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.
Image for Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

This event is now sold out - Jonathan Moseley will be at Woburn for 3 workshops in 2019.
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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? While we’re closed for the winter, our housekeeping team invites you behind-the-scenes for an exclusive glimpse into what it takes to complete Woburn Abbey’s annual ‘deep-clean’
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Carriage Tours - April

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

Find out how to approach designing the beds and borders in your garden. Whether you are starting from scratch or want to refresh existing areas of your garden, Adam will share the essential things you need to know to get started.
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 Carriage Tours  - May

Carriage Tours - May

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 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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Early Bird rates can now be booked on-line for the Gardeners' Garden Show.
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 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 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 Carriage Tours  - July

Carriage Tours - July

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for Carriage Tours  - August

Carriage Tours - August

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.