When the 6th Duke of Bedford inherited Woburn in 1802, he commissioned the famous landscape gardener, Humphry Repton (1752-1818), to create designs to enhance the gardens and parkland. 2018 celebrates the bicentenary of Humphry Repton.

Recognised as the first person to invent and use the title ‘landscape gardener’, Humphry Repton regarded himself as the rightful successor to Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Repton produced over 400 designs and schemes for gardens great and small, but of these, he stated, “none were more fully realised than at Woburn Abbey”. He published his theories in two influential books, Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1803), and Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1816). In these, he promotes his style and references his important work for the Duke of Bedford.

With the Duke being Repton’s most important client, at a time of declining commissions, the Woburn Red Book is one of his largest works. It contains Repton’s most ambitious and detailed designs covering the approaches to the Abbey, the lakes and plantings in the surrounding parkland and the formal Pleasure Grounds.

Exhibition - Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford

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. On public display for visitors to see for the first time will be his most elaborate and comprehensive Red Book. 

In addition, the exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to discover Repton’s other works for the family including at the picturesque Devon estate of Endsleigh, Oakley House and Russell Square in London. Never before seen unexecuted designs will feature alongside works of art and archival treasures, which bring to life the creative legacy of Repton. There will also be Repton-related family trails, activities and events throughout the year.

Image for Humphry Repton at Woburn Abbey

Repton landscapes at Woburn Abbey Gardens

Having explored the Repton’s legacy in the exhibition, visitors need only step outside to discover Repton’s beautiful landscape designs. Since 2004 the present Duke and Duchess of Bedford have been restoring many of Repton’s features in the Woburn Abbey Gardens. These include the folly grottothe Cone House, the menagerie and the striking Chinese-style pavilion, which was completed in 2011 and went on to win a Hudson’s Heritage Award. In 2013, Woburn’s project to restore the 19th Century Humphry Repton landscape won the “Best Restoration of a Georgian Garden” at the Georgian Group Architectural Awards.

Other Repton features in the Woburn landscape include; The Aviary, set to be further restored in 2018 and the Doric Temple.

 

Events & Exhibitions

Image for Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford

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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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.
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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

Bookings for VIP tickets are now closed, tickets for general admission to the Garden Show are still available.
Image for VIP Garden Show package Sunday 24th June

VIP Garden Show package Sunday 24th June

Bookings for VIP tickets are now closed, tickets for general admission to the Garden Show are still available.
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Rose Study Day

Studying and appreciation of roses with David Austin’s Rosarian Michael Marriott
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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.
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Carriage Tours - July

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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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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.
Image for Brunch with Queen Victoria

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.
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

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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 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.
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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.
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.
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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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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?
Image for NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

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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Treasures of the Library & Afternoon Tea

Enjoy a private view of some of the treasures housed within Woburn Abbey’s extensive library collection.
Image for Brunch with Queen Victoria

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.