Mapperton Gardens

West Green Garden

Osborne House

Forde Abbey

Osborne House

Mapperton House Gardens

A Garden Journey through Thomas Hardy’s Wessex

Sunday 19th – Saturday 25th June 2022 (6 nights) – FULL

Tour highlights:

This two-centre tour journeys through Wessex – the ancient counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset. Hidden in these gently rolling hills are some of England’s most wonderful gardens. We visit many private gardens designed by notable garden designers – past and present and take a day trip to the Isle of Wight to see Osborne House, the summer home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

  • A day on the Isle of Wight including a visit to Queen Victoria’s Osborne House.
  • The old-fashioned rose collection at Mottisfont.
  • Tour of the gothic masterpiece, Salisbury Cathedral. 800 years old with Britain’s tallest spire.
  • A visit to The Newt Somerset, one of England’s most ambitious new garden projects.
  • Exclusive visits to the private gardens at Heale House and Shute House.
  • Three exquisite private garden visits including a fabulous walled garden.
  • Beautiful scenery of the New Forest National Park and Dorset and Isle of Wight Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Superb food and local produce.

Photo credits: With special thank to Mapperton House, Heale House, The Newt Somerset and English Heritage for the use of their images. Copyright VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett; Jason Hawkes; Stephen Spraggon. Other images copyright Sisley Garden Tours.

Mapperton House gardens West Green House

Sunday 19th June

After our morning pick-up at Heathrow Airport, we head southwest to the impressive, 4-star Lainston House Hotel. En-route we stop at West Green Garden, one of England’s finest manor house gardens, marrying traditional style with contemporary design. It is the creation of acclaimed garden designer and Chelsea Flower Show award winner, Marylyn Abbott. We have lunch in the gorgeous garden conservatory (included) and free time to explore the stunning gardens.

We then check into the country house hotel, Lainston House, our base for the first 3 nights of our tour. There is time to explore the beautiful grounds and walled garden before dinner (included).

Monday 20th June

This morning we make an early start to catch our ferry to the Isle of Wight  – England’s largest island and a popular holiday destination since Victorian times. Queen Victoria built her much loved, palatial summer home here, Osborne House. There will be free time to explore the house, recently renovated grounds and have lunch (included).

In the afternoon we take a drive across the island and return by ferry to Lymington. We then take a scenic drive through the New Forest National Park en-route to the hotel. We may catch a glimpse of the wild New Forest ponies. Your evening is at leisure in the hotel.

Tuesday 21st June

Today we visit Mottisfont Abbey. Sweeping lawns surround the converted, medieval priory that Maud Russell made her home in the 1930s. The absolute highlight can be found in the walled garden – the collection of old-fashioned roses which will be in full bloom. There is time to visit the house and see the Whistler Room, with its spectacular trompe l’oeil murals, and have lunch (independent).

We then visit an exquisite private garden located close to Mottisfont. This traditional walled garden features well stocked flower beds and climbers, a kitchen garden, bantam chickens that roam free and a wildlife field which is a haven for butterflies. In the late afternoon, we make a stop in the pretty village of Stockbridge for a ‘taste of Hampshire’ supper (included) in the pub.

Wednesday 22nd June

After check-out, we visit a splendid private garden at Heale House, the home of garden designer Frances Rasch. The 17th century house, on the banks of the River Avon, has a 20th century Arts & Crafts garden designed by Harold Peto. We have a tour of the garden before heading to Salisbury. On arrival there will be a short tour of Salisbury Cathedral andfree time for lunch (independent).

In the afternoon we visit Shute House Gardens, designed by famous landscape architect, Geoffrey Jellicoe. We’ll enjoy a walk through the garden with the owner, to see the wonderful rill garden. In the late afternoon, we check into our hotel, the 4-star Eastbury Hotel in the heart of the historic market town of Sherborne in Dorset. Dinner is included at the hotel.

Thursday 23rd June

Today we begin with a visit to Forde Abbey, a former Cistercian Monastery whose garden has evolved over 900 years to reflect the lifestyle of the inhabitants. Today, it is a glorious garden with formal vistas and borders, topiary, a walled garden and the largest powered fountain in the country.

We continue into the village of Beaminster for lunch in the renowned Ollerod Restaurant (included). After lunch we see the fascinating private home and garden of a renowned British furniture designer – one of the best contemporary gardens in the area. We have the opportunity to see both the house and garden. We return to the hotel where your evening is at leisure.

Friday 24th June

Today we enjoy a private pre-opening tour of the house and gardens at Mapperton House, – a magnificent Jacobean manor house and Italianate valley garden which is home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich. Here, we have lunch (independent) and time to explore this expansive and varied garden.

In the afternoon, we are thrilled to include a visit to a spectacular private walled garden, with superbly trained roses, herbaceous borders, a rill and gravel garden. We return to the hotel for our final night dinner (included).

Saturday 25th June

Our final visit of the tour is to The Newt, Somerset, an exciting new garden incorporating water gardens and colour rooms. At the core sits a parabola walled garden with a collection of more than 460 trained apple trees. Lunch in the garden cafe (included).

In the afternoon we drop off at the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel and Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 for inter-terminal transport links and the Heathrow Express train train travel into London.

Please read our Tour Joining and Departure Arrangements information sheet here. To download a printable version of this itinerary by clicking here.

Mapperton House gardens RosesMapperton House gardensIsle of WightThe Newt Somerset Shute House, Dorset

Our Hotels

Our hotels are 4-star and selected for their high standards of comfort and service. All rooms are en-suite and offer free wi-fi access.

Lainston House, Winchester (3 nights)  

Lainston House is a 17th century luxury hotel, situated just outside Winchester. All the bedrooms are individually designed and styled so that no two are the same, but charm and style are constant throughout. The house, which is approached along a mile long avenue of Lime Trees, is surrounded by 63 acres of gorgeous parkland and gardens with many walking trails, tennis courts and a croquet lawn. There is a fascinating productive walled garden that supplies the restaurant, an aviary and renowned cookery school.

Lainston House

The Eastbury, Sherborne (3 nights)

The Eastbury is a family run, boutique hotel located in the historic town of Sherborne with its beautiful abbey and castle. Originally designed as an 18th century Georgian gentleman’s residence, the rooms are imbued with warmth and character and offer a real home-from-home feel. The public areas offer a choice of two lounges to relax in, a library and snooker room. The 2 AA Rosette restaurant boasts home grown produce with views of the charming walled garden. Don’t miss the newly built ‘bijou’ spa in the gardens.

The Eastbury

TOUR PRICES: Prices are per person, based on twin/double room share, with single supplement (solo occupancy of a double room) shown separately. Tours are priced in £GBP.

 Tour cost per person (sharing twin or double room) Single supplement (for single occupancy of a double room)
£3,600 (GBP) £500 (GBP)


  • 6 nights’ accommodation at 4-star hotels with en-suite facilities.
  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches and 4 dinners.
  • All garden visits including tours with garden owners and head gardeners.
  • All tour gratuities (driver, tour director and hotels).
  • Transfers to and from the hotel to Heathrow Airport at the start and end of the tour.
  • Deluxe coach travel with professional driver.
  • Gift information pack with detailed information about the gardens we will be visiting.
  • Services of your Sisley tour director throughout


  • Airfares.
  • Passport and/or visa fees if applicable.
  • Meals not included in the tour, drinks, laundry, and telephone calls.

TOUR PAYMENT: A 10% deposit is requested at the time of booking to secure your place on the tour.  Your tour balance payment is due 90 days prior to tour departure.

EXCHANGE RATE INFORMATION:You can get an idea of the cost of the tour in your local currency by using a currency converter. Conversion rates are based on institutional or inter-bank daily rates. Retail conversion rates include fees and will generally differ from these rates.

Online booking form: To reserve your tour place(s) please complete our online booking form by clicking the Book Now button below. As soon as we receive your booking form, we will confirm availability on the tour of your choice and arrange collection of your deposit to secure your booking.

The booking form includes three choices of how to book and pay for your tour:

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Full details of our booking Terms & Conditions can be found at here. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions section for further information.

We very much look forward to welcoming you, but please email tours@sisley.co.uk if you have any queries.

West Green GardenIsle of Wight

If you would like to complete our online booking form, please click the Book Now button.
Please contact us if you have any queries about the tour or would like to arrange for us to call you back.
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Read through our Frequently Asked Question section to find out more about our tours, dress code, average day, tips etc.
To assist you in pre and post tour planning, you might wish to read our tour Joining and Departure Arrangements. Click opposite for further details.
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