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

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 5th April and 1st September 2019, this exhibition explores the fascinating relationship between Repton and one of his greatest clients.
Image for Carriage Tours

Carriage Tours

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for Adam Frost: Introduction to Planting

Adam Frost: Introduction to Planting

This Study Day is now fully booked, please have a look at some of our other events.
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Easter Bunny Fun

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Woburn Abbey’s Easter Trail will keep children entertained as they hunt for Easter bunnies dotted throughout the Abbey Gardens.
Image for Spring Pruning Study Day

Spring Pruning Study Day

This session is designed to give you a wide range of pruning skills - you will get hands on with plant material in order to gain confidence in your own garden maintenance.
Image for Spring and Easter Flower Celebration with Jonathan Moseley

Spring and Easter Flower Celebration with Jonathan Moseley

Celebrate the arrival of spring with this masterclass in spring flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
Image for Humphry Repton Study Day

Humphry Repton Study Day

Immerse yourself in the life and work of the last great landscape designer of the 18th century.
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 Carriage Tours

Carriage Tours

and
An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for How to Run a Stately Home: Talk and Lunch

How to Run a Stately Home: Talk and Lunch

Join Simon Pestell, former Butler to The Duke and Duchess and now the Abbey’s Head Housekeeper, to find out ‘How to Run a Stately Home’.
Image for Summer Flowers Sensation with Jonathan Moseley

Summer Flowers Sensation with Jonathan Moseley

Celebrate the wealth of opportunities summer offers for growing and arranging flowers with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
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 Teddy Bear Festival

Teddy Bear Festival

Leading collectors, experts and the top names in the industry will be bringing along a fine selection of rare and famous teddy bears. There will be antique artist and modern bears for you to browse and buy.
Image for VIP Garden Show package Saturday 22nd June

VIP Garden Show package Saturday 22nd June

We invite you to enjoy a very special day out at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show with our exclusive VIP packages.
Image for Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2019

Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2019

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Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey and within 42 acres of Abbey Gardens, "The Gardener’s Garden Show" offers one of the best locations of any show in the UK.
Image for VIP Garden Show package Sunday 23rd June

VIP Garden Show package Sunday 23rd June

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

Carriage Tours

and
An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for How to Run a Stately Home: Talk and Lunch

How to Run a Stately Home: Talk and Lunch

Join Simon Pestell, former Butler to The Duke and Duchess and now the Abbey’s Head Housekeeper, to find out ‘How to Run a Stately Home’.
Image for Open Air Theatre - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Open Air Theatre - A Midsummer Night's Dream

This summer The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, are celebrating their 15th birthday and an amazing 425 years since the original company was created. To celebrate this special anniversary, they are touring one of Shakespeare’s most popular and best-loved comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Image for Bee Walk

Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
Image for Carriage Tours

Carriage Tours

and
An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for Two Centuries of Afternoon Tea at Woburn Abbey

Two Centuries of Afternoon Tea at Woburn Abbey

Join us at the home of afternoon tea for this fascinating illustrated talk, with full afternoon tea included, which covers how tea drinking was first introduced into England, how it was popularised and how afternoon tea became a social institution.
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 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 Carriage Tours

Carriage Tours

and
An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for Two Centuries of Afternoon Tea at Woburn Abbey

Two Centuries of Afternoon Tea at Woburn Abbey

Join us at the home of afternoon tea for this fascinating illustrated talk, with full afternoon tea included, which covers how tea drinking was first introduced into England, how it was popularised and how afternoon tea became a social institution.