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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VIP Carriage Tour and Alfresco Dining Experience

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Celebrate your special occasion with a Woburn Carriage Tour and your choice of brunch, lunch or Duchess Anna Maria Afternoon Tea in the Park.
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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.
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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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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.
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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’.
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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.
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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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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 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.
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Bat Walk

Take an exclusive evening tour and learn all about the species of bats living in Woburn Abbey Gardens. Then, using bat detectors, you will learn to listen and identify the echo location signals bats use to navigate and hunt.
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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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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2020

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.