The Chinese Dairy

Image for The Chinese Dairy A View of The Chinese Dairy Today

The Chinoiserie Style

The Chinese Dairy was designed by Henry Holland in the Chinoiserie style in 1787 for Francis, 5th Duke of Bedford. Sir William Chambers’ pattern book ‘designs’ was published in 1785 and developed the Chinese style, known as Chinoiserie. It was from this source that Holland derived much of the detail for the dairy. The Duke wished to create an appropriate setting for his collection of oriental porcelain, dishes and plates.

The Dairy was originally joined to the house by a covered walkway, part of which you can still see today. The Chinese trees continue the theme from the Dairy into the Garden and the windows were painted with Chinese characters and botanical specimens by Theodore Perrache. The fish in the pond are mainly species of carp and records show it was a regular occurrence for the 6th Duke to feed the fish each morning at 6.00am.


Image for The Chinese Dairy The Chinese Dairy Under Reconstruction

Chinese Dairy Restoration

The Chinese Dairy was built in 1794 and restored in 2004. The pond is 12ft deep at the centre and was drained to a depth of 6ft during the reconstruction phase so that the koi fish did not have to be removed. All planting around the pond is new except for 3 original trees.

The planting includes a Eucommia (Eucommia ulmoides), a small tree native to China. It is "near threatened" in the wild, but is widely cultivated in China for its bark as it is highly valued in herbology, especially traditional Chinese medicine. If a leaf is torn across, strands of latex exuded from the leaf veins solidify into rubber.

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Events & Exhibitions

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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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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
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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.