Holnest is a village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southern England. It lies within the West Dorset administrative district, in the Blackmore Vale south of Sherborne. It is a scattered village, sited on Oxford clay which is drained by a small stream called The Cam. The A352 main road passes through the village. Dorset County Council's 2013 mid-year estimate of the population of the parish is 220. In the 2011 national census the population of Holnest parish combined with the small parish of Lillington to the north was 342; figures have so far not been published for Holnest parish alone.
Holnest parish church stands behind a wall and large gates close to the main road. The gates are the result of a mausoleum which used to stand in the churchyard. This had been built in 1872 by John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax as part of his preparations for his own funeral, but no provision was made for its upkeep and after his death and internment in 1887 it fell into disrepair and was later demolished. A description of the building was given in 1906 by Sir Frederick Treves, who said it was "almost as large as the humble church" and "a gaudy building, in the Byzantine style, made up of grey and yellow stone, worried by much carving and enlivened by highly polished granite pillars. The rounded roof, which to be consistent should be of corrugated iron, is of lead.".
Holnest Park House is an 18th-century listed building which has more recently been divided into flats. It was badly damaged by a fire in 2010.