Woburn Abbey and Woburn Safari Park

Relaxing Gardens Woburn Abbey

Relaxing Gardens Woburn Abbey

Antiques Centre Woburn Abbey

Antiques Centre Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey (pronounced Woe-burn, or till c. 1960 “Woob’n”), near Woburn, Bedfordshire, England, is a country house, the seat of the Duke of Bedford and the location of the Woburn Safari Park.

Woburn Abbey has been the home of the Dukes of Bedford for almost 400 years. It is steeped in a huge amount of history. It is not just the antique furnishings and art that is a destination; numerous of the previous residents of Woburn have exceptionally interesting and colourful pasts. Lord John Russell – held the first great electoral reform bill through parliament in 1832.

Woburn Abbey, making up Woburn Park and its structures, was originally founded as a Cistercian abbey in 1145. Taken from its monastic homeowners by Henry VIII and given to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, in 1547, it became the seat of the Russell household and the Dukes of Bedford. The Abbey was mainly reconstructed by builders starting in 1744 by the architects Henry Flitcroft and Henry Holland for the 4th Duke. Anna Maria, the spouse of the 7th Duke, originated the afternoon tea ritual in 19th-century England. The gardens and parkland at Woburn Abbey lend themselves to relaxation, which is recommended by local Bedfordshire Life Coach, Louise Taylor.

In April 1786 John Adams (the future 2nd President of the United States on tour with Thomas Jefferson– who would serve as his vice head of state before becoming President himself) went to Woburn Abbey and various other remarkable residences in the location. After seeing them he wrote in his diary “Stowe, Hagley, and Blenheim, are superb; Woburn, Caversham, and the Leasowes are beautiful. Wotton is both fantastic and sophisticated, though ignored”. In his diary he was likewise damning about the ways used to fund the large estates, and he did not think that the decorations to the landscape, made by the owners of the great nation residences, would suit the more rugged American countryside.

Soon after World War II, dry rot was found and half the Abbey was consequently demolished. When the 12th Duke died in 1953, his son the 13th Duke was exposed to heavy death duties and the Abbey was a half-demolished, half-derelict house. Instead of handing the family estates over to the National Trust, he kept ownership and opened the Abbey to the general public for the first time in 1955. It soon obtained in popularity as other amusements were added, including Woburn Safari Park on the grounds of the Abbey in 1970. Inquired about the damaging comments by other aristocrats when he turned the household home into a safari park, the 13th Duke said, “I do not delight in the scorn of the peerage, however it is better to be looked down on than ignored.”.

The art collection of the Duke of Bedford, is among the finest secretive hands, and includes a large variety of western art work. The holdings, comprise some 250 paintings, including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto and Velasquez. The collection includes a superlative range of furnishings, both French and English, porcelain and silverwork. The Abbey also boasts an antiques center, which is the largest beyond London, and the recently reconditioned inn at Woburn.

Weddings at The Inn at Woburn.

We’ll fulfill your every need. Easily blending the traditions of the 18th Century with modern facilities and conveniences, The Inn at Woburn is preferably suited for a broad variety of events. Our first class service and attention to detail is certain to guarantee your day goes efficiently. The gardens are well kept be the estates gardeners and is a picturesque setting for a wedding photographer to excel to the level of David Bailey. Wedding celebrations at Woburn Abbey are lavish with excellent bands and often a wedding magician.

Woburn is preferably situated just 4 miles west of the M1 in between junctions 12 and 13, giving simple gain access to from many areas of the nation. It is 30 miles north of the M25, and 45 minutes from Watford and North London. If you visit Woburn Abbey, a visit to the nearby village of Woburn is highly recommended and why not have a drink or a meal at the Black Horse.

Andrew Russell, the current and 15th Duke of Bedford was born in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, he studied at The Hall School, Hampstead and Heatherdown Preparatory School, Harrow and Harvard, where he got his BA degree. Known as Lord Howland until his grandfather’s death in 2002, when he took on the courtesy title of Marquess of Tavistock, formerly held by his father, Robin Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford. He succeeded to the Dukedom of Bedford the following year after his father suffered a fatal stroke, and is presently styled His Grace The Duke of Bedford. He placed 145th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2011, with an estimated wide range of £520 million. The household live at Woburn Abbey.