop for a diverse range of plant and wildlife. Maintained by the internationally acclaimed plantsman Neil Lucas, Knoll Gardens combines meadow-style planting and outstanding nurseries to create a glorious garden haven. A typical visit includes a programme of walks and workshops to inspire green-fingered enthusiasts.

Kingston Maurward Gardens

Visit Kingston Maurward Image by Roman Hobler Set in 750 acres of gorgeous Dorset countryside, Kingston Maurward is a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house. The grounds include a stunning lake, canals and ornamental gardens complete with fantastic floral displays. Families can also spend a fun-filled day at the onsite animal park, meeting sheep, alpacas, chickens, goats, pigs and many more furry friends.

Larmer Tree Gardens

Visit Larmer Tree Gardens Image by Chris Gunns Located on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, Larmer Tree Gardens delivers springtime visitors a rich tapestry of colours and textures to experience. Opened in 1880, the Gardens are an example of the extravagant green spaces that emerged during the Victorian age of prosperity. During the warmer months, the venue hosts many events, including open air film nights and the world-renowned Larmer Tree Music Festival.

Athelhampton House and Gardens

Visit Athelhampton House Image by Herry Lawford Athelhampton House’s walled garden is famous for its incredible topiary pyramids and classical flowerbeds, and was an early winner of Christie’s Garden of the Year Competition. The picture-perfect Tudor manor house, with its gigantic gables, mullioned windows and a gloriously gothic interior, is well worth a visit.

Compton Acres

Visit Compton Acres Image by Iain A Wanless Managed by a multi-award-winning team, Compton Acres has recently been restored beyond its past glories. As a result, the site’s Japanese Garden is presently regarded as one of the outstanding examples of its kind in the country. Featuring a spectacular Koi Pond and original imported sculptures it captures the peace and tranquillity associated with oriental horticulture perfectly.

Kingston Lacy

Visit Kingston Lacy Image by Marilyn Peddle Kingston Lacy House’s garden is a beautifully preserved Victorian-era formal garden. Run by the National Trust, the magnificent gardens boast gorgeous gravel paths, raised beds, 25 varieties of fern, bright beds and striking Egyptian and Italian sculptures. During spring, the woodland walk allows visitors to stroll through areas covered in seasonal snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells.

Bournemouth Lower Gardens

Visit 7. Bournemouth Lower Gardens Image by Lets Go Out Bournemouth and Poole This Grade II listed garden’s graceful floral displays look amazing during spring. As one part of a large town park split into three areas, you can also wander through the Central and Upper Gardens. All three gardens are serial winners of the Green Flag Award and host frequent special events during the spring and summer seasons.

Resting your feet

If you’re travelling from afar, you’ll need somewhere to rest your feet after a day’s walking. Hallmark Hotels offer a choice of hotels in Bournemouth, a beautiful seaside town no more than 30 miles from all the gardens featured. Bournemouth Carlton, Bournemouth West Cliff and Bournemouth East Cliff all have dramatic seafront views and are located within easy reach of the beach and the town centre. All three hotels also include comfortable beds for a good night’s sleep, free access to super-fast Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service and a delicious breakfast buffet. Book now to avoid missing out on Hallmark Hotel’s special offers.

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