Visiting the garden at Lacock Abbey
There have been gardens at Lacock Abbey for nearly 900 years. Each new owner has refashioned the grounds, from the herb and vegetable gardens that supplied medieval nuns to the pleasure grounds of a fashionable 18th-century gentleman. Now the grounds are a place for you to relax and be immersed in the scents, sounds and colours of nature.
The nuns of Lacock Abbey would have grown herbs for medicinal as well as culinary purposes. Centuries later, William Henry Fox Talbot built the greenhouses in the Botanic Garden. During autumn the swamp cyprus, or taxodium, planted by Talbot turns a beautiful red-brown colour before dropping its leaves.
The romantic Woodland Garden is at its best in the spring before the leaf canopy of the trees blocks out the light to spring bulbs and flowers. You’ll find snowdrops, aconites, anemones, daffodils, snakeshead fritillaries and one of the best displays of Crocus vernus in the country. Autumn colour is dotted around with bright yellows from the gingko and wingnut, and shiny copper leaves of the sweet chestnut.
This peaceful spot with its mix of old and new apple trees is a haven for wild flowers in the spring. Choose your spot for a picnic, lie back and listen to the bees.
The Rose Garden
Lady Elizabeth’s Rose Garden is planted with varieties she would have known, such as the ramblers 'Alberic Barbier' and 'François Juranville', and shrub roses 'Alba Maxima', 'Maiden's Blush', 'Penelope' and 'Jacques Cartier'.
Where the Woodland Walk meets the Bide Brook you’ll find the Rockworks, an 18th-century conceit. The structure was built to look like the ruin of a Roman or Greek building, faced with limestone intended to look like volcanic tufa.
The hot south-facing walls of the Abbey are the perfect home for plants from Mediterranean climates, many of which have aromatic foliage, such as lavender, santolina, artemisia, rosemary, thyme, southernwood, Russian sage and myrtle.
When the cloister is open for the season, walk through to the damp north-facing wall where you will find a collection of ferns with their fine foliage.
Stroll through the mown paths of the Parkland, which in the 18th century was part of a fantastic water garden with wide paths and views to and from the Abbey. Only the pond remains. Today the Parkland celebrates Fox Talbot's interest in astronomy with paths and clearings cut to resemble the solar system. In spring make your way through yellow sea of buttercups, giving way to the long grasses of summer, and find the sun sculpture in the centre. During autumn and winter the Parkland can get waterlogged, so it is usually shut to visitors at this time.
What's that plant?
If you spot a plant during your visit that you don't recognise, our garden team are happy to help. Why not send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org?
Be sure to describe where you saw it, what it looked like and include a photo if you can and we will let you know what it is.
Explore the historic streets of Lacock, a quintessential English village with timber-framed cottages and local shops. With its central grid of four streets, Lacock today looks much as it did 200 years ago.
Lacock Abbey is a two pawprint rated place. Discover where you can go with your dog, what facilities are available for them and how to get the most from your visit.
Have an outdoor adventure at Lacock this winter. Christmas comes on the 25 November when you'll find decorated trees in the Courtyard, a North Pole post box, family activity trail and Storytimes with Mother Christmas in the grotto.
The Stables café is ready to welcome you for refreshments, while the High Street Shop stocks a wide range of gifts and souvenirs.
Learn about the history of photography at the Fox Talbot Museum, with a collection spanning photographic developments up to the present day.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.
Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.