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Gold Award Winner North Devon Journal ‘Best Country House and/or Garden in North Devon’

Please note: From Monday 17th June until they reopen on Sunday 14th July the main reception rooms will be closed for filming the final series of ‘Malory Towers’. All the exhibitions and displays, the Gift Shop and, of course, the Tea Rooms will be open as usual and included in your ‘Gardens’ ticket. The gardens and walks will be open as usual and looking wonderful at this time of year! We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. 

*Anyone who watched the fascinating Channel 5 – Stonehenge – The Discovery with Dan Snow on Easter Sunday will be aware of William Stukeley who discovered in the 18thC much of what we know today. Our exhibition ‘William Stukeley – Saviour of Stonehenge’ is an in depth insight into this extraordinary ancestor.

Welcome to our Hartland Abbey website. We hope you will find the information you need before you visit or just generally see what is going on! Every penny spent by visitors, after the dreaded VAT,  goes into the maintenance of the house and gardens and to employing the wonderful people so vital to its upkeep and to those who look after our visitors. We hope you will visit us in this special, remote corner of North Devon overlooking Lundy Island! Don’t miss a visit to stunning Hartland Quay too, just a mile away.

For fans of Enid Blyton’s ‘Malory Towers’ Hartland Abbey IS ‘Malory Towers’ with Series 5 just released in June 2024 on BBC IPlayer and CBBC. Followers of Darrell Rivers and Gwendoline Mary Lacey and their friends will be able to see them in the familiar surroundings of the Abbey and gardens again.

Hartland Abbey is the cherished home of the Stucley family with treasures and memorabilia collected over many generations. Visitors can wander through the house at will or, for groups, conducted tours are available by prior booking.

Built in the 12thC, Hartland Abbey survived as a monastery longer than any other in the country. In 1539 Henry VIII gifted the Abbey to the Keeper of his Wine Cellar whose descendants still live here today. Hartland Abbey is probably the most historically important ancestral home in North Devon containing much of national interest, including architecture and decoration from the Mediaeval, Queen Anne, Georgian, Regency and Victorian periods, paintings, furniture, Chinese artefacts and porcelain collected over many generations.

The beautiful 18thC Walled and Woodland gardens, the walks and the parkland provide visitors with extensive grounds through which to wander and enjoy the stunning valley leading down to the rugged Atlantic cove and cottage at Blackpool Mill, the location for many notable films.  Wildflowers proliferate – from primroses and violets, wild garlic, bluebells and foxgloves in spring. Dogs are welcome on leads in the gardens and walks.

The Old Kitchens Tea Room provide a delicious, home made and varied menu of light lunches and cream teas, scrumptious cakes, baguettes, sandwiches, speciality teas and coffees. Access to the Tea Rooms, open from 11am, is only with a valid entry ticket to the gardens and grounds.

We welcome coach parties, preferably with prior booking.

The BBC adaptation by Andrew Davies of Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’, German ZDF’s production of the Rosamund Pilcher novel, ‘The Shell Seekers’ (Die Muschelsucher), the BBC drama, John Le Carre’s ‘The Night Manager’ with Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'(2017) with Lily James, BBC’s ‘Gold Digger'(2018) and The Game of Thrones – House of The Dragon (2021)  were all filmed on the estate.  In 2023 scenes from ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Wynn were filmed on the coastal footpath, starring Jason Isaacs and Gillian Anderson.  A scene from ‘Speak No Evil’ was filmed with us in Oct 2023.  BBC Antiques Roadshow was filmed here in 2012. In 2019 ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier starring Lily James and Kristen Scott Thomas was filmed on the estate at Hartland Quay and in September WildBrain and King Bert Productions filmed Series 1 of Enid Blyton’s ‘Malory Towers’ for CBBC inside and around Hartland Abbey. In 2020 scenes for ‘Brittania’ were filmed near Hartland Quay.

Enid Blyton’s ‘Malory Towers’ was first filmed here in autumn 2019. Lots of scenes were filmed inside and outside the Abbey. We have so enjoyed seeing all the children on screen who we have come to know so well.  In spring 2021, after a break during the pandemic, production, cast and crew came back under very challenging covid restrictions to film Series 2 and 3 for CBBC and iPlayer, followed by Series 4 (2022) and Series 5 (2023). We thank King Bert and Wild Brain productions for bringing Malory Towers to Hartland Abbey.  Behind the scenes images are on display in our Film Exhibition, open from 11am with a Gardens ticket.

Children love the freedom to explore the open spaces and winding paths and enjoy meeting our donkeys Becky and Snowdrop, the wandering peacocks and our flock of black Welsh Mountain sheep. The Quiz, the Nature Trail and the ‘Malory Towers’ trail are great ways to keep children amused!

We have some lovely events for 2024. Daffodil Day, Easter Egg Hunts, Bluebell Sundays and a variety of outdoor theatre productions are on the summer menu (see Events pages). Our present exhibitions, ‘William Stukeley – Saviour of Stonehenge’, ‘Filming on the Hartland Abbey Estate since 1934’ and ‘History of the Hartland Abbey Estate’ continue to entertain visitors. We have two new displays – Falconry by The Hon Gerald Lascelles (Sir Hugh’s great-grandfather) and ‘A Victorian Honeymoon’, a charming record, with watercolours, of Sir Hugh’s great uncle and aunt’s honeymoon of 6,000 miles around Europe in 110 days!

We would like to thank The Culture Recovery Fund which enabled us to partially reroof Hartland Abbey in 2020/21; the fund ensured local scaffolders, builders and craftsmen were employed during lockdown whose expertise kept our roof safe during Storms Arnwen (Nov 21 2021) and Eunice (Feb 22 2022).

Hartland Abbey is also a unique venue for weddings and special events, with the combination of a stunning house and gardens in a beautiful setting and private access to the coast. We have two lovely cottages to rent for holidays. If you have an enquiry on visiting Hartland Abbey please complete our enquiry form or telephone the Administrator on 01237 441496. We do hope you will visit us. It makes a perfect day out in this area of outstanding natural beauty. Hugh and Angela Stucley

Drawing Room
Abbey and cows