It’s home to one of the National Trust’s most important art collections and boasts gardens celebrated as a ‘horticultural masterpiece’. But it also sits amidst 8,500 acres of parkland – so visiting without a car is a challenge.
Now, however, locals seeking a special day out can enjoy a trip to Kingston Lacy just by hopping aboard the ‘Little Green Bus’ operated by Dorset Community Transport (DCT).
The National Trust announced this week that the opulent home built to resemble a Venetian palace in the middle of the Dorset countryside was now part of DCT’s bus service 88, which serves Wimborne Minster, Colehill, Pamphill and Sturminster Marshall.
Thanks to support from Wimborne Minster Town Council, Wimborne BID, Sturminster Marshall Parish Council and Colehill Parish Council, Service 88 was successfully reintroduced by DCT in 2017 and since then has been going from strength to strength, providing a lifeline for local residents.
It now runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and will include a regular stop at Kingston Lacy, which is just outside Wimborne.
There’s plenty to see at the 17th Century property, from spectacular artworks by Rubens, Van Dyck and Titian, and the UK’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts, to a formal Japanese garden and authentic tea house. The vast estate includes colourful heathland, 12 way-marked footpaths, Iron Age hill forts and the world’s oldest pedigree herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle.
Tim Turner, General Manager at Kingston Lacy, said: “Our location means that we are difficult to get to if you don’t own a car and so we are thrilled that this new and enhanced bus service will enable members of the community, be it visitors or volunteers, to get to us much more easily and inexpensively.”
He added: “Providing access to safe outdoor spaces where people can relax and enjoy spending time in nature has never been more important as we navigate the ongoing pandemic. We are excited that this new regular bus service will mean more local people can benefit from spending time in the Kingston Lacy garden and parkland.”
Tim Christian, General Manager at DCT, said: “We are delighted to add this destination to our timetable for this much-valued local bus service, especially when we’ve also increased to running three days weekly.
“DCT’s local bus services help connect communities, often with no other public transport available to them, to their local town facilities, enabling residents who might otherwise be lonely and isolated access vital services. For some, meeting friends or family in town, or simply the time spent on the bus, may be their only social interaction that week. With the challenges that 2020 has brought, this is as important today as it has ever been.”
He added: “We continue to work hard to ensure that we operate within government guidelines to keep everyone safe on their journey. This currently means face coverings are compulsory, unless a passenger is exempt, and there are limits to the number of passengers who can board the bus at any one time.”
Service 88 timetables – and details of all other local bus services – are available by clicking here. Further information about the range of DCT’s services can be found here. Please also check the National Trust website for what’s open.