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Forde Abbey and Gardens, Chard

(420+ reviews on the web)
Once described as "...the most perfect monastery in England", Forde Abbey is a beacon of elegant antiquity, set within the exquisite countryside of Dorset. Built almost 900 years ago by Cistercian monks, the Abbey still embodies the serenity and philosophy of the order who lived, prayed and farmed here.

Walk in the actual footsteps of the monks as they carried out their daily duties in these medieval surroundings. Experience the wonderful English Gothic setting created by the Prideaux family when they transformed the austere Abbey into a post-Renaissance palace.

From 1141 to the present day, Forde Abbey is a stunning example of history preserved but not petrified, where the Kennard family continues to live and work in an informal style and where visitors will always receive a warm welcome.
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  • Went on a bit of whim after going to pick strawberries up the road, we were fairly lucky in that the house was open due to two coaches of germans being shown around. If I'm honest I think £13 each was...  more »
  • Well kept and attractive gardens and huge fountain. Nice walled gardens and garden shop. Good value catering with good choice. Reasonable prices. House on the dark side and speaking purely personally ...  more »
  • Visited forge today, beautiful gardens, so well kept, friendly staff and great cafe. Staff were very knowledgeable in the house and the house was so warm and welcoming. There was a good selection of h...  more »
  • Beautiful :) visited with my husband and 4 month old daughter. Lots of pram friendly paths to allow us to walk through the grounds, a wide open cafe for easy access and perfectly good baby changing facilities. We bought a year's membership on the way out because we will definitely be going again!
  • Excellent day out for adults who like gardening. Good facilities including the cafe which is reasonably priced. The plant centre has some extremely rare specimens at very good prices cheaper than garden centres.
  • An attractive place to visit in the summer, but £5 to view the gardens only in winter is very steep.
  • Lovely house and Gardens, spectacular fountain in garden plus nice coffee shop restaurant. Enjoyed it so much we stayed all day.
  • Having read the other reviews of this place I must say that I am surprised at how grudging and negative some of them are. Forde Abbey has one of the finest gardens I have ever visited. The garden areas are beautifully designed and maintained and there is a surprise around every corner. The house is very interesting and I agree that more could be offered regarding its history; I also agree that the restaurant/tearoom is overpriced but, there again, I thought the entrance fee for the house and garden was good value for money. The gift shop prices are typically pricey, but not as bad as those of the National Trust. I would definitely return for another visit and I strongly recommend the place.