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Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury

Earlier this week, my daughter and I spent a wonderful afternoon at the truly beautiful Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. We have visited before, so knew it was the perfect place for my daughter to practice her photography - she has been saving up, and this week bought her first 'grown-up' camera.

 

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

 Abbey House Gardens are open to the public seven days a week from late March until late October, and covers a 5 acre site. These stunning gardens are the result of the vision and hard work of a couple affectionately known as the 'Naked Gardeners', and the gardens hold a number of 'clothes optional' days throughout the year - which is something to bare in mind when planning a visit.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

Malmesbury has been inhabited for centuries, and a religious site is believed to have been established here around 642. Athelstan, Alfred the Great's grandson and the first king of all England, was buried at Malmesbury Abbey in 935, and is believed to now lie somewhere within the Abbey House Gardens.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

Although the Abbey itself still looms impressively over the gardens, it was far bigger in the past, and the garden paths and yew hedging in the formal gardens, have all been laid out and positioned to replicate the exact footprint of the missing parts of the original Abbey. There is even an exposed stone coffin, left in its original location, to be found within one of the flower beds.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

The house (which is a private residence) dates from the 16th century, and is built on the foundations of a 13th century Abbot's house with some evidence of even earlier occupation, including a Saxon arch beneath it.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

As well as its collection of some 10,000 plants, the gardens are also dotted with fantastic sculptures and architectural antiques.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

Because our visit was so early in the season, these stood out beautifully. In the past we have visited much later in the year, when everything is a sea of blooms. All parts of the gardens are stunning, but I believe that the tulip (some 15,00 of them) and rose (in the region of 2000) collections are said to be of particular note.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

The fabulous herb garden is surrounded by a circular walkway over which fruit trees are trained.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

There are mythological statues dotted around the gardens, many of which are very generously endowed - my daughter said she would leave if I took pictures of them, so here is Medusa instead!

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

This is the Laburnum walkway, which I have seen in flower before, and is stunning.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

As well as the formal gardens, there is also a woodland garden, planted alongside the River Avon. Steep paths lead down to it, and it really is the most magical and tranquil place. It is the kid's favourite part of the gardens, and it is easy to see why.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

There are lots of exotic looking trees and plants to be found down here, I imagine it's sheltered position gives it it's own micro-climate.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

This fish sculpture had a little man on the hook of it's fishing rod.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

There is even a secret grotto to be found.

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

We had a wonderful afternoon, practising our photography at the Abbey House Gardens. If you would like to see more photos of our visit, please check out our Instagram account....

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

 

And here is a view of Historic Malmesbury Abbey.

 

Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK are a stunning collection of both formal and riverside gardens. Home to the naked gardeners.

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46 Comments

  • Reply Jenny - Monkey and Mouse

    It looks like a fantastic garden to visit, I can imagine it will be absolutely stunning with all the tulips and then roses out in full bloom too. Although I would probably prefer the woodland garden, I love the wildness rather than the formal when it comes to gardening, maybe that’s why my garden is never very tidy?! So funny that your daughter wouldn’t let you take photos of the well endowed statues! Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x
    Jenny – Monkey and Mouse recently posted…The New Way to Shop Online – With FFOSHOMy Profile

    April 11, 2016 at 11:36 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I love the natural look too, which is good because my garden is a mess, or as I like to call it ‘a wildlife haven’ 🙂

      April 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm
  • Reply Cheryl | TimeToCraft

    Fabulous garden. I can imagine that it is quite a sight when the flowers are in full bloom. Beautiful and so much work put into it. #CountryKids

    April 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It is, and you are right must take a huge amount of work – as well as vision 🙂

      April 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm
  • Reply Chloe

    Popping back in again from #whatevertheweather. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. I still can’t get over the fact there is 10,000 plants. What a mission for that gardener and it’s so stunning too!! Your photos are so beautiful.
    Chloe recently posted…CURIOUS LITTLE EXPLORERS #12My Profile

    April 10, 2016 at 9:35 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I know Chloe, they must work so hard. And they built it from scratch – there are photos in the little cafe area which show the garden as just an area of rough lawn when they bought the property – it really is amazing what they have achieved there 🙂

      April 10, 2016 at 9:45 am
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