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The Secret Garden and Serles House

Wimborne

Alan Titchmarsh described this amusingly creative garden as ‘one of the best 10 private gardens in Britain’. The ingenious use of unusual plants complements the imaginative treasure trove of garden objects d’art. The enchanting house is also open. A feeling of a bygone age accompanies your tour as you step into a world of whimsical fantasy that is theatrical and unique. 'Deliciously bonkers'.
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    THE SECRET GARDEN AT SERLES HOUSE Described by Alan Titchmarsh as one of the ten best private gardens to visit in Great Britain, this is probably the most unusual garden and house experience in Dorset, if not further afield. The owner, Ian Willis, was featured in the ‘Great British Eccentrics’ supplement to BBC Home and Antiques, (February 2006). His creation, The Secret Garden at Serles House, juxtaposes plants, foliage, fruit and kitchen gardens with a treasure trove of relics which appeals to people of all ages. Highlights include the Anglo-Indian conservatory, the Millennium Folly, the shell grotto, a Victorian parterre, the children’s playhouse, windows originally in Wimborne Minster and Irvine the plant-pot man. The historical artefacts, some 60 in number, are endlessly diverting – a pair of cannons dragged out of the Solent, a cast-iron copper liner pulled out of a hedge at Tyneham`s abandoned village, part of the war defences on Studland Beach, a dovecote made from an old wash tub, ‘The Duchess of Argyll’ torso, ‘The Throne of Macbeth’, giant clam shells from the tropics and a makeup palette from Burma. The Secret Garden contains a Fernery dedicated to the memory of Ian Willis’s father who died at Easter 2004 and several items which commemorate Robin Noscoe who was Director of Art at Canford School and who died in 2002. The whole enterprise is one man’s amalgamation of vision and memory which has already delighted hundreds of visitors. It was opened for the first time under the National Gardens Scheme in July 2003 by Madam Rosina, the well-known clairvoyant, who correctly predicted a successful future for the Garden. 2015 saw the garden welcome its 10,000th visitor since opening.

Features and Attractions

Antiques and bric-a-brac on sale. A high summer garden with dahlias at their best late August /early September.

The Secret Garden and Serles House- Canceled

Refreshments:

On this day, this garden is open by arrangement, which means that you will have to contact the owner to arrange visits for groups.

Pre-booking essential, please go to our events page to book your tickets.

Admission by donation

Admission:
  • Adult:
  • Concessions:
  • Child:

On this day, this garden opens as part of .

Admission also gets you entry to this garden in the area:

Click the dropdown arrow next to the opening date above to find details of entry costs and to add the opening to your online calendar.

Click on any opening date on the calendar above to find details of entry times, entry price and to add the opening to your online calendar.

  • Regular opening
  • Open by arrangement only
  • Cancelled opening

This garden also makes a donation to Wimborne Civic Society and The Arts’ Society.

Owner Information

Ian Willis

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How to find us

The Secret Garden and Serles House
47 Victoria Road
Wimborne
Dorset
BH21 1EN

Centre of Wimborne.
  • More detailed directions
    On B3082 W of town, very near hospital, Westfield car park 300yds. Off-road parking close by.
Accessibility information

Wheelchair access to garden only. Narrow steps may prohibit wide wheelchairs.

More about The Secret Garden and Serles House

THE SECRET GARDEN AT SERLES HOUSE Described by Alan Titchmarsh as one of the ten best private gardens to visit in Great Britain, this is probably the most unusual garden and house experience in Dorset, if not further afield. The owner, Ian Willis, was featured in the ‘Great British Eccentrics’ supplement to BBC Home and Antiques, (February 2006). His creation, The Secret Garden at Serles House, juxtaposes plants, foliage, fruit and kitchen gardens with a treasure trove of relics which appeals to people of all ages. Highlights include the Anglo-Indian conservatory, the Millennium Folly, the shell grotto, a Victorian parterre, the children’s playhouse, windows originally in Wimborne Minster and Irvine the plant-pot man. The historical artefacts, some 60 in number, are endlessly diverting – a pair of cannons dragged out of the Solent, a cast-iron copper liner pulled out of a hedge at Tyneham`s abandoned village, part of the war defences on Studland Beach, a dovecote made from an old wash tub, ‘The Duchess of Argyll’ torso, ‘The Throne of Macbeth’, giant clam shells from the tropics and a makeup palette from Burma. The Secret Garden contains a Fernery dedicated to the memory of Ian Willis’s father who died at Easter 2004 and several items which commemorate Robin Noscoe who was Director of Art at Canford School and who died in 2002. The whole enterprise is one man’s amalgamation of vision and memory which has already delighted hundreds of visitors. It was opened for the first time under the National Gardens Scheme in July 2003 by Madam Rosina, the well-known clairvoyant, who correctly predicted a successful future for the Garden. 2015 saw the garden welcome its 10,000th visitor since opening.

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