Historic Houses' members visit free. Interested in joining? Find out more.


Forde Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery dating back to the early 12th century.

It was converted into a palatial family home during the mid 17th century. The house has exquisitely ornate plaster ceilings throughout the state rooms, together with collection of tapestries woven from cartoons drawn by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel, it is a unique family house.

Throughout the 20th century the 30 acres of gardens that surround this unique house have been transformed by the present owners. The gardens are now a diverse and breathtaking landscape fit for the house that they surround, from the productive Kitchen Garden, to the Arboretum, Rock Garden, Herbaceous Borders, Bog Garden, and Woodland Garden.

There is always something of interest for the visitor whatever the time of year.


Gardens: every day, year round, 10am to 6pm (last admission 4.30pm).

House: April to October, Tuesday to Friday, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, noon to 4pm.


Find Us
Find us

4 miles South East of Chard, Somerset.

Train to Crewkerne and then bus or taxi for last 7 miles.


Car park on site

  • Free


Historic Houses members visit for free on normal open days.

Gardens only: £10

House and Gardens: £13

  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
  • Access statement available
  • Accessible parking
  • Guide dogs welcome
Group Visits
Group Visits

Groups and coaches are always welcome at Forde Abbey, where the house, gardens, tearoom, pottery exhibition, plant centre and gift shop provide activities enough for a full day out.

Special rates are available for groups of 10 people or more and it is also possible to arrange for one of our experienced guides to take you around the house.

The make the tours as informative and comfortable as possible they are conducted during hours when the house is not open to other visitors.

Find out more.

A word from the owner

The house is very much lived in, with the family putting on all events as well as doing much of the gardening. You will almost always see members of the family onsite if you visit. We hope you enjoy your visit.

Things to See

Fun Facts

In the 13th century Forde was one of the most learned Monasteries in the country.

Its first lay owner entertained the Duke of Monmouth as he planned his rebellion and ended up in the Tower of London.

Jeremy Bentham also rented the house for a period during the 19th century, and did much of his writing here.

Upcoming events

20 - 31 Oct 2018

Halloween Half Term

As the days get shorter and the nights get darker, all sorts of things come out of the wood work for Halloween half term at Forde Abbey.

Join us for a spine-tingling week of Halloween fun in the grounds of this 900 year old Abbey. Dare to explore our haunted trail, try your hand at pumpkin rolling and take part in all manner of spooky happenings that are sure to get your pulse racing.

It’s a beautiful time of year to explore the gardens and we’ll have all sorts of ghoulish bites on the menu in the tearooms to fuel you on your way.

Normal admission prices apply. Find out more. 


Celebrations at Forde Abbey are truly memorable occasions.

The Abbey was founded in 1141 as a Cistercian monastery and is today one of England's most outstanding Stately Homes.

Situated in 30 acres of award-winning gardens, it is a magnificent setting for weddings and receptions and offers abundant opportunities for spectacular photographs, with backdrops of the house, the gardens, the Centenary Fountain and the Ionic Temple.

Due to the monastic history of the building, and the sympathetic manner in which it has been converted into a family home, the majestic features of the rooms on offer to bridal parties are unequalled in any other building in England.

They combine to provide a venue that offers romance, elegance, grandeur and beauty.


  • Suppliers list
  • Guest parking
  • Accessible parking

Thank you for providing such a stunning venue for our wedding reception. It was absolutely wonderful for our family and friends, many of whom came from different parts of the country, to be able to enjoy the beautiful house and gardens with a glass of champagne. Thank you again to all at Forde Abbey for all your help and for allowing us to personalise your wonderful place for the day.

Filming Opportunities

We welcome requests for filming. 

12th century Monastery, transformed into a family home in th e17th century, also 30 acres of informal gardens as well as farmland, cottages and farmsteads around the estate.