Wild at Woburn

18th July, 2014 | Article By Frances Murray

What a fabulous family outing.  Combine the antics of the animals in the Safari Park with a visit to the aristocratic and imposing Woburn Abbey and Gardens and you get a perfect mix of fun for the family and cultural exuberance for the grown ups.

This was one of our better impromptu days out and we probably could have made more of it, if we had arrived a little earlier.  That said, the giraffes were jumping for joy when we arrived and merrily cantered alongside our vehicle, escorting us along the route – we thought we were in a scene from Jurassic Park – an enchanting moment!  The monkeys also lived up to our expectations, cheeky little chappies, who liked to chase each other across the procession of vehicle rooftops and all for our entertainment, of course.

The buzz of the wild was exhilarating yet exhausting, so we retired to the Abbey for a delicious cup of tea, it really was a quality cuppa, and thoroughly appreciated along with the lemon drizzle cake.

The ‘House’ was surprisingly homely inside compared to its palatial exterior. There were lots of personal items on display, I was most interested in the horse racing and flying connections that prominently featured throughout the rooms because these are interests that I share with the Earls and Dukes of Bedford – although I sadly don’t share the title of being one of England’s most powerful families since 1620.

And the entertainment goes on… even though the grounds are not the most elaborate that I have visited over the years, there are some lovely specimens trees, novel garden sculptures and a very serene deer park providing a perfect setting to this beautiful Country Estate.

Last but not least, an unexpected antiques extravaganza was waiting for us in the courtyard buildings to the rear of the house, where a traditional London street had been created for the sale of antiquities (I think this may have closed and no longer is part of the Woburn experience).

Only a handful of these very special and noteworthy Estates remain and I feel quite privileged to have visited a place of such importance.  This day will live long in my memory and one to be treasured.

By Frances Murray

Frances Murray
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