Image for The Armada Portrait The Armada Portrait

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)

The Armada Portrait, c.1588.  Attributed to George Gower (c.1546-1596).

 

The Armada Portrait, displayed in the Long Gallery, is a must see for visitors to Woburn Abbey. An impressive picture, it is a statement of power and authority with Queen Elizabeth I portrayed as Empress of the world and commander of the seas.

This portrait of Elizabeth I is attributed to George Gower in 1588 and is an oil painting on an oak panel. It is known as 'The Armada Portrait' because it commemorates the great sea battle of 1588 when the English fleet defeated the invading Spanish Armada sent to overthrow Elizabeth. The view of the battle in the two windows behind the Queen conveys messages of Elizabeth's victory. 

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Symbolism

This is probably the most iconic portrait of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen (and is one of three versions in existence). Her hand is firmly on the globe and the Imperial crown reflects her equality with the Holy Roman Emperor and her status as Empress of the world, whilst the mermaid hints at her command of the seas. Her dress, in her preferred colours of black and white, also proclaims her rank and is covered with her favourite gems and precious pearls from the sea, a sign of virginity.

The Long Gallery

The Long Gallery is a space that served several purposes. It could be used for displaying collections of art and for exercise by walking up and down the room when the weather discouraged a visit to the gardens. It is still used by the family when entertaining guests. 

Events & Exhibitions

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Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford

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Open to the public between 23rd March and 28th October 2018, the new exhibition explores the fascinating relationship between Repton and one of his greatest clients.
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Open Air Theatre - The Tempest

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all-male theatre company, invite you to join them this summer for Shakespeare’s spellbinding masterpiece, The Tempest.
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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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Twilight Parkland Tour

Experience the grounds of Woburn Abbey in a whole new light on this exclusive out-of-hours tour of the parkland and gardens.
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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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Twilight Parkland Tour - August

Experience the grounds of Woburn Abbey in a whole new light on this exclusive out-of-hours tour of the parkland and gardens.
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Carriage Tours - August

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens
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Bat Walk

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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Bat Walk

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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Life in a Noble Household

Discover what it was like to work in a great Ducal household from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
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Bat Walk

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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Terrarium Workshop

Bedford Estates Head Gardener, Tom Abbott will show you how to create a terrarium which you will then get to take home.
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Bat Walk

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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tri for life triathlon

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tri for life presents The Woburn Abbey Triathlon. One of the UK’s most loved triathlons, it has become famed for its iconic venue and unrivalled family experience.
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Woburn Abbey Honey Festival

Join us in a celebration of everything honey, set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey and Gardens.
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Dining Like A Duke

From the earliest times, the consumption of food has evolved from the basic requirements to survive into one of the grandest expressions of wealth and style.
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Adam Frost: Intro into Garden Design

Have you ever wondered how to approach designing your own garden, what you need to know to be a garden designer or the skills involved?
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

This exclusive Evening Champagne Reception will be hosted by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford. Browse over 50 stalls of inspiring gift ideas whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne and canapés. All proceeds from the event tickets will go to the NSPCC.
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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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Treasury of Trees Walking Tour

Join us for a guided walk in our Quercetum and Pinetum areas of the gardens to discover our treasury of trees.
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Treasures of the Library & Afternoon Tea

Enjoy a private view of some of the treasures housed within Woburn Abbey’s extensive library collection.
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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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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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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2019

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Early Bird rates can now be booked on-line for the Gardeners' Garden Show.