The Bankes family home

Fireplace at Kingston Lacy, Dorset.

Step inside the home of one of the most powerful families of Dorset and discover the history of Kingston Lacy and the flamboyant Bankes family who owned vast swathes of Dorset for over 400 years. From fighting the forces of Oliver Cromwell, to gathering one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts, the Bankes have a colourful past.

From 1 March - 30 October

The house is open Monday-Sunday. Please be aware that rooms may be closed on particular days due to a volunteer shortage or conservation work. Entry to the house is the same every day, 11am – 4pm.  


Outstanding collection of paintings 


Kingston Lacy is home to one of the finest private collections of paintings in Britain with works by Rubens Van Dyck, Tintoretto, Titian and Brueghel. New for 2016, see the entrance hall and saloon with fresh eyes as we recreate the rooms as William John Bankes had imagined. 

Treasures from ancient Egypt

Step back thousands of years and discover the largest private display of Egyptian relics in the UK. Look out for bronze cats, cockerels, scarab beetles and 25 ‘stelae’ (tomb inscriptions) from Deir el-Medina – all mementoes from William John Bankes’ incredible journey through Egypt in 1818.

A virtual tour

Don’t miss our interactive digital tour of Kingston Lacy in the Egyptian Room. Take control of the camera to explore all the nooks and crannies of the house and see what each room has to offer.

A taste of Italy

With its marble floors and vaulted ceiling, stepping into the Loggia is like being whisked away to a flamboyant Italian palace. Gaze out over the parterre and up through the Cedar avenue or admire the statues of King Charles 1st and the family’s ancestor ‘Brave Dame Mary’ Bankes who fiercely defended Corfe Castle against a roundhead siege.

Restored to new

Spot the keys to Corfe Castle over the mantlepiece, the old home of the Bankes family, destroyed in the flames of war. Look up for the beautiful ceiling fresco, now restored to pride of place after a 20 year absence, thanks to generous public donations - the first time a detached fresco has ever been restored.

A tented bedroom

Upstairs you can see one of the last surviving ‘tent rooms’ in Europe, painted to resemble the military campaign tents that Napoleon lived in as he waged his wars across Europe.

Kingston Lacy picture list

This guide will show you what paintings are in each room. It also gives you an excellent study of the context of the collection within the history of the Bankes family at Kingston Lacy.