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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
  • Reply Fiona Cambouropoulos

    This really does look beautiful and well done to your daughter for saving for her first camera. I can still remember the excitement of mine at about the same age. It made me smile your daughter not letting you photograph the statues, my triplets would have been the same. a fascinating history and I hope ‘naked garden’ days are in the warmer summer months! I’d love to see all those roses and tulips, what a magnificent sight they must be. Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…Springtime on the farmMy Profile

    April 9, 2016 at 9:18 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      She did do so well saving for it, and she absolutely loves it -she takes it everywhere now. You’d love the gardens Fiona, they are such a beautiful mix of formal and woodland 🙂

      April 10, 2016 at 9:40 am
  • Reply Cathy (MummyTravels)

    What a beautiful place – and perfect to practise photography too. #countrykids
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Planning a trip to BurmaMy Profile

    April 9, 2016 at 6:03 pm
  • Reply Steph

    Oh wow. This place looks amazing. We only live in West Berkshire, so I don’t think it’s really that far for us to visit, though thank you for the heads up about the ‘clothes optional’ days, I’m not sure what I’d say to the kids! Haha. Though I’m sure they have a fab time! And what a fabulous place for your daughter to practice her photography too. I need to practice mine, and I think this place would be super for it! Steph xxx
    Steph recently posted…Another Weekend, Another WalkMy Profile

    April 9, 2016 at 6:02 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Malmesbury is a lovely little town to visit, Steph – they have a little free museum, and the abbey is spectacular too 🙂

      April 10, 2016 at 9:34 am
  • Reply Lauren (The Helpful Hiker)

    What a fantastic place to explore. I hope your daughter had fun with her new camera, it looks like the perfect place to practice photography. I love looking round interesting gardens, will have to check out Abbey House when we’re in the area. #whatevertheweather

    April 7, 2016 at 10:00 am
  • Reply Let kids be kids

    What a beautiful garden and a fantastic place to practice photography. That’s not too far from us, we should check it out some time. #Whatevertheweather

    April 6, 2016 at 8:48 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It is really lovely there, and Malmesbury itself is really sweet too – definitely worth a visit 🙂

      April 6, 2016 at 10:04 pm
  • Reply Stephanie

    A beautiful place to visit, I love all the sculpture that are dotted around. A perfect place for your daughter to take some photos.
    Stephanie recently posted…Fairy Tree Walk Burridge HampshireMy Profile

    April 6, 2016 at 11:56 am
  • Reply Sarah

    Wow, this looks like a gorgeous place to visit! Sarah #Whatecertheweather
    Sarah recently posted…Woodland adventuresMy Profile

    April 6, 2016 at 10:54 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It’s beautiful, Sarah – really inspiring. It even got me digging the garden for a few minutes, although mine still doesn’t look like theirs 🙂

      April 6, 2016 at 10:10 pm
  • Reply Becky @lakessinglemum

    what a beautiful garden to explore and photograph. My daughter loves taking photos too
    Becky @lakessinglemum recently posted…#CountryKids at Wray Castle and Claife Viewing StationMy Profile

    April 6, 2016 at 10:14 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Its a great thing for kids to be interested in, something that could become a life long passion 🙂 Although shes not impressed that she shes not allowed an instagram account!

      April 6, 2016 at 10:12 pm
  • Reply Jolene monaghan

    wow such a fab place.. looking through your photos .. its great you got the time to do a bit of extra exploring

    April 5, 2016 at 9:14 am
  • Reply Kathryn

    Gorgeous! I would love to visit there. The talents of the gardeners blow me away. I have a knack for ruining things I try to prune. It makes me appreciate things like those gardens even more.
    Kathryn recently posted…The Magical 2 Ingredient No Scrub Pan CleanerMy Profile

    April 4, 2016 at 3:03 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Isn’t it beautiful Kathryn, and you are right, gardening is a real art, and gardeners have to have a huge knowledge base to produce something like that 🙂

      April 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm
  • Reply Rhian Westbury

    Such a beautiful area and she did really well with her photos. I need to get out more and do some photography practice x

    April 3, 2016 at 10:30 pm
  • Reply Harriet from Toby & Roo

    Oh my goodness this looks absolutely astounding! I LOVE the gardens and walk ways so so beautiful. It really looks like the type of place I would need to take the kids 🙂 H x
    Harriet from Toby & Roo recently posted…The perfect pizza dough recipe for family pizza nights!My Profile

    April 3, 2016 at 8:48 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It really is wonderful, and the kids love it there – they love all the ‘secret’ rooms the garden is laid out in it’s a great place to explore!

      April 3, 2016 at 10:13 pm
  • Reply Chloe

    I love the mythological statues and that bridge, and the waterfall and the herb gardens! It looks so, so stunning. I love places like this where you can just take your time and peacefully explore. Plus it’s so amazing to come back in all the different seasons and see how the landscape has changed. It must have been nice to see it from a different perspective this time around, before everything is in bloom. Your pictures are so lovely. xx
    Chloe recently posted…CURIOUS LITTLE EXPLORERS #11My Profile

    April 3, 2016 at 2:49 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Chloe, it really is beautiful – I’d love to visit really early in the morning, must be really magical then 🙂

      April 3, 2016 at 10:18 pm
  • Reply Sarah @theparentingtrials

    Wow what a stunning place to visit 🙂 be great opportunity to get some photos as it looks like you did.. xx

    April 3, 2016 at 12:39 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      We took so many photos, so we are putting some of them on Instagram too. It was really fun to both take photos, with no boys to moan about how long we were taking 🙂

      April 3, 2016 at 10:21 pm
  • Reply Yvonne

    This place looks like a great day out. I love the photo that looks a bit like a maze 🙂 x

    April 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I’d love a garden that looks like this – but I guess there’s a reason why mine doesn’t lol – it must be an amazing amount of work 🙂

      April 3, 2016 at 10:22 pm
  • Reply John Milnes

    These photographs are brilliant and breathtaking. I love historic places, historic houses and gardens. , I so need to put Abbey House Garden on my list of places to visit for this year at least.

    Thanks for Sharing

    John M
    John Milnes recently posted…My Favourite Top Three AuthorsMy Profile

    April 2, 2016 at 11:00 pm
  • Reply Someone's Mum (Danielle)

    Looks like a lovely place and you got some really great shots. Love the head with the snakes. Don’t know how I feel about the naked days though! :O

    April 2, 2016 at 8:50 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Don’t think I’ll be attending any of the ‘clothes optional’ days either – but each to their own 🙂

      April 3, 2016 at 10:25 pm
  • Reply Gina

    This is so beautiful! I hope that I can go see it someday. Even without all of the blooms, the hedges and greenery are striking. It looks like such an interesting and beautiful place. I’ll have to put it on my travel bucket list. 🙂

    April 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Oh I hope you do come over sometime Gina – if you do, we’ll take you sightseeing !

      April 3, 2016 at 10:27 pm
  • Reply Kat

    Oh wow, absolutely beautiful pictures! Some of the statues around these places can look so creepy!

    April 2, 2016 at 11:32 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I love statues, but you are right, they can look creepy. Mannequins are the same!

      April 3, 2016 at 10:31 pm
  • Reply sherry

    Wow! This place is gorgeous, and your photos are too! I love that wooden bridge. I wish we had places that beautiful here. I enjoyed this post, and I love your blog.

    April 1, 2016 at 10:27 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thank you so much Sherry, the bridge is beautiful isn’t it – it has a real jungle feel with the bamboo by it 🙂

      April 3, 2016 at 10:32 pm

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