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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Brunch with Queen Victoria

Follow in the footsteps of the Queen and her 1841 visit to Woburn Abbey. Enjoy a delicious lunch in the Duchess' Tearoom followed by an in-depth talk with time to explore the Abbey at your leisure.
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The Woburn Estate Wedding Fair

Visit a wide variety of pop up wedding shops in the period Antique Quarter of Woburn Abbey's Sculpture Gallery.
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Carriage Tours October

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SOLD OUT - This event is now sold out but please register your interest to allow us to inform you when new dates available.
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Housekeeper's Know-how

Ever wondered what it takes to preserve and care for a great stately home and its treasures? Join us as we begin our annual ‘deep-clean’ to find out more.
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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

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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New Year's Eve at Woburn

New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration and at The Sculpture Gallery we believe in welcoming the coming year with style and sophistication. Join us this New Year’s Eve at The Sculpture Gallery for an exclusive evening with our five piece band Blue Rinse and see in 2018 with style.
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Carriage Tours April

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a historic Landau Carriage around the grounds and gardens
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Carriage Tours May

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a historic Landau Carriage around the grounds and gardens
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Carriage Tours June

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a historic Landau Carriage around the grounds and gardens
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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.
Image for Carriage Tours July

Carriage Tours July

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a historic Landau Carriage around the grounds and gardens
Image for Carriage Tours August

Carriage Tours August

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a historic Landau Carriage around the grounds and gardens