Sherborne Castle and Gardens, Sherborne, Dorset
Sir Walter Raleigh built Sherborne Castle in 1594; when he was imprisoned for treason it returned to the crown, being acquired by Sir John Digby in 1617 and remaining in the family ever since. Go and see it. You might think it looks quite austere from the outside but inside you’ll find magnificent state rooms, rare furniture and porcelain, and some nationally important art collections. Down in the cellars you can see the Tudor kitchens and a museum with artefacts from the Civil War, as well as a very fascinating fossil display.
The grounds are glorious, centred around a vast 50 acre lake to form a picturesque landscape designed by Capability Brown and said to be one of his finest projects. There are sweeping lawns, huge specimen trees and borders bursting with colour and perfume; wander round the paths and you'll find plenty of surprises - the Cascade, the Folly, and Raleigh’s Seat, then there’s an absolute delight of a Courtyard Garden, a Gingko Lawn and an Orangery adjacent to the boathouse and pier where you can get a jolly good view of the medieval castle ruins across the way - what's known as Sherborne Old Castle.
The castle has a gift shop and a tea room, and dogs are welcome in the gardens on short leads. They’ll do discounted rates for bigger groups and under 16’s go free. Sherborne Castle and Gardens are open from the end of March to the end of October, though are closed Mondays and Fridays (except for Bank Holiday Mondays). The gardens are open 10.00am-6.00pm and the castle from 11.00am-5.00pm, with last admissions at 4.15pm.
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All information correct at the time of writing