Kingston Lacy is a stunning family home in rural Dorset built to resemble an Italian palace, with a celebrated art collection.
Kingston Lacy is a 17th century country mansion inspired by Italian palaces, set in beautiful formal gardens and extensive parkland.
Kingston Lacy’s Spanish Room has a gilded leather and gilded ceiling brought from the Contarini Palace in Venice.
The house has a wonderful art collection that includes paintings by Rubens, Velázquez, Titian, Van Dyck and Brueghel the younger. It also boasts the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the UK.
Outside, the Japanese Garden has an authentic tea house and offers sheltered walks through the woodland.
The rural idyll is completed by a resident herd of Devon cattle. Relax after your walk in the restaurant, which serves homemade scones and cakes.
For many years Kingston Lacy was the family seat of the Bankes family. They lived nearby at Corfe Castle until it was destroyed during the English Civil War because its owners, Sir John Bankes and Dame Mary, stayed loyal to Charles I.
The house was built between 1663 and 1665 by Ralph Bankes, son of Sir John Bankes, to a design by the architect Sir Roger Pratt. It is a rectangular building with two main storeys, attics and basement, modelled on Chevening in Kent.
Apart from the Spanish Room, the library is the most atmospheric of rooms, upon the wall of which are hung the huge keys of the destroyed Corfe Castle, handed back to Mary Bankes after her defence of Corfe Castle during the Civil War.
The state bedroom is very ornate and has hosted famous guests, such as Kaiser Wilhelm II who stayed with the family for a week in 1907.
Three huge statues decorate the stone main staircase. They are of Sir John Bankes and Lady Bankes, the defenders of Corfe Castle, and Charles I, their patron.
The gardens and parkland were created at the same time, including some of the wonderful old trees that you can see today.
The Bankes family owned the house from the 17th to the late 20th century and made a number of alterations.
The house became a Grade I listed building in 1958. The gardens and park are Grade II listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
The house was left to the National Trust, alongside Corfe Castle, when Henry John Ralph Bankes died in 1982. The house and gardens are open to the public.
There’s plenty to see at Kingston Lacy all year round, from beautifully detailed carvings to intimate family souvenirs.
Distance from Nunney
42.6 miles (68.6 km)
1 hour 6 minutes by car
From Wimborne take the B3082 towards Blandford. Kingston Lacy is 2 miles.
Kingston Lacy opening times
1 January – 31 December 2018
Opening times vary, please check National Trust website for exact dates and times. Closed 25 December.
Kingston Lacy admission charges
Adult £15.00 per ticket
Adult group (min 15 people) £12.70 per ticket
Child £7.50 per ticket
Child group (min 15 people) £6.30 per ticket
Family £37.50 per ticket
National Trust members Free
National Trust members enjoy free entry and parking.
Please note: always check the National Trust website for the current opening hours and ticket prices. The prices listed above are for March to October. During January and February the house will be open by guided tour of the ground and state floors only. There is a discounted price of adult – £10.50 and child – £5.25 for these two months to reflect this.
All prices stated include Gift Aid except group adult and group child prices.
Telephone 01202 883 402
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