Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens // Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
Photo: © Donar Reiskoffer / CC BY-SA 3.0

Originally founded in 1765 as a kitchen garden, the site now occupies 20 acres and is stocked with a range of exotic plants many of which were newly-discovered species at the time

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens were established in 1765 by the Countess of Ilchester, as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. Nearly two hundred and fifty years later Alan Titchmarsh described it as 'one of the finest gardens I have ever visited'.

The twenty-acre garden occupies a wooded valley that leads down to Chesil Beach. The sheltered valley is a micro-climate, allowing a profusion of rare and exotic plants from across the globe, many of them collected in person by the descendents of the Countess.

The garden was badly damaged by the great storm of 1990 and a major restoration project is still underway. Rare specimens have been replaced with younger plants and many new and unusual species have been added.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens offer a splendid mix of formal and informal spaces, walled gardens and woodland walks, from a charming Victorian kitchen garden to world-famous Camelia and Magnolia groves.

The garden is open all year round, and floodlit in October, with Hallowe'en a major event. There is a gift shop and plant centre. The Colonial restaurant is a fully-licensed wedding venue.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens can be visited on an 'Abbotsbury passport' which allows entry to the swannery, gardens and children's farm.

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