Forde Abbey House & Gardens, near Chard, Somerset
Now here's a good thing to do when you're on your Sleeps12 holiday in the West Country; go and visit Forde Abbey House & Gardens on the border of Dorset and Somerset, because the house is fascinating, the gardens are a delight, and well, it's just such a wonderful place.
Forde Abbey began life as a Cistercian Monastery in the 12th century and it was fortunate to survive the Dissolution so is still very well preserved to this day. See the 16th century Great Hall and the 17th century Mortlake tapestries in the saloon, walk in the footsteps of monks in the cloisters, spend a quiet moment in the chapel.
The gardens cover 30 acres and will appeal to all ages; children can run about and let off steam on the lawns and they'll love the Willow Labyrinth in the arboretum, and the Beech Hut overlooking the lake at the top of the gardens. Something you can all do is have a lark dodging the spray of the 60ft foaming cascade of the Centenary Fountain. Stroll over the Chinese bridge and round the meandering paths of the bog garden, feast your eyes on the colourful borders and the plethora of vegetables in the walled garden, then head to the Tearoom where you can tuck into scones with jam and cream and the tastiest homemade biscuits.
There’s lots on at Forde Abbey House & Gardens throughout the year – Pumpkin Rolling, a Plant Fair, a Summer Fair, and a very festive Forde Abbey White Christmas. In February the display of snowdrops is a sight to behold, in March, it’s crocuses; in the summer months you can pick your own fruit at the estate’s fruit farm just up the road.
Dogs welcome in the grounds on short leads; in fact you'll usually find a bowl of water outside of the tea shop for your furry friends.
Open: House: Mar-Oct Tues-Fri, Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays 12.00-4.00 pm Garden: All year, every day 10.00 am-4.00 pm
T: 01460 220231 All information correct at the time of writing