Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Woburn Abbey and Gardens is situated just off the M1 and is signposted with a traditional brown sign off the roundabout. After following a long drive through the deer park where we spotted many deer roaming freely we found ample free parking right outside the Abbey.
Entrance was quick and easy even on the sunny day we visited there were no queues. The ticket office is situated in the shop which was well stocked and including a selection of plants as wells as traditional gifts. The park is laid out extremely well and is meticulously clean with the paths being perfect for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Even when there were stairs, ramps are provided as an alternative and they were plenty wide enough. It’s also well signposted including all areas of the gardens.
From the entrance you can continue through to the pottery, tea rooms and the Abbey itself or turn left into the gardens. We decided to start with the house and were extremely impressed by what we saw; founded in 1145 by monks it is awash with history that is well detailed in every room throughout the house. With a secure push chair park behind the front desk we had no worries about leaving our buggy there and followed the arrows that direct you round the house. The décor is beautiful with both copies of the original wallpaper in some areas, including an exhibition of Chinese wallpaper and its origins, and sections of the originals in others. The abbey is still very much a family home and this shines through in the photographs and mementoes that adorn many of the rooms. In others it’s all about the history of the Abbey and its fantastic collection of furniture, china and art. A long time can be spent browsing these collections culminating in the vaults with their amazing array of gold and silver. The last room in the house is a shell grotto a complete contradiction to the sombre vaults, it’s a quirky and unusual end to the visit.
After the house, we were in need of refreshment so visited the Duchess Tea Rooms to partake in sandwiches, cake and tea at reasonable prices. There are plenty of tables both inside and out but we chose the terrace as the weather was glorious.
After a much needed break we toured the gardens via the pottery studio. These were beautifully kept and well signposted with information boards in each are of interest. We happily spent several hours here visiting the maze, Chinese pagoda and Doric temple to name but a few highlights. If you like walking you can continue through the gardens onto several well marked trails through the deer park spotting some of the Abbeys nine species of deer as you go.
Whilst writing I just have to give a big thumbs up to the toilets which were modern, very clean and even had White Company toiletries, definitely not your standard visitor attraction toilets.
I highly recommend Woburn Abbey and Gardens, It’s extremely well kept, nicely laid out, has lots to see and is good value for money. I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.
Tickets cost (Woburn Abbey, Gardens and Deer Park): £15 Adult / £5.70 Child (3-15 years)
For more information or to book tickets visit www.woburnabbey.co.uk.
Woburn Abbey and Gardens, Woburn, Bedfordshire, MK17 9WA | 01525 290 333