For the first time, Downside Abbey is taking part in Heritage Open Days, a national event where thousands of sites across the country open their doors to share their heritage and culture.

Downside Abbey is one of the architectural and historical gems of Somerset, and we are also running tours of the private monastery gardens.

Described as the finest example of neo-gothic architecture in Britain, the abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks who have been here since 1814. Take a guided tour of the building at 10.30am or 1.30pm which lasts approximately an hour and discover the history of one of only four minor basilicas in the UK. You can also simply stroll through the abbey yourself, and see some of the items from the monastery collections displayed especially for the day. There will be midday office at 12.30 and visitors are welcome to join the monastic community for this. 

For the first time ever, we are also offering guided tours of the monastery gardens at 11am and 2.30pm which last around 45 minutes. The gardens have been exclusively for the use of the monastic community but plans are underway to restore and open these beautiful and historic grounds. The gardens have sustained the community both agriculturally and spiritually for the past 200 years and we are excited to be able to share some of this rich history!

The Abbey Visitor Centre will also be open where you can get a cup of tea or coffee and have a look in the bookshop.