Forde Abbey

Forde Abbey, Somerset, UK. Autumn garden.
Forde Abbey

Forde Abbey is a treasure in an area already known for its outstanding natural beauty. Almost 900 years of history is encapsulated in this elegant former Cistercian monastery and its 30 acres of award-winning gardens. The last abbot re-modelled the abbey, and further developments by Edmund Prideaux transformed the house into the magnificent private residence it is today, leading Pevsner to include it as one of the Hundred Best Buildings of England. However, Forde Abbey is first and foremost a family home, offering a warm friendly welcome to our visitors.

The cascade of lakes and ponds provide a wonderful setting for the Centenary Fountain, the highest-powered fountain in England. The garden is a delight throughout the year with naturalised wildflower meadows, topiary-lined vistas, and meandering pathways. Spring starts with a display of snowdrops followed by acres of Crocus in March. April and early May showcase 50,000 tulips that are patiently planted for a month in winter. The Bog garden and the Woodland garden are at their peak in early summer and then a month of sweet pea celebration with every colour combination on display. There is an explosion of colour in the gardens from Summer to the end of Autumn.

The season comes to an end with our extravagant display of produce from our Kitchen garden and a harmonious display of Autumn colours. Please see our website for all year-round events, including our very popular Spring and Autumn Plant & Gardening Fairs, Easter Trail, a Tapestry of Spring bulbs, seasonal workshops, and outdoor theatre events during the Summer months along with our music concerts in the Great Hall.

The fruits of the garden and farm can be sampled in the coffee shop with a wide selection of delicious homemade light bites, soups and cakes.

A gift shop, specialist plant centre and pottery exhibition add to a complete day out.

Fact File

Opening times: Gardens open 1st March – 31st October, daily from 10:30am – 5:00pm (last admission 4pm).
House open 1st April to 31st October, 12 noon - 4pm (last admission 3:30pm) on Tuesday - Friday, Sundays & Bank Holiday Mondays.
Admission Rates: Please see website for further details.
Groups Rates: Minimum group size 10 for group rate.
Facilities: Gift Shop, Plant Nursery, Coffee Shop and Pottery exhibition.
Disabled Access: Yes. (House other than Great Hall not suitable for wheelchairs) Loo and parking for disabled on site.
Battery Car on loan, booking necessary. To book battery car please ring 01460 221699.
Tours: Tours for pre-arranged groups only.
Coach Parking: Yes
Length of Visit: Approximately 3 hours
Booking Contact: Clare, Forde Abbey, Chard, TA20 4LU
Telephone: 01460 220231
Location: Signposted from A30 Chard to Crewkerne & from A358 Chard to Axminster.
Location is 4 miles southeast of Chard.

Updated: February 2024