Image for Humphry Repton at Woburn Repton's Watercolour Design For The Rockery Pavilion.

The First Landscape Gardener

Humphry Repton was the first person to use the title of Landscape Gardener. He made it up by combining his interest in landscape painting with his skills in practical gardening.

On his inheritance of Woburn, the 6th Duke continued his brother’s, the 5th Duke of Bedford, development of the Estate. In 1804 he invited Repton to suggest proposals for landscaping the Abbey grounds after all of the building work at The Abbey. Repton sent his Red Book, filled with his ideas for the estate, to Woburn in January 1805. 

This book contained a number of plans that were eventually carried out such as a new approach from the London Road, the thornery plantation and a viaduct. Others were partly carried out such as the pleasure grounds layout, hills either side of the driveway and changes to the Basin Pond dam. Finally, some suggestions were not enacted at all. These included new road layouts, including the driveway to the West Front, and alterations to the pond shoreline.

Image for Humphry Repton at Woburn

It is the pleasure grounds that form the main area considered to be Woburn Abbey Gardens today. Although the paths and excavations were completed, the Menagerie built and the bridge over the Greenhouse pond constructed, most of Repton’s vision for the pleasure grounds was unrealised.

It seems that perhaps his ideas of “fanciful decoration” were just not to the taste of the Duke and Duchess. In the end, with the input of Sinclair and Wyatville, gardens for recreation and relaxation were built over the subsequent decade, together with exciting and magical places for the children to play.

You can learn more about the work of Humphry Repton and his plans for Woburn Abbey at one of our study days. Take a look at our event listings for more information. 

Events & Exhibitions

Image for Carriage Tours  - June

Carriage Tours - June

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens
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Flower Painting Study Day

Join us for a day of flower painting as we turn one of the rooms in the Historic North Court of Woburn Abbey into an art studio for the day.
Image for Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2018

Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2018

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Now in its 9th year, the ‘Gardeners’ Garden Show’ has become an important diary date for gardening enthusiasts. Set in 42-acres of the Abbey’s beautifully landscaped gardens, the show offers unparalleled access to award-winning exhibitors and nurseries that have been handpicked by Woburn. The displays are complemented by an array of live entertainment, artisan foods, shopping, demonstrations, informative talks and gardening advice, tips and tours.
Image for VIP Garden Show package Saturday 23rd June

VIP Garden Show package Saturday 23rd June

We invite you to enjoy a very special day out at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show with our exclusive Art and Horticulture package.
Image for VIP Garden Show package Sunday 24th June

VIP Garden Show package Sunday 24th June

We invite you to enjoy a very special day out at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show with our exclusive VIP packages.
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Rose Study Day

Studying and appreciation of roses with David Austin’s Rosarian Michael Marriott
Image for Twilight Parkland Tour - July

Twilight Parkland Tour - July

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

Carriage Tours - July

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

Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
Image for Twilight Parkland Tour

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.
Image for Buterfly and Bugs Walk

Buterfly and Bugs Walk

Discover the beautiful butterflies to be found in the Abbey Gardens and find out how you can attract more species to your own garden, during this guided walk.
Image for VIP Picnic Carriage Tour in Woburn Abbey Deer Park

VIP Picnic Carriage Tour in Woburn Abbey Deer Park

Experience a picnic like no other - in The Bedford Estate’s private traditional wagonette drawn by a team of four magnificent horses.
Image for Twilight Parkland Tour - August

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.
Image for Carriage Tours - August

Carriage Tours - August

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

Bat Walks

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
Image for Bat Walk

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.
Image for Bat Walk

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.
Image for Bat Walk

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.
Image for Adam Frost: Intro into Garden Design

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?
Image for Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

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