Visiting the Abbey and Great Barn

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 during the week

The house is open from 11-4:30 daily. Numbers are limited inside so we can continue to look after our collection items.  Please be prepared to queue outside on busier days.

  • The ground floor is accessible for wheelchairs. 
  • Pushchairs will need to be left at the front door.
  • Face coverings are recommended in enclosed and crowded areas.
  • There is no seating for visitors indoors.

Visiting the Abbey on weekends

The Abbey will be open for tour guided visits only at weekends.

At Visitor Welcome, you will be asked if you would like to join onto one of the tours running throughout the day. There is a maximum of visitors we can have per tour, so you may be offered an alternative time if the tour is full. 

You will only be able to visit the Abbey if you have booked onto one of these tours at Visitor Welcome. 

Please head to the Abbey at least 5 mins before your time slot. 

Please be prepared to queue outside before your tour starts.

The tours are 1hr long and at the following times: 11:00am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 3:00pm

The tour takes you all over the Abbey and over multiple staircases. If you do have any mobility issues, please let Visitor Welcome know. 

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. 

Buckland's Great Hall
Bucklands Great Hall with tiled floor and Tudor table in the middle infront of the fireplace and tudor plaster ceiling
Buckland's Great Hall

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. 

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. 

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

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