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Favourite National Trust Properties, Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Updated on August 10, 2014

Kingston Lacy, one of my favourites!

This is my personal collection of pictures from one of my favourite National Trust properties, Kingston Lacy House, near Wimborne Minster in Dorset. It is one of my favourite places to visit it is different every time I go there, depending on the season.  There are beautiful gardens to explore and lovely lawns and places to picnic.  There are woodland walks with the most amazing bluebells in the spring.  The house is my current 'most favourite' of all the National Trust properties I have visited, the dining room is beautiful with its intricately carved panelling bosses - each one of which is a work of art in itself.  I also love the laundry because of the insight it gives into the way things used to be done and because I used to work for a laundry company myself.  I have been a member of the National Trust for many years and it is amazing that for a small annual fee, anyone can enjoy all of the National Trust properties in the UK, for free!

Kingston Lacy House

Some photos from Kingston Lacy House

The house is home to Sir Ralph Bankes' collection of pictures
The house is home to Sir Ralph Bankes' collection of pictures
The paintwork in the nursery has a tented effect, reproduced from when these rooms were the Batchelors' quarters at the top of the house!
The paintwork in the nursery has a tented effect, reproduced from when these rooms were the Batchelors' quarters at the top of the house!
The garden has many beautiful flowers, there is also a newly restored Japanese Garden
The garden has many beautiful flowers, there is also a newly restored Japanese Garden

A brief history of Kingston Lacy

Sir John Bankes bought the Kingston Lacy Estate in 1635 and the Bankes family lived at Kingston Lacy for another 330 years. In 1663, Sir John’s son Ralph commissioned the architect Sir Roger Pratt to design him a house. There have been many changes to the house since the original was built, but the house is still home to Sir Ralph’s collection of pictures.

In 1780, Henry Bankes the Younger, together with his architect Robert Furze Brettingham, made drastic changes the house and changed the old, more formal garden in favour of the park seen today. Henry’s son, William John employed architect Sir Charles Barry between 1835 and 1841 to transform Kingston Lacy into a Venetian Renaissance palazzo with a beautiful marble staircase. His passion for Kingston Lacy remained for the rest of his life and, as the National Trust’s own website puts it ‘The house is his monument and the Spanish Room his golden masterpiece’.

There is now a display at Kingston Lacy of many of the antiquities William John brought back from his travels in Egypt. This collection is the only surviving ‘gentleman’s collection’ of Egyptian Antiquities.

The National Trust shows the house as it was in the time of Walter Ralph Bankes and his wife Henrietta. This was the Edwardian zenith of the house in many ways with Royal visits and many social occasions hosted there. Ralph Bankes, son of Walter Ralph and Henrietta bequeathed the entire estate to the National Trust in 1981. The house, garden, parkland and 12 working farms within the 8,000 acres of the estate made it the biggest bequest in the history of the National Trust.

Dining table laid for a party

The Dining Room at Kingston Lacy

One of my favourite rooms at Kingston Lacy is the Dining Room. The wooden panelling with it’s intricate and beautiful carvings are a marvel in themselves. I have included two photographs, one showing a beautifully detailed moth and another a lobster. The table is all set for a very special Dinner in 1935, it all must have looked very pretty lit by the sparkling chandelier. The house was one of the very earliest properties to have electricity in the UK.

Moth Carving in the Dining Room

Lobster Carving in the Dining Room

Pictures of the Laundry

The washing area and mangle
The washing area and mangle
A Box Mangle
A Box Mangle
The ironing table
The ironing table

The Laundry at Kingston Lacy


I very much enjoyed the display in the laundry.  As I used to work for a large UK laundry company, this had a particular fascination for me. They may not have had the latest steam irons or tumble driers, but the linen was finished to a very high standard with a great deal of ingenuity.

If you have enjoyed this hub ...

 You might also enjoy reading my Hub about the beautiful area around Morwenstow in North Cornwall. Places to see, history and the story of the Bude Mermaid!

Fire Fighting Equipment at Kingston Lacy

A display of the fire-fighting equipment at Kingston Lacy
A display of the fire-fighting equipment at Kingston Lacy

Cannons pointing out over the Ha Ha

The Ha-Ha

Outside, there is a Ha-Ha which is a feature in garden design to keep animals in the parkland and out of the more formal gardens by means of a trench which is concealed from view so that the view of the parkland is uninterrupted by any fence. You can see in my picture, the line of cannon pointing out over the Ha-Ha.

Images from the Kingston Lacy Gardens

One of the Cherubs Urns in the Formal Garden
One of the Cherubs Urns in the Formal Garden
Bluebells in the Lime Walk
Bluebells in the Lime Walk
Shaped Hedges in the Formal Gardens
Shaped Hedges in the Formal Gardens

Useful Links

Read more about Kingston Lacy House and Gardens at the National Trust Website, there are activities all through the year 'Putting the House to Bed' tours in November, bookings only. Throughout the year: farmers' markets, open-air theatre, tractor trailer tours, children's Victorian craft and 'Above and Below Stairs'. Dogs: Dogs on leads in restaurant courtyard, park and woodlands only. Contact details, 01202 883402 (Infoline) Fax: 01202 882402 Email: Check website details for opening times of house and gardens.

If you would like to try your hand at creating a formal garden hedge, here are some handy tips on using a hedge trimmer!.

Need more information about Dorset?

For information about Dorset including:-

Luxury Hotels Dorset and Hotels in Dorset

Dorset country cottages, B&B Dorset, Guest Houses Dorset

Attractions Dorset and Activities in Dorset

The Dorset Coast, Events in Dorset and Car Hire Dorset

Please visit the Dorset Tourist Information Website

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