Must Sees

The World-Renowned Collections

During your visit to Woburn Abbey, there are a number of items within the collection that are not to be missed. 

Image for Must Sees The Armada Portrait

1. The Armada Portrait in the Long Gallery

The portrait of Elizabeth I is attributed to George Gower and dates from 1588. A legendary symbolic painting, it commemorates the victorious sea battle against the Spanish Armada and portrays the Tudor Queen as Empress of the world and commander of the seas.

2. The Crypt Porcelain Display 

Amongst the highlights on display is a celebrated selection of porcelain from the Sèvres dinner service presented to the wife of the 4th Duke by King Louis XV, in appreciation of his role in negotiating the Treaty of Paris in 1763. It is the only Sèvres service to be gifted to an English aristocrat by the King of France. 

3. 24 Views of Venice by Canaletto (1697 - 1768)

The future 4th Duke of Bedford visited Venice while on his Grand Tour in 1731. These paintings were subsequently commissioned and remind us of the fascination of this beautiful city for the traveller. One of the family’s favourites is 'The Entrance to the Arsenal', where the great fleets of the Republic were built. 

4. The Grotto

The Grotto (built probably between the later 1620s and 1641) was designed as an undersea cavern which included piped water cascading into a basin.  The stone is carved to resemble seaweed and stalactites, with dolphins formed from mother-of-pearl and the ceiling inlaid with ormer shells. This room is a unique surviving example of a 17th-century Grotto.

Image for Must Sees The Holland Library

5. The Silver and Gold Vaults

A selection of some of the family silver and gold includes the 4th Duke’s wedding present to his second wife Gertrude, commissioned from Paul de Lamerie, one of the finest Huguenot silversmiths.

6. The Holland Library and The Book Room

The Library was designed by Henry Holland in the neo-classical style. There is an extensive collection of botanical and ornithological books, some of which are displayed in the Book Room including the impressive lifesize illustrations in the facsimile copy of 'Birds of America' by John James Audubon. 

Please note, the Holland Library is only open to the public Tuesday-Thursday.

 

Image for Must Sees Oakley House Doll's House

7. The Oakley Doll's House

New for 2016, visitors to Woburn Abbey can now peek behind the curtains of a wonderful, historic doll’s house. Beautifully furnished and skilfully made by members of the Russell family at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is a replica in miniature of Oakley House which is situated just outside Bedford and was owned by the 4th Duke of Bedford.

Find out more about the Doll's House

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Events & Exhibitions

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Outdoor Theatre

Brought to you by the Lord Chamberlains Men, as the all male cast perform Shakespeare's hilarious farce, The Comedy of Errors.
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Parkland Tour - July

Come along on a tour around our beautiful deer park, and experience it as Humphry Repton intended.
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Woburn Abbey Gardens Tour and Lunch 13th July

Enjoy the splendour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens through the seasons with our 2017 private garden tour and lunch at The Sculpture Gallery.
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A Day with Pippa Greenwood

Learn to 'grow your own' from this well-known gardening expert.
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Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
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Garden Safari Week - July

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Calling all Garden Explorers! Come and join us on our Garden Safari this summer holiday.
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Parkland Tour - July

Come along on a tour around our beautiful deer park, and experience it as Humphry Repton intended.
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Garden Safari Week - August

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Calling all Garden Explorers! Come and join us on our Garden Safari this summer holiday.
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Parkland Tour - August

Come along on a tour around our beautiful deer park, and experience it as Humphry Repton intended.
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Bat Walks

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Autumn Gardening Skills

This session is designed to give you a range of horticultural skills and enable you to get hands on with plant material to gain the confidence with your own garden maintenance. The perfect introduction if you are not sure where, when or how to get started in your own garden.
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Bat Walks

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Pruning Study Day

This session is designed to give you a wide range of pruning skills and enable you to get hands on with plant material to gain the confidence with your own garden maintenance.
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair

The NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair is an annual event and a highlight of the Woburn calendar.
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Off Road Deer Park Tours

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Join the Deer Keepers for a 1.5 hour tour of the Woburn Abbey Deer Park where you will able to get up close to the beautiful deer.
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Natalie Williams' Soul Motown Revue

The Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome back Natalie Williams' Soul Family this November for an exclusive evening of musical entertainment and fine dining.
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Off Road Deer Park Tours

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Join the Deer Keepers for a 1.5 hour tour of the Woburn Abbey Deer Park where you will able to get up close to the beautiful deer.
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Carriage Tours October

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An exciting experience, enjoy a tour in a historic Landau Carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
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War Notes from Woburn: Remembrance Sunday

The Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome back Lili la Scala this Remembrance Sunday, performing a poignant blend of vintage songs while guests enjoy a traditional two course Sunday lunch.
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A Touch of West End

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Woburn's Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome back A Touch of West End this December for a fabulous evening of fine dining and musical entertainment.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2018

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After the huge success of the 2017 Garden Show this June we are pleased to announce that tickets can now be purchased for the 9th Woburn Abbey Garden Show taking place on 23rd and 24th June 2018. Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey, ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’ offers visitors one of the best location of any show in the UK, taking place within the 42 acres of Abbey Gardens.