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Buckfast Abbey

Buckfast Abbey

Find Tranquility at Buckfast Abbey

Set amidst serene gardens and orchards on the edge of Dartmoor, Buckfast Abbey provides a beautiful architectural gem to explore in Devon. More than just an abbey, it encompasses a working monastery, expansive grounds, interactive workshops and contemplative gardens. Visitors of all beliefs and ages are welcome to visit and find an oasis of tranquility in this sacred and peaceful place.

Attending a service, strolling the extensive grounds or admiring traditional Monastic handiwork, time seems to slow down at Buckfast Abbey. Here is an in-depth guide on how to spend an uplifting day out immersed in the peace of this special spiritual site.

Buckfast Abbey external

Getting There

Buckfast Abbey is conveniently located just outside of Buckfastleigh in Devon, around 8 miles from Exeter.

By Car

It sits just off the A38, making it very easy to reach by car from Devon’s main towns and cities. Free onsite parking is included with admission to the Abbey.

By Public Transport

Reaching Buckfast Abbey via public transport is also possible. The X38 bus between Plymouth and Exeter stops at the Abbey gates. From the central Buckfastleigh bus stop it’s just under a mile walk to the Abbey.

Opening Times and Prices

Buckfast Abbey is open to visitors daily from 10am-4:30pm in winter and 10am-6pm in summer. However, guests are welcome to wander the grounds from dawn until dusk each day.

Entry to the Abbey grounds is free with a small charge of £5 for the monastery wings to support its upkeep:

  • Abbey Grounds – Free to roam and attend services
  • Monastery Wings – £5 for pre-booked guided tours

Attending Services

One special way to experience Buckfast Abbey is by attending a religious service offered daily in the ornate Abbey Church. From quiet meditative Masses to uplifting sung Vespers, services provide a chance to pause and reflect within the sacred space.

Visitors are welcome to respectfully join services at scheduled times printed at the entrance and posted online. Attire is smart casual.

stained glass window at buckfast abbey

The Abbey Church

With soaring arches, decorative vaulted ceilings and colourful stained glass windows illuminated by natural light, the Abbey Church is an architectural masterpiece.

Originally built in the 13th century before being reconstructed in 1937, the church beautifully combines Gothic grandeur with art deco accents. Take time to admire the intricate tile work, carved stone pulpit and shining organ pipes.

The grounds also hold the peaceful original Abbey ruins and St Mary’s Chapel retaining medieval character.

Buckfast Abbey internal

Monastery Tours

Join a guided tour to explore the monastery wings used by the resident Benedictine monks who balance prayer with producing food, livestock and crafts to support themselves.

Tours take in the oak-panelled chapels, library, workshops and gardens that allow their contemplative way of life. Tours must be pre-booked online.

The Abbey Grounds

The wider Abbey grounds are open freely to roam and include several places for tranquil contemplation:

  • Walled Gardens – With geometrical flower beds surrounding a serene lily pond.
  • Lime Avenue – A peaceful tree-lined walkway approach to the Abbey.
  • Apple Orchards – Rows of bountiful fruit trees with space for picnics.
  • Stations of the Cross – Stone carvings depicting Jesus’s last journey.
  • Viewpoint – Binoculars allow you to admire the distant moorland.

The natural beauty and extensive walking paths encourage quiet reflection wherever you wander.

Shopping and Eating

The Grange Restaurant provides freshly prepared meals and refreshments overlooking the orchard gardens. Light lunches, Devon cream teas and cakes are served.

The Monastic shop stocks foodstuffs produced by the Abbey such as honey, beer and preserves alongside books, religious keepsakes and artwork.

A Day of Discovery

Allow around 2 hours to appreciate the Abbey Church and walk the perimeter of the grounds, slightly longer if you self-guide the ruins walk. Add at least an hour for a pre-booked tour of the monastery wings.

Buckfast Abbey welcomes over 300,000 pilgrims annually who find this place of worship to be an oasis of spiritual rejuvenation. Whether simply admiring the imposing architecture, browsing the shop or attending a service, it’s a special site to experience.

For those seeking tranquility and an escape from everyday pressures into natural beauty and prayer, spending a day at Buckfast Abbey promises reflection.

Altar at buckfast abbey

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there free parking at Buckfast Abbey? Yes, ample free parking in at the Abbey

When did it first become an Abbey? –  Buckfast first became home to an abbey in 1018. The first Benedictine abbey was later followed by a Savignac (and later Cistercian), abbey constructed on the site of the current abbey in 1134.

Other nearby places to visit

When you are at the Abbey, there are many other great places to visit too. Some of them are:

  • Stover Country Park – Scenic nature reserve with woodlands, lakes and trails to explore. Spot local wildlife and enjoy the cafe.
  • Buckfastleigh Butterfly Farm – Tropical greenhouse home to hundreds of exotic butterflies. See them up close and learn about the lifecycle.
  • South Devon Railway – Heritage steam railway with scenic journeys along the Dart Valley between Totnes and Buckfastleigh.
  • Canonteign Falls – England’s highest waterfall set within a lush wooded gorge. Viewing platforms provide scenic vantage points.
  • Plymouth Gin Distillery – Oldest working gin distillery in England. Go behind the scenes on a tour and enjoy tutored tastings.
  • Powderham Castle – 600 year old castle near Exeter, home to the Earl of Devon. Guided tours offer a glimpse into stately living.
  • Occombe Farm – Traditional farm where visitors can feed and interact with chickens, goats, pigs and more. Nature trails through woods.
  • Totnes Rare Breeds Farm – Meet and learn about rare and minority breeds of farm animals like pigs, sheep and cattle.
  • Becky Falls – Ancient woodland site with a cascading waterfall and tranquil lakes. Lovely riverside trails and cafe.

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