Forde Abbey House & Gardens, near Chard, Somerset

Make time for a family visit to this 30 acre garden on the Somerset/Dorset border near Chard. See the 160ft foaming cascade of the Centenary Fountain; children will love dodging the spray! Wander round the arboretum where the little ones can explore the Willow Labyrinth. Admire the bog garden, the lake, and the tranquil walled garden. Founded in the 12th century this former Cistercian Monastery has been so well preserved it’s incredible; the cloisters are beautiful, the chapel, just charming, and the tea shop has the tastiest home made biscuits. Pick up a Children’s Pack in the shop, or follow the Letterboxing Trail. There’s lots on 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.

Opening times vary throughout the year. 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.

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