18 May Compton Acres – One of the South’s most Renowned Tourist Attractions
Compton Acres is famously known for its five-themed gardens, which are filled with over 3000 species of beautiful plants from around the world. It is one of the finest privately-owned gardens in England and was founded in 1920 by Thomas William Simpson a wealthy entrepreneur. Aside from its spectacular gardens, it takes pride in satisfying its visitor’s appetites with two outstanding cafes; the ‘Café & Tearooms’ and ‘The Harbour View Café. A Gifted Moment Store is also just around the corner and is full of treasures to browse through.
The Two Cafes
1) The Café & Tea Rooms
This café is right by the entrance, providing all visitors with a warm welcome to home cooked meals and a selection of wines from Europe or the New World. In the kitchen, they make good use of locally sourced ingredients and produce from across Dorset. Head Chef Viv Bronson and her competent team freshly prepare all food every day.
What is more interesting if the fact that there is also a wide selection of Vegan meals ensuring individuals’ various needs are met fairly. Breakfast is served as early as 8:30 am to 11:30 am from Monday to Saturday and from 8:30-11:00 am on Sundays. Sunday lunch is traditionally made with locally reared meats served with seasonal vegetables and richly homemade gravy from as little as £12.95. I know. Wow. Click here to see their whole Menus
2) The Harbour View Café
This café is special because you can enjoy delicious food within the gardens and magnificent views overlooking Poole Harbour. Relaxing, visitors can enjoy the breath-taking views while enjoying a soft drink or a cup of tea/coffee with a homemade piece of cake/biscuit. At the Harbour View café, there is also an attractive seasonal themed planting. A colourful and creative Alice In Wonderland themed planting display will be wonderfully gracing this area during the summer. For the cooling factor, delicious Purbeck ice cream is also available for the kids (and adults too…)
With an Annual Membership Card, visitors are entitled to get their food and drink at a 10% discount. Please note that both cafes are available for private functions. Simple email café@comptonacres.co.uk for further inquiries.
The Five Gardens
1) The Italian Garden
This garden is full of energising character with water fountains and stunning statues recreating the style of a formal Italian garden. This is very therapeutic and peaceful place. The dark entrance cavern is intended to trick the eye and enhance the brightness of the colourful bedding plants. Leaving the garden, you enter the Palm Court link with its hardy Chusan palms before entering the Sub-Tropical link. This immediately creates a holiday abroad feeling. The subtropical plants do well here thanks to a sheltered area coupled with Dorset’s lovely weather. They even manage to grow banana trees here, which is something rather special for an English garden!
2) The Wooded Valley
This part of the garden is nestled under a canopy of mature Scots pines, with varied foliage, scented plants and dappled light. This area comes to many winding pathways with very dramatic waterfalls and flowing streams.
3) The Rock and Water Garden
This Garden consists of multiple pools, with bridges and a massive amount of imported sandstone boulders to imitate a flowing mountainside scene.
4) Heather Gardens
The Heather Gardens captures Dorset’s heathland habitat, with a mixture of winter and summery heathers to add colour all through the year. The busy bees love the flowering heathers. This is immediately followed by the Bamboo link, comprised of towering bamboo species.
5) The Japanese Garden
This is a true hallmark of Japan. This garden was actually created by experts who were brought over from Japan in the 1920s. Large stone and bronze artefacts were also imported from Japan. This part of the garden is filled with Japanese plants such as the colourful Kurume Hybrid Azaleas and Japanese Maples. There is also an original Japanese Tea House. In the centre, there is a large koi pond with plenty of places to sit, relax and just enjoy nature. The Japanese Garden at Compton Acres is recognised as one of the finest in England.
The Gift Shop and Gifted Moments Store
These two awesome places are filled with various treats to admire. Whatever the type of present, whichever the age group, these two places will entice you to pick up something as a souvenir that will always be cherished.
The Plant Centre
Compton Acres is also home to a dedicated Plant Centre. They currently have over 400 species of plants available here for home gardeners. The majority of the plants here can be seen in the gardens themselves, so you can walk the gardens, be inspired to buy your own plants and create a mini Compton Acres in your own garden.
The Award Winning Tourist Attraction
With glorious gardens skilfully designed to impress, the cafes and the gift shops, all put together, it is with no surprise the Compton Acres is inevitably a multi-award winner. For example, in the past two years alone, Compton Acres won the South West’s Tourism Awards 2016 Best Small Tourist Attraction Award. They also won TripAdvisor UK’s Top Trending Tourist Attraction Award for Autumn 2016. In 2017, they won the Dorset Tourism Award, Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Silver Award. So far this year they have already managed to shine at the Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Awards 2018 as Finalists for the Afternoon Tea and Retail Experience Awards.
Made up of over 10 acres of horticultural heaven to explore, with two comforting cafes to indulge in, and with a gift shop to spoil yourself and others, Compton Acres is a must visit attraction. Some people can’t get enough of it, so much so they have opted for the Annual Membership Pass, treating themselves to unlimited visits all year around. Even if it’s just for a cream tea, visiting is an absolute no-brainer.
Do leave your comments below and share your awesome experience from when you last visited or when you plan to next visit. I didn’t get enough of the place and I would definitely go back again, (and again…)