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The first thing that you encounter as you drive up to Woburn Abbey are the beautiful grounds and 3,000 acre deer park. In fact, it's actually a 2 mile drive from the ticket booth to the entrance to Woburn Abbey. Woburn Abbey has been home to the Dukes of Bedford for over 300 years and is currently occupied by the 15th Duke and his family. It is located in the small town of Woburn in Bedfordshire and is located next to Woburn Abbey Safari Park which is another great tourist attraction in the area. Woburn Abbey itself is a beautiful stately home which is definitely worth a visit in my opinion. The deer and gorgeous and the grounds home literally hundreds of deer. They are beautiful creatures who are just happy to wander around and sit under the vast number of trees on the estate. THey will not come close to the road when you drive past so you can't get that up close to them but the speed limit through the grounds is very low as 7 deer have been killed in the park so far this year with 13 killed last year. (This is shown on a sign as you enter the grounds to encourage you to drive slowly as to not kill any of the beautiful animals.) According to the leaflet that you are given when you buy your entry ticket the deer park is home to ten species of deer, the Red Deer and the Fallow Deer which are native to Britain and eight other species which originally came from Asia. The largest herd of Pere David's Deer in the UK can be seen at Woburn. The species is originally from China and was saved from extinction in the 1880's by the 11th Duke of Bedford who brought the last remaining animals to Woburn. Entry to the house and the gardens of Woburn Abbey was £13 for adults, £11.50 for seniors and £6 for children although there are family packages and also savings if you buy online at http://www.woburn.co.uk/abbey. The house is open at different times during the year so I definitely recommend a visit to their website before you plan your visit. Although a tour of the Abbey covers three floors it is not as big as some stately homes and so you probably need 2 hours of less to feel like you have seen the place well. As I have mentioned above the 15th Duke still lives here with his wife and two small children so a lot of the parts of the house and closed off and private. There are lots of works of art to been seen here including works by Gainsborough and Van Dyck. There is also the room in which Queen Victoria stayed in when she made visits to the Abbey. I found the most interesting part of the house was the crypt/vault which was downstairs and housed a great collection of silver, gold and porcelain. The gold was unbelieveable and so stunning and ornate and well worth seeing. You can purchase an audio tour of the Abbey which you get when you buy a guidebook for $5 but we did not do this so I cannot comment on how good it is although there are signs in each room which correspond to the audio tour to tell you which section to listen to so it looks quite easy to utilise. The gardens of Woburn Abbey are extremely impressive too. They are beautifully kept and include a trail where you can learn about all the different things you are seeing. The grounds around the Abbey are quite impressive and include a lot of things to do so you can really spend a whole day here enjoying the house and the surrounding area. There is a Duchess' Tea Room where you can buy a cup of tea and cake as well as a gift shop and an antiques centre. Interesting, they offer to hold weddings here at Woburn Abbey so if you are looking for a breathtaking venue then this is definitely the place to go. All in all, a beautiful house and a great day out.
Woburn Abbey has been the home of the Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years. As well as being set in 3,000 acres of beautiful grounds, the great house itself is full of unique history and is a remarkable record of 400 years of English history. This includes the story that led the 14th Duke to creating a charity called the Tavistock Trust.