Visiting the Abbey and Great Barn at Buckland

The Great Hall at Buckland Abbey

As you wander through Buckland Abbey, you'll discover a wealth of fascinating tales, amazing architecture and over eight centuries of history.

Visiting the Abbey

The middle and ground floor of the Abbey is open daily from 12.30-3.30pm. Visits are limited to ensure social distancing and entry to the Abbey is not guaranteed on the day you visit. Please be prepared to queue outside for entry.

  • The ground floor is accessible for wheelchairs. 
  • Buggies will need to be left at the front door.
  • In line with government guidelines you'll be required to wear a face covering in the Abbey. Please bring one with you.
  • There will be no additional seating for visitors.


What will we see in the Abbey?

The original Abbey was converted into a Tudor mansion home by Richard Grenville in 1541. 

As you approach the Abbey you will see evidence of Grenvilles conversion with markings on the wall showing where the south transept of the church once was.

The Great Hall was perhaps the first room that was created and the Tudor floor still remains to this day. The hall displays the flamboyance of the Elizabethan era with stone carvings, tudor wooden panelling and elaborate platered ceilings. 

The Tudor kitchen which is still used today by the volunteers on special event days, shows how a Tudor kitchen would have looked. You will also be able to see the Georgian additions such as the charcoal range. 

The Chapel at Buckland is particularly special as this was discovered by one of Buckland residents, the last Lady Drake to live in the Abbey. During repair work in 1917 the site of the high alter of the monks was uncovered. Visitors will be able to look in and see the focal point for the Cistercian worshippers. 

The Great Hall at Buckland Abbey
The Great Hall at Buckland Abbey
The Great Hall at Buckland Abbey

Buckland's famous faces

Founded in 1278, Buckland Abbey was the last of the Cistercian monasteries to be built in medieval England and Wales. For over 250 years, the monks who farmed the vast estate lived in the peaceful solitude of the Tavy valley. The Dissolution of the Monasteries saw Buckland sold to Sir Roger Grenville, who began to modify the abbey into a house and home, and later it was sold again to privateer Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.

Drake's statue at Buckland Abbey
The Drake statue in the Long gallery at Buckland Abbey
Drake's statue at Buckland Abbey

The Great Barn

The impressive great barn, a mark of the monks' wealth and influence, was used for the storage and winnowing of corn.

Today it is home to a cider press, a reminder of the 27 acres of orchards that once stretched down to the river. 

In line with government guidelines you'll be required to wear a face covering in our inside spaces, including the Great Barn. Please bring one with you.

The great barn at Buckland Abbey
The magnificent great barn at Buckland
The great barn at Buckland Abbey


Can school groups visit?

Currently we are unable to take any school bookings until further notice. Please keep an eye on the website as we cannot wait to have you back here time travelling through history.

Visiting Buckland Abbey: what you need to know

We're looking forward to welcoming you back. If you're planning a visit to Buckland Abbey, read this article to find everything you need to know about booking, travelling here, what's open and what to expect from your visit.