Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Eating out, drinkng & dining for Lunch in Malmesbury, Try the Belvedere Cafe for food and hot drinks.

Whilst visiting the Abbey House Gardens you might like to try our newly refurbished and weather proofed cafe and dining area to recharge you batteries and drink in the gardens atmosphere a little. The Belvedere has seating both in doors and out and is situated adjacent to our peaceful stew pond and coi carp collection.

The Belvedere originally began life as a former coal shed and workshop for the house and gardens before its convertion to its current function room capabilities. Its now multiple uses include a corporate business meeting place, wedding reception area and gathering space for large group of visitors as part of the garden tour hosted by Ian & Barbara Pollard. The spacious area and glass sliding doors can be opened out towards the river gardens on suitable weather days to give a soothing mediterranean feel.

The cafe itself is open for visitors and diners from 11am everday until 5pm. Always ably staffed by the ever friendly Georgia and Jess. A new addition to the menu is the ever popular panini in three different tasty flavours and available for a very reasonable £2.95. For those guests who just require a hot drink to set them up for the garden meander please choose from our selection of Latte, Mocha, Expressos, hot chocolates, and range of quality teas.

Keeping things local, fresh and organic is important for us here at the Abbey House Gardens. You cant get more local, wholesome or pure than our very own 100% pure apple and pear juice. Our orchard houses 180 different trees with varying apple and pear types (130 apple trees in total), some of the trees are vintage dating back to the 15th and 16th century. We harvest the fruit every year and a local farmers wife paturises, presses and then bottles the juice on our behalf. 100% pure apple and pear juice, 100% organic. On a very good harvest year we sometimes produce a number of grapes and we have this made up into juice also. Why not sit up and sip our juice whilst sat on one of the benchs in amongst the orchard trees?

If you book as a large group to visit the gardens why not pre book you food for your lunch? Give us a few days notice and we will gladly source some local produce for our famous Wiltshire Ploughmans. Wiltshire ham, local wiltshire cheese (from local producer Ceri Cryer), and beautiful fresh rolls from Malmesburys old bake house. Just let us know your requirements whilst booking your group visit.

As with most things at the Abbey House Gardens we are quite flexible and accomadating with the requests of our visitors. If your after a venue for corporate meetings or hospitality then please call our office on 01666 822212.

From Naturalist to Naturist - Clothes Optional Day - Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury Wiltshire - Sunday 31st May

As the Naturalist 'Bird talk' themed May bank holiday closes at the Abbey House Gardens, there is no time to rest as we jump straight into Naturism a theme!

This coming Sunday 31st May marks the first of the five much talked about clothes optional days of 2009. The gardens are open as usual from 11am to 5.30pm but all guests have the option of viewing them clothed or naked. The forecast for next weekend is currently very good with temperatures around 20C. The gardens usually receive around 400 guests during a clothes optional day, a figure that grows year on year.

Entrance to the Abbey House Gardens during a clothes optional day does not require a visitor to be without their clothes. The opportunity is offered to anyone who wishes to spend their time within the boundaries of the beautiful gardens without their clothes. We are not a club requiring membership, do not have club facilities and offer simply the opportunity to visit the gardens without clothes and without comment.

There is no pressure to dress or undress whilst on the property; it is a matter entirely for personal preference. Purchasing a ticket for admission buys you into an agreement to respect everyones elses freedom of choice to be with or without clothes and to respect, the environment into which you are entering and its boundaries, the wishes of the garden owners, the needs of other visitors and the needs of the wider local community.

If choosing to visit us on a Clothes Optional days we ask all guests to change in the Belvedere area of the gardens. We can then look after your bags in our cloakroom for a small £1 dontation to charity. The gardens support the Marine Conservation Society as a charity.

Visitors may bring their own food to eat in the garden on the understanding that they also take their rubbish home with them. We do offer light lunches such as vegetable soup paninis or pasties available to purchase between 12 noon and 3pm.

To reach the gardens on clothes optional days we advise a couple of options, either climb the 60 Abbey steps or arrange to be dropped at the Market Cross in the town centre (2 minute level walk to the admission gates). There is also a short stay car park in the town centre but parking is limited to two hours.

Photographs taken in the garden must not, under any circumstances, include other visitors and the Abbey House Gardens retains the copyright to all photographs taken within the grounds. (as above!)

For further information please visit our website

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

May 2009 - Monthly Photos of the Abbey House Gardens

Every month we like to catalouge the Abbey House Gardens as the flowers, plants, trees and wildfire change to adapt to the seasons. We hope over the 2009 season our pictorial diary will catalogue how much the gardens change, develop and can surprise our visitors.

April was dominated by our 150,000 Tulips. They gave the Abbey House Gardens an injection of strong primary colours throughout. May sees a gradual change in the tone towards more subtle greens, browns, purples, oranges and yellows.

The laburnum tunnel veiled with strong yellow tones is one of the most popular areas of the gardens during May. The tunnel stretches around 30 metres long and is full of beautiful smells and sights.

The gardens are inhabited by lots of wildflife. For the May 25th Bank Holiday we are planning a 'Bird Talk' focus... we photographed this lovely specimen down in the river gardens next to our popular Fisher Man sculpture.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Countryfile featuring the Abbey House Gardens, Ian & Barbara Pollard this Sunday BBC1 7.30pm

A very quick blog post to say make sure you have your feet up in front of the TV this Sunday at 7.30pm for a short slot on BBC 1's Countryfile.

Cant really supply much more detail than that currently as we are not sure what has made the directors cut. 

Hope you enjoy.

Ian & Barbara. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Weed Wednesday at the Abbey House Gardens - Volunteers Wanted

Ever fancied the chance of being a professional gardener for the day ? Kevin and Carl, part of our enthusiastic gardening team are organising 'Weed Wednesdays.' Its a chance for willing volunteers to experience the Abbey House Gardens from a gardeners point of view. From the flower beds up!

The day starts, with quick introductions and guidance from Kevin and Carl on areas of the garden that need attention and TLC. The 'Weeding Wednesday' team will then spend the morning together tending to a particular area of the grounds. The lads will be able to answer questions on specific types of plants and flowers and offer advice, hints and tips on becoming a better gardener. They have bags of knowledge that they are just dieing to pass on!

The morning will be therapeutic, rewarding and as challenging as you want it to be. Set in a beautiful environment with great enthusiastic company.

The itinerary for the day starts at 9am, when the gardens are closed to the public. At 11am we will break for coffee and cake to re charge the batteries. Another few hours work until 1pm ish and then its lunchtime and your morning work is complete. Your then free to hang up your gardening gloves and down your tools and enjoy the gardens freely for the rest of the day. 


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

15 years at the Abbey House Gardens- for Ian, Barbara & Family

Time really does fly when your having fun. Its quickly approaching 15 years of Pollard occupation at the Abbey House Gardens. What a challenging, exciting and exhilarating 15 years it has been. 

The project has been a hardworking adventure of regeneration for both the house and gardens. Every day a new challenge to face from nature, man or both.

Here are a few choice photos to show what the environment was like at the beginning of our adventure. We hope you find them interesting when compared to what you might see now if you choose to visit us.

  A solitary Bower House, now in use as a wedding ceremony venue

Ian's hard work and vision fill every nut and bolt of the gardens today.

Bank Holiday Events May 25th at the Abbey House Gardens

Ok, with the dust settling from the first May bank holiday we thought it would be useful to air our plans for the next bank holiday on the 25th May 2009. 

All this talk of twittering gave us an idea to have a themed 'Bird Weekend' on Sunday and Monday  - 24th and 25th May respectively. The gardens will have a distinct aviary feel to them which we hope will encourage new and old friends to flock in.

Our nest will include artist Ian Chappel world renowned for his Bird Carving skills. Ian will be showcasing some of his Bird artworks in the Belvedere and also giving demonstrations of his skills. 

If you want to relax, unwind and be entertained during your migration then why not visit our bank holiday marquee that will be home to a professional story teller who will be specialising his tales towards ancient historical bird themed stories. 

Lastly, watch out for our bird trail that will help you navigate our gardens with look out points for spots that often get visited by specific types of birds. We cant make promises on what Birds you'll see but in the past Kingfishers and Song Thrushes have been spotted by our guests. 

A perfect event for young, old, new and returning visitors.