Dartington Estate

South Devon


Henry VIII gave this pastoral 324-hectare estate to two of his wives (Catherines Howard and Parr). For many years it was home to the town's art college; now the 14th-century manor house hosts events, including renowned classical-music and literature festivals. There's also an art-house cinema, shops, a decent pub and B&B accommodation. The grounds are also worth exploring. It's about 2 miles northwest of Totnes.

Dartington's 14th-century manor house edges a grassy space reminiscent of an Oxbridge quadrangle. In the landscaped gardens impressive terraced banks frame an area known as the Tiltyard, while flower-filled borders lead down to glades, meadows and thatched cottages. Amid the tiny paths and secret benches you can hunt out Henry Moore's carved stone sculpture Memorial Figure, the swirling bobbles of Peter Randall Page's Jacob's Pillow and the bronze Donkey by Willi Soukop. The Japanese Garden, complete with raked gravel and cedar-wood shelter, is beside the ruined church.


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