Restored Dorset garden tops TripAdvisor trending list

A four-hectare Dorset garden has been named the UK's top trending attraction for autumn by travel website TripAvisor - beating attractions such as Tower Bridge and Tate Modern in London.

TripAdvisor has seen interest in Compton Acres surge
TripAdvisor has seen interest in Compton Acres surge

In total three attractions with significant green space made the top 10, compiled by interest shown by people visiting TripAdvisor’s website and apps. 

Compton Acres in Poole, which features Italian and Japanese gardens, a wooded valley, rock, water and heather gardens, saw a 150% year-on-year traffic increase on the stie and topped TripAdvisor’s Attractions Trend Index 2016. 

Castle Howard in York, North Yorkshire, came in second, with 119% traffic increase. The property has a 405 ha estate featuring woodland walks, temples, lakes and fountains and a walled garden.

Manchester City Council-run Heaton Park came in at number seven, with a 79% increase. A £10 million millennium restoration project by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the council, the 245 ha site also has an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a boating lake, an observatory, an adventure playground, and bowling greens.

Compton Acres was built in 1924 by a wealthy margarine entrepreneur but entered a long period of decline following the Second World War. Current owners Bernard and Kaye Merna have spent 16 years restoring it, with the advice of former horticultural director at the Eden Project Peter Thoday and garden designer Mary Payne, a two-time Chelsea Flower Show Gold winner.

Compton Acres is now home to magnificent planting displays and showcases more 3,000 species of plants including many rare specimens from around the world. It also has a cafe and tearooms, gift shop, plant centre and a venue for weddings and corporate events. Compton Acres was named as the Best Small Visitor Attraction, at the South West Tourism Awards 2016.

Bernard Merna said: "Reviving the historic gardens has been a real honour and to now be named the Top Tourist Attraction in the UK according to TripAdvisor is a crowning achievement for all our hard work. We look forward to the years ahead as the beautiful gardens continue to mature." 

TripAdvisor's Top Trending UK Attractions for Autumn 2016


UK Attraction

YoY Traffic Increase


Compton Acres, Poole, Dorset



Castle Howard, York, North Yorkshire



Ridge Walk Mam Tor to Losehill, Castleton, Derbyshire



Cardiff Bay, Cardiff



Tower Bridge, London



Southend Pier, Southend, Essex



Heaton Park, Manchester, Greater Manchester



Tate Modern, London



Chinatown, London



Dean Village, Edinburgh


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