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“Simply Beautiful”

Hartland Abbey & Gardens
Ranked #9 of 38 things to do in Bideford
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Only one mile from Hartland Quay, Hartland Abbey lies across a narrow, sheltered valley which winds its way to the spectacular Atlantic Coast. Within a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ visitors may wander around the beautiful gardens and grounds which lead to the rocky cove. Peacocks and guinea fowl roam at will, whilst donkeys and Black Welsh Mountain sheep graze the Old Deer Park.Hartland Abbey is the lived-in family home of the Stucley family. Although it was built in the 12th century, remaining as a monastery for 400 years and passing through the female line three times, it has never been sold. Consequently, it contains collections of pictures, furniture and porcelain which have accumulated over many generations. The story of the Abbey mirrors local and national history at every turn. It has a friendly and lived-in atmosphere, so often absent in many of our nation’s historic houses, a point continually remarked upon by those who visit us.
Reviewed 22 April 2014

We visited on Easter Bank Holiday Monday and what a wonderful surprise it was. Having lived in North Devon for over 18 months and having promised ourselves a visit what a wonderful day it turned out to be. The sun shone and the flowers in the garden were beautiful with carpets of Bluebells and Rhododendrons in full flower - it was completely magical and the walled garden was exquisite - it looks and feels like a Chelsea Flower Show installation - just glorious and I could have sat there all day. Everything from the planting to the garden ironmongery and Victorian greenhouses were just wonderful. On our walk around the grounds, we met the owner (Lady Stucley) who, like the gardens, was elegant, charming and welcoming. Indeed this is no stuffy National Trust property but a real home where people live and you can see it by the wellies and jackets hanging on pegs behind the scullery door on the way to the tea room - it is all part of the charm of the place. The tea room staff were lovely and the cakes and food delicious. My husband is both gluten and lactose intolerant and they had quite a selection of both food and cake that he could eat so his packed lunch (which I always take with us) remained uneaten. It was very reasonably priced and everything was homemade and delicious - their coffee and walnut cake was so moist and I noted that the coleslaw that I had with my main mean was also homemade. We went into the house which was interesting not least because the living room sported not only an extremely impressive library but a drinks cabinet and modern TV as it really is their living room - just added to the pleasure. Lots of history in the house and information about this ancient Devon family and at times I felt like I was trespassing because this really is a family home. We took a walk down the Bluebell and Primrose filled lane through the woods to the beach and the cottage featured in a BBC production of 'Sense & Sensibility' and it was so picturesque and quiet - a simply wonderful day and we shall be back again and again and again...

Thank nnkennaugh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (229)
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173 - 177 of 229 reviews

Reviewed 20 April 2014

We visited the Abbey on a wonderfully sunny day. The guides who showed us around were very knowledgeable and full of anecdotes relating to the Abbey. The history of the Abbey and the link with Poltimore house was fascinating.

We later wandered around the gardens and particularly enjoyed the walled gardens with their wonderful mix of vegetables and flowers.

A lovely day out and one which I would like to repeat to see the gardens in the autumn.

Thank Noone66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2014 via mobile

Hartland abbey was a lovely peaceful retreat.You can walk through the fields to the beach take a walk through the gardens and have a break with a cream tea. The house inside was lovely and the staff were beyond excellent. They were very helpful and informative and we also learnt alot of history. The tea room had all hand made cakes served by wonderful staff at reasonable prices.

Thank Julie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2014

The Abbey grounds have abundant wild flowers near to a path
leading down to the sea. This is a bracing walk and the Abbey
is opened specially when particular plants are in season.

One does need to choose which route to take through the
grounds - some are muddier than others. However, the
coastal sward above the beach is a reward as a destination.

There is no direct public transport to the Abbey gates - which
means a walk from the village where 'buses to/from Bude and
Barnstaple operate until just after 18.00 (no evenings and no
service on Sundays since 2012 cuts).

My visit was earlier than April 2013 but that is the earliest
month that the system allows to be chosen.

Thank AlanR555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2013

Went there for the antiques roadshow( BBC). Loverly old place and the grounds are superb, not spruced up within an inch of its natural. The history of the house is very interesting, but then I love all that stuff!

Thank Hazel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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