From fossil-stacked cliffs to rolling chalk hills and rich pastures, the rural county of Dorset has inspired countless creatives, both historic and contemporary.

With expert plantsman Keith Wiley as your host, the tour highlights some lesser-known gardens, including the garden at The Old Rectory at Litton Cheney, designed in part by Arne Maynard, and the richly planted garden at Upper Sydling House, originally laid out by the Bannermans.

Other gardens are more historic, including the walled kitchen garden at Pugin Hall, which was designed by Victorian architect Augustus Pugin, and Chideock Manor, a Regency manor surrounded by varied gardens including a parterre and rose arches.

We visit River Cottage HQ, the creation of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his knowledgeable team, for a tour of the productive ‘no-dig’ walled garden before sitting down to a delicious home-grown lunch.

There’s the chance to peruse the plants at Charles Chesshire’s Rare & Special Plant Nursery, which includes a range of clematis, hydrangeas and intersectional peonies. Your hotel for the tour is 5-star Georgian Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in the heart of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex.

Booking details

Tour dates 3-6 July 2023.

The tour will be hosted by Keith Wiley who was head gardener for 14 years at The Garden House, a ten-acre garden on the edge of Dartmoor, before moving to his garden Wildside, where he has created one of Britain’s most innovative gardens.

Booking details Price per person, based on two people sharing, is £3,500 (a single supplement of £400 is levied by the hotel). The price includes transportation from Yeovil Junction railway station, three nights’ bed and breakfast in the four-star Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Dorchester, and three evening meals with wine at the hotel, plus four lunches. Please note that Boxwood Tours uses hotels of character featuring a variety of rooms and styles. The price does not include extras at the hotel, or travel insurance. For more details and for an in-depth itinerary with details of day-to-day visits, meals, etc, please contact Boxwood Tours.

To express an interest or to book please contact Boxwood Tours, 1 West Street, Buckingham HK18 1HL, UK. Tel +44 (0)1341 241717. Email Website

The tour has been arranged exclusively for readers of Gardens Illustrated by Boxwood Tours Quality Garden Holidays, a specialist garden tour company set up in 1990. Please note that itineraries may be subject to change for reasons beyond Gardens Illustrated’s control. The tour is financially protected by the ATOL scheme. Please see booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: