Set against the stunning backdrop of the Dartmoor National Park, Buckfast Abbey is a working Benedictine monastery.
The original medieval buildings were destroyed when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, but the foundation was re-established by a group of monks in the 19th Century, who lovingly re-built the church stone by stone.
Conveniently situated just off the A38 Devon Expressway, the Abbey is easily reached from Plymouth, Exeter and surrounding areas. Parking and entry are free.
The Millennium year (1018-2018) attracted national publicity, with the BBC filming two episodes of Antiques Roadshow and broadcasting Midnight Mass live to the nation from the spectacular Abbey Church.
The inter-active Monastic Way exhibition will run for the second year from April 2019. Featuring stunning special effects and wide-screen film, the display provides a fascinating insight into the history and current life of religious houses throughout Europe.
The Abbey’s gift shop sells a range of items made by monks and nuns in the UK and further afield, while the bookshop has publications for adults and children. Buckfast Abbey’s innovative Education Department runs family craft and story-telling events.
Buckfast Abbey’s gardens are a haven of tranquility, complementing both the abbey and its natural surroundings. Modelled largely on lines popular in the Middle Ages, the gardens have been planted simplistically and boldly. With large areas of lawn, there are three self-contained areas: The Lavender Garden, The Sensory Garden and The Physic Garden, each alluding to monastic horticulture through the centuries. A recent addition is the RHS award-winning Millennium Garden.
Garden events and workshops run throughout the year – and the hugely-popular Garden Fayre in June attracts thousands of visitors. Buckfast Abbey’s head gardener, Aaron Southgate, regularly appears on radio and is happy to arrange garden tours for interested groups.
Music is an important part in the life and worship of Buckfast Abbey: The monks celebrate the Divine Office and Mass together daily in the Abbey Church. Many of these services are open to the public.
The Abbey Church also hosts a range of concerts and recitals. The Abbey Choir has an outstanding reputation and the first choristers have recently been recruited. The stunning acoustics of the church have been further enhanced by the installation of a Ruffatti organ, made in Italy.
The Grange Restaurant commands panoramic views of the abbey and its grounds. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and snacks and plays host to an annual Food and Craft Fair along with pre-concert dinners on selected dates. Coach visits are welcome all year round (closing only on Christmas Day), offering friendly hospitality to all who visit. Booking ahead really helps to ensure your requirements are attended to well, enabling your party to relax and enjoy their visit.
For longer stays Northgate House Hotel offers perfect seclusion and is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding countryside. It has a choice of 33 comfortable rooms, making it a good choice for business travellers and visitors to the Abbey Church, along with groups taking part in activity holidays, such as canoeing, rambling and fishing.
In addition, there are self-catering houses offering flexibility to families and larger groups, with the option to take evening meals at Northgate House.
Buckfast Abbey has events taking place throughout the year including Garden and Food and Craft Fairs, find out more www.buckfast.org.uk/whats-on
Free Entry & Free Parking • Abbey Church • Working Monastery • Gardens • Shops • Restaurant • Hotel & Conference Centre • Assistance dogs only • www.buckfast.org.uk • tel: 01364 645500