Ruthie Abel

Visions of Mapperton: A Gorgeous Jacobean Manor in Rural England

Last spring a few members of the Garden Collage team took a roadtrip from London, out past the relics at Stonehenge, to Mapperton Garden Estate in Dorset– a gorgeous sandstone manor and valley garden that is home to the Earl and Countess of Sandwich.

Mapperton was the principle shooting location for Far From The Madding Crowd, a drama set in Victorian England that stars Carey Mulligan, and today, the estate has come to represent the ideal of the English garden, which, when planted correctly, feels like something out of Alice in Wonderland. There are massive spiral topiaries, stone walls covered in Ivy, huge creeping clematis adorning the every nook and cranny, and and unspoiled green landscape that extends beyond the formal croquet lawn and flower gardens to something more rugged: a wild garden in the ravine.

“Mapperton was the principle shooting location for Far From The Madding Crowd, a drama set in Victorian England that stars Carey Mulligan. Today, the estate has come to represent the ideal of the English garden, which, when planted correctly, feels like something out of Alice in Wonderland.”

As one of the gardens affiliated with England’s Royal Horticultural Society, Mapperton is a must-see on any garden-lover’s route through the English Countryside. Those who love art can swing by Hauser & Wirth’s latest teaching garden-cum-cafe-and-art-gallery, which is located in nearby Somerset. Meanwhile, Sawmill Cafe, located on site, is a compelling place for visitors to enjoy a quiet cup of tea with cream and scones in the garden. The cafe, which also serves an array of delicious farm-fresh items like fresh eggs and vegetable tagines, is decked out with flowers from the garden and huge, sprawling tapestries that lend the estate an element of bohemian charm.

Ducks and geese roam freely on the property, depositing eggs and quacking at awe-struck visitors. There’s even an adorable “honesty box” where guests can purchase seedlings and leave whatever amount of money they see fit for the transaction. For an afternoon spent exploring the English countryside, this is a must-see. Check out our short slide show below.

Related Articles