Abbey House Gardens
Where the Cotswold meets the West Country, featured on many TV programmes this truly spectacular 5 acre garden beside the 12th century Abbey Church in the centre of Medieval Malmesbury and straddling the River Avon has brought praise from around the world.
In 1994, Abbey House was bought by Ian and Barbara Pollard, who had previously owned and run Hazel Manor another mansion near Box in Wiltshire. They set about transforming the 5 acres (20,000 m2), and opened the gardens to the public in 1996.
As well as the gardens, the Pollards also became known as 'The Naked Gardeners'. Both Ian and Barbara, particularly Ian, spoke freely of their love of naturism, and were often featured in newspapers and magazines pictured naked among the foliage of Abbey House.
Featuring formal knot gardens, spring bulbs, tulips (third of a million), hostas, laburnum tunnel, colonnade walk, roses (largest collection in the UK), japanese maples, fruit trees, double herbaceous borders, irises, alstroemerias, herb garden, monastic fish ponds. Woodland and riverside walks with wildlife from water voles, the occasional otter, goldcrests, longtailed tits, treecreepers, kingfishers, woodpeckers to sparrow hawks, buzzards and swans.
The GardenerIan & Barbara bought Abbey House in 1994 to make it their home for their family of three children and in the autumn of 1996 decided to create a garden that might attract visitors from around the world to the historic town of Malmesbury.
Ian formerly enjoyed a career in property development. Some of his most notable work is visible in London; buildings such as the Marco Polo building opposite Battersea Park by Chelsea Bridge and the Sainsbury Homebase building in Kensington.
Barbara is a self confessed ‘Jack of all Trades’ listing teaching, fashion modelling, promotional, sales and marketing work on her C.V.
Both enjoy the decorative arts in all its forms and whilst Barbara grew up in a garden with a small holding Ian made his first forays into horticulture as an adult once he owned a property with land on the east side of the country.
Please climb Abbey steps (60) to access the gardens entrance or arrange to be dropped at The Market Cross in the town centre (2 minute level walk to the admission gates). There is a short stay car park in the town centre but parking is limited to 2 hours, is more expensive and often full.
Light lunches including: Sandwiches, Paninis, Jackets and Seasonal Soups.
We offer a range of Teas – from builders to Earl Grey Coffee – Latte, Cappuccino, Mocha and Standard Hot Chocolate - fair trade Juices – orange, apple, mango, pineapple Squashes: - orange, blackcurrant, orange & peach, summer-fruits, orange & mango apple,pear & grape juice when in season made from our own fruit, pasteurised and bottled locally. Ice cream – from local Marshfield Farm. Biscuits and cakes - To soak it up we provide locally made biscuits and cakes.
Please ask for the wheelchair plan available at our admissions kiosk when you come in.
Then view our local accommodation information.
To arrange an appointment, please call Sophie on 01666 822782
Admission to the gardens on a Clothes Optional Day does not require a visitor to be without their clothes. The opportunity is offered to anyone who so wishes to spend their time within the garden boundaries without their clothes. We are not a club requiring membership, do not have club facilities and offer simply the opportunity to visit the gardens without clothes and without comment.