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

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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 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.
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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.
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Bee Walk

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