About Us

Constructed in 1920, today Compton Acres is recognised as one of the most important ornamental gardens in England.

The 10 acre ornamental garden was created on an area of Dorset heathland. The garden was started in 1920 when Thomas Simpson purchased the site including the mansion and set about creating a series of themed gardens to reflect his overseas travels, with the help of Mr Middleton, the Head Gardener.

The garden was opened to the public just prior to World War II and again after the war. Mr Simpson sold the site to a London architect, J. Stanley Beard in 1950, who restored the garden after the war and re-opened them to the public in 1953.

Several owners followed until Mr & Mrs Merna purchased the site in 2003.

Compton Acres Today – Horticulture, Conservation and Restoration

Since 2003 the gardens have undergone a great deal of development; including the construction of the Compton Acres Gift Shop, Café and Tearooms, Plant Centre, The Ark gift shop and the award-winning Italian Villa.

The gardens themselves have been refurbished to a high standard of horticulture including planting many thousand new plants to add interest to all groups of visitors.

The garden has 5 main themed gardens joined by a series of links, including a sub-tropical area, southern Hemisphere collection and a hosta walk adding more variety to the planting styles in the garden.

Creating Compton Acres cost in the region of £220,000 – the equivalent of £10 million today.

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