How a chartered surveyor turned private gardens into the UK’s most popular tourist attraction, as recognised by TripAdvisor
Recognising the extensive rejuvenation and refurbishments efforts made by current owners Bernard and Kaye Merna, Compton Acres has been announced as the UK’s top tourist attraction by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. Topping a list of prestigious UK tourist attractions, the popularity rating of Compton Acres is based on search activity to their website which has increased by 150% in the last 12 months.
Built in 1924 by a wealthy margarine entrepreneur, the private gardens entered a long period of decline following the Second World War. Taking on the challenge Bernard Merna, a chartered surveyor, and Kaye Merna purchased Compton Acres in 2003. Turning to garden consultant Peter Thoday, a former horticultural director at the Eden Project and horticultural expert Mary Payne MBE, a two-time Chelsea Flower Show Gold winner, the team breathed new life into the historic gardens. Compton Acres is now home to magnificent planting displays and showcases over 3000 species of plants including many beautiful and rare specimens from around the world.
Spread across 10 acres of land overlooking Poole harbor, the Merna’s have made a number of ambitious developments over the years. Adding a Café and Tearooms, Gift Shop, Plant Centre and The Italian Villa, a popular venue for weddings and corporate events. This has also seen the garden named as the Best Small Visitor Attraction, at the South West Tourism Awards 2016.
Bernard Merna, comments:
“We have spent 16 years transforming Compton Acres into a welcoming visitor destination. 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”
Today, the gardens at Compton Acres stretch along gentle paths, from The Italian Garden to the Wooded Valley, Rock and Water Gardens, the Heather Garden, and the Japanese Garden.
To find out more about Compton Acres and plan your visit go to: Compton Acres.