Visit Abbey House Manor’s stunning gardens

Abbey House Manor gardens

Abbey House Manor gardens - Credit: Drea Macmillan/Abbey House Manor

Open gardens at Abbey House Manor, Malmesbury

Adjacent to Malmesbury’s stunning 12th-century Abbey sits the impressive Abbey House Manor, an historic Grade I listed jewel in Malmesbury’s history, which includes the previously world-renowned gardens.

It is said the first King of England is buried somewhere in the gardens, and that two saints were thrown down the well! The house dates from the 16th century, built on 13th-century foundations. In November 2021, Kim and Whit Hanks, founders of Whim Hospitality, Camp Lucy and Tillie’s Restaurant in Dripping Springs, Texas, bought the house and gardens, following their purchase of The Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury in April 2021. Prior to this, Kim and Whit were regular visitors to Malmesbury, their Hanks family ancestral home since before 1500.

During Kim and Whit’s Hanks family research, they discovered Mark Pleydell Hanks was living at Abbey House when it was used as a private manor house in 1841, and Henry Garlick Hanks lived in a section of what is now The Old Bell Hotel, with his wife Susan in the 1860s. Pioneering Malmesbury industrialist, Walter Hanks, operated a mill below The Old Bell Hotel on the River Avon in the late 1100s.

Kim and Whit bought the house and gardens November 2021, and plan to lovingly restore the historic property into a luxury hotel, subject to receiving permissions. In the meantime, the couple are opening up the famous gardens to the public on the second Saturday of each month.

Abbey House Manor Gardens

Abbey House Manor Gardens - Credit: Drea Macmillan/Abbey House Manor

Abbey House Manor Gardens

Abbey House Manor Gardens - Credit: Drea Macmillan/Abbey House Manor

Nearly 200 visitors enjoyed the first open gardens day of the 2022 season at Abbey House Manor, Malmesbury, on Saturday, May 14, welcomed by the new Mayor of Malmesbury Kim Power and Abbey House Manor owners Kim and Whit Hanks.

Ticket sales raised just over £1,000, with all proceeds for the entire 2022 season going to Malmesbury Carnival for onward distribution to local charities.

Owners Kim and Whit Hanks say, 'We’re thrilled with the response to the first open day and to be able to support local charities while visitors were able to enjoy this exciting chapter in the journey of Abbey House Manor Gardens. We would like to say a huge thank you to the many volunteers who helped make this and future open days happen, and we thank our fantastic gardening team at Graduate Gardeners.’

The gardens will be open on the second Saturday of each month up to and including October, with the next one on July 9 from 10am to 4pm. More information is available at abbeyhousemanor.com

Abbey House Manor Gardens

Abbey House Manor Gardens - Credit: Drea Macmillan/Abbey House Manor

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