‘Take the dog for a walk, tour the house and have a cream tea’

August 29, 2018

FRONT OF HOUSE: Dhamu, my companion for the day, is outside the front entrance of Upton House to show the scale of the building. The main foundations of the house was built between 1816 and 1818 with the West Wing completed in 1825. The land that it was built on was bought by former mayor of Poole William Spurrier.

BE RESPONSIBLE: Enjoying the joys of walking your dog around the 140 acres of woodland and parkland of Upton Harries carries basic common sense and this sign caught my attention to emphasize this.

TEA TIME: This spread is courtesy of the Tea Rooms that are underneath the art gallery on the first floor, which is also worth a visit.

PLEASANT WALK: This path which Dhamu is standing in the middle of is at the back of the tea rooms and is next to the Walled Garden.



UPTON House has a history spanning just over centuries and it has grown outwards over that time span.

I took time out over the Bank Holiday to visit the prominent house on the edge of Poole that is owned by the council and was joined by Dhamu, who wanted some down time away from the computer screen.

Past owners sold house due to debts

The majestic nineteenth-century house was built on land purchased by William Spurrier and it was purchased by the Doughty and Tichborne families. Spurrier was four times mayor of Poole.

His son Christopher constructed the house between 1816 and 1818 and its west wing was added in 1825. The Spurriers built their wealth on the Newfoundland fishing trade, but once this went into decline, the family’s debts spiralled.

Debt was also the same fate to befall Sir Edward Doughty, a member of the Titchborne family, whose family owned the house from 1828 to 1901.

The Llewellin family were the last private owners of Upton House and Country Park  before it was handed over to the Borough of Poole. They had previously bought the property in 1901.

The family served the country during the First and Second World Wars and the Grade II Listed mansion house hosted at times in the latter one for evacuees and also as a makeshift hospital for tuberculosis victims during the 1940s.

House took four years of restoration before public opening

Lady Mary Llewellin personally presented the Freedom of the Borough to war-time leader Sir Winston Churchill and the house and 55 acres of grounds were bequeathed by Sir William Llewellin to the Borough of Poole in 1957. For nearly 20 years it was rented to Prince Carol of Romania but in 1976 when the council sought opinion from the local community on its future, it would be opened as a leisure facility and country park for the people of Poole.

Four years of restoration saw the house and its gardens opened to the public in 1981 and 34 years later, the grounds became part of the Holes Bay Nature Park.

In recent years the house has become a popular venue for weddings and their receptions; business meetings and corporate away days.

The house is regular open to the public and there are guided tours of the house by the volunteer-run Friends of Upton Country Park.

‘Look out for the Paw Prints Code’

The house and gardens with its 140 acres of open parkland and woodland is very popular with dog walkers and it has been working with the group Dorset Dogs to implement the ‘Paw Prints’ code. A green paw says it can be let off the leash, an amber means they must be kept on a tight rein and red means it is totally off limits.

This is part of a nationwide system that tells dogs owners which parts of the park they can let their dogs run free or where they need to be on a short lead. The park has regular notices strategically placed to remind dog owners to clean up after their animals should nature calls at any inconvenient moment.

There is a tea rooms that serves locally-sourced food and has a wonderful cream tea and a soft play area for under threes to keep them entertained.

  • THE house will be open on Sunday 9 and Sunday 23 September for a guided tour of the ground floor rooms by a member of the Friends of Upton Country Park at a cost of £1.50 per person and start at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

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