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Larmer Tree Festival

Larmer Tree Festival

Larmer Tree Festival is a very popular music and arts festival which takes place in July in Larmer Tree Gardens in the heart of Cranborne Chase – an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

The Larmer Tree Festival originated in 1990 and the story goes that James Shepard was jogging in the Cranborne Chase area and was inspired to create something along the lines of the Bracknell Jazz Festival that existed in the 1970s in South Hill Park. He went ahead and created the first festival that very year and it had just 200 visitors. Over coming years the festival grew into a two day event and more recently into a five day event with around 80 bands playing on seven different stages. The numbers are still strictly limited to just 5,000 visitors, which helps keep the small intimate atmosphere much loved by the festival aficionados. The Larmer Tree Festival is such a popular event that tickets sell out way in advance - so if you are planning to attend do make sure you are prepared to buy yours early. More information can be found on the Larmer Tree Festival website.

If you can’t wait until the summer for the Larmer Tree Festival, then you can always visit the Larmer Tree Gardens which are stunning in themselves and only 30 miles from the Holiday Inn Salisbury - Stonehenge. With beautiful landscaped borders and lawns, as well as woodlands with camellias and rhododendrons, you will instantly feel inspired – especially as the gardens have been recognised as a Garden of National Importance by English Heritage. Don’t be surprised to see the odd peacock wandering around or a macaw flying past though, as these are happy inhabitants of the gardens.

The Larmer Tree itself also has a fascinating history. It’s not really known how the name came about, but the tree (believed to be a Wych Elm) is believed to be a landmark tree which once marked the boundary between Wiltshire and Dorset. It is also believed it was used as a meeting place for King John when he was out hunting in the area.

In the late 19th Century the gardens became the Larmer Tree Pleasure Grounds and the home to music and entertainment - and over 44,000 visitors a year! At the turn of the century the gardens closed until their restoration began in 1991 and were re-opened once more in 1995. In December 1999, a new Larmer Tree was planted for the new millennium.

Where to Stay

If you are planning to visit the Larmer Tree Festival  “The happiest, friendliest, quirkiest festival in the land . . . “ or if you are simply planning a visit to Cranborne Chase and Larmer Tree Gardens, then why not stay at the Holiday Inn Salisbury-Stonehenge? At just 30 miles away on the A354, the hotel offers stylish sophisticated accommodation and a convenient location. Get a great night’s sleep in our one of our guest or executive rooms offering all the amenities and top quality bed linen. Our highly acclaimed Solstice Bar & Grill is also on site so you don’t have to go far to get great food and a welcoming atmosphere. We look forward to seeing you soon.