This was the home the Bankes family created after their castle at Corfe was destroyed in the Civil War. Designed to resemble an Italian palace, it is packed with treasures including works of art by Rubens Van Dyck, Tintoretto, Titian and Brueghel. The house also contains what is said to be the largest collection of Egyptian relics in the UK. Outside, there is a 3,500 acre estate with walks, plus extensive gardens, including a Japanese garden and Victorian kitchen garden.
Note: Entrance to house often on a timed visit; also, volunteer shortages mean that sometimes only a small part of the house is open - essential to check beforehand.