MAJOR improvements have been promised by the National Trust country house and estate this year. 

Approval has been given by Dorset Council for the landowners at Kingston Lacy to upgrade the car park, toilet facilities and welcome building. 

As part of the plans, the National Trust will provide more disabled parking spaces and better drainage in the car park as well as improvements to the overflow car park. 

Meanwhile a new welcome building is to be built to mitigate queuing as visitors come into the property built in the 1600s just outside of Wimborne. 

Also in the plans is a new changing room facility, toilets with better provision for wheelchair and buggy users in one of the buildings in the laundry courtyard and a quiet room. 

Dorset Echo: Kingston LacyKingston Lacy (Image: National Trust)

The main toilet block would be revamped with a new layout and underfloor heating and given a new look that echoes the building’s original use as an engine room for an early electricity generator. 

The National Trust said: “We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to ensure Kingston Lacy stays open for everyone throughout the upgrade. 

“We’ll do all we can to minimise the disruption, but inevitably there’ll be necessary changes to visitor routes, and some areas may be inaccessible.” 

When the National Trust developed Kingston Lacy’s visitor facilities in the 1980s, it was expected that numbers wouldn’t exceed 100,000. 

However, this was disproven as in recent years nearly 400,000 people have been to see the large country estate. 

But with extra people means extra strain on the infrastructure, hence the need for upgrades according to the National Trust. 

On peak days the estate can attract 4,000 visitors, and if it is wet and the overflow parking is restricted then visitors can be turned away. 

Kingston Lacy House is a Grade I listed building and the surrounding estate is listed on Historic England’s Registered Park and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. 

Meanwhile the stables and coach house are also Grade II as is the water pump in the stable courtyard. 

Kingston Lacy's 8,500-acre estate is part of the 16,000-acre Bankes estate that was left to the National Trust in 1981 by Henry John ‘Ralph’ Bankes.