Abbey House Gardens

on 15 May 2019.

abbey house gardens Main 01

Abbey House Gardens is a spectacular 5 acre country house garden in Malmesbury, Wiltshire which straddles the River Avon. Reckoned to be one of the great gardens of England, if not the world, the gardens are open to the public seven days a week from the 1st April until October 31st. Featured by the BBC’s Alan Titchmarsh on Gardeners World and more mysteriously on Meet the Ancestors, after a skeleton thought to belong to a 13th century Monk was discovered in the gardens, Abbey House Gardens has a unique and palpable spirit.

Abbey House Gardens are steeped in history. The Abbey was completed in the 12th Century and was the third most important religious centre in England after Canterbury and Winchester. After the arrival of Abbot William of Colerne in 1260 an ambitious building programme which included the Lady Chapel, a shrine to St. Aldhelm and the Abbot’s lodging - now Abbey House - with herbarium and vinery, was underway. The Abbey House was bought by a local clothier William Stumpe from Henry VIII in 1539 after the dissolution of the monasteries. As a gateway between the West Country and the Cotswolds, Abbey House changed hands six times during the Civil War and various commanders used the Abbey House as headquarters.

The house itself is not open to the public. It is privately owned by Ian and Barbara Pollard who purchased the property in 1994 and have renovated the gardens bringing themselves some notoriety in the process as the ‘naked gardeners’ as they both enjoy naturism. Indeed there are several days a year which are ‘clothing optional’ and well attended by the naturist community.

The Abbey House has an inviting and tranquil atmosphere. Dog-friendly, Abbey House Gardens has the Coy Carp Café for delicious lunches and teas and limited accommodation if you wanted to extend your stay.

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