The estate goes beyond a historic house. It encompasses working farms, offers a haven for wildlife, and provides a glimpse into Dorset's rich history, including the nearby prehistoric site of Badbury Rings.

The land where Kingston Lacy stands was originally part of a vast royal estate within the manor of Wimborne.

A house existed on the northern side of the current structure during the medieval period. It likely served as a hunting lodge connected to a nearby deer park.

The Crown leased the estate to various tenants up until the 15th Century, including the de Lacy family, Earls of Lincoln.

The property was leased to John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. His daughter, Lady Margaret Beaufort, who later became the mother of King Henry VII, spent part of her childhood at Kingston Lacy.

Dorset Echo: Kingston Lacy

Following the destruction of Corfe Castle, the primary residence of the Bankes Family, during the English Civil War, they sought a new home. Sir Ralph Bankes commissioned the building of the current Kingston Lacy house between 1663 and 1665, designed by Sir Roger Pratt.

Over generations, the Bankes family continuously modified and expanded the house.

Henry Bankes the Younger, with the help of architect Robert Brettingham, transformed the formal gardens into a more relaxed landscape style popular in the late 18th century.

His son, William, further embellished the estate by adding Egyptian obelisks and calling upon renowned architect Sir Charles Barry to encase the house in Chilmark stone and create the stunning Carrara marble staircase still seen there today.

The Bankes family were passionate collectors, amassing an impressive collection of European art.

Dorset Echo:

Today, Kingston Lacy houses one of the National Trust's most significant art collections, featuring works by Rubens, Titian, and other masters.

Henry John "Ralph" Bankes bequeathed the 8,500-acre Kingston Lacy estate, part of the larger 16,000-acre Bankes estate, to the National Trust in 1981. This generous act ensured the preservation of this remarkable property for future generations.

Under the National Trust's care, Kingston Lacy continues to be a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the grand house, admire the art collection, wander the picturesque gardens, and experience the beauty of the surrounding parkland.