Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon
The monks at Buckfast Abbey are known for their beekeeping skills and tonic wine. Situated on the edge of Dartmoor, the Abbey attracts almost half a million visitors a year.
Buckfast Abbey in Devon home to Buckfast tonic wine
The 6th century Benedictine principle of living by the labour of their own hands is alive and well here. Visit Buckfast Abbey for a stroll around the peaceful gardens and to see the Abbey. Taste the fruits of the monks’ labour in the restaurant or by taking home jars of honey and bottles of Buckie from their specialist monastic produce shop.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Shop for monastic produce
- Visit the abbey
- Walk around the gardens
- Have lunch in the restaurant
Visit A Restored Abbey
Come to Buckfast to see the only English medieval monastery to have been restored and used for its original purpose. When the exiled Benedictine monks arrived in 1882, they began the restoration of the Abbey that had fallen into ruin following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.
Taste Buckfast Abbey Wine
Buy a bottle of Buckfast Tonic Wine from the shop. When the monks first settled in Buckfast, they started producing the tonic wine, originally designed as a medicine. It’s sweet and it’s quite powerful. Today, the base wine comes from France but the spirit lives on as the tonic wine is still brewed at the Abbey.
Make a Beeline For Buckfast Honey
If your luck’s in, buy a jar of Buckfast honey. It sells out quickly. The honey is produced in over 200 hives distributed around the Abbey grounds and local farms and orchards. As a centre of expertise, the Bee Department runs an excellent programme of community talks, home apiary visits and bee-keeping courses.
Go For a Garden Stroll
The Physic Garden displays a range of some 200 plants. In the culinary section, discover unusual herbs such as alecost used to clear, flavour and preserve ale before the use of hops, and woodruff which adds flavour to liqueurs, wine, sorbet and fruit salads.
Shop For Monastic Produce
In addition to Buckfast wine and honey, browse enticing products from other monasteries across Europe. How about taking home a bottle of Chartreuse, a spice cake from a Breton abbey or chocolate from Caldey Island?
- Sit on the restaurant terrace overlooking the lavender garden and enjoy wafts of scent from over 150 varieties
- The monks are experts at creating stained glass so take a look at the magnificent stained-glass window of the Last Supper
- Visit in the morning and then drive to Riverford Farm Restaurant for lunch (booking essential)
- If you are visiting Yorkshire take a trip to Ampleforth Abbey to taste their award-winning beer and cider
On Stir Up Sunday, add Buckfast tonic wine to your Christmas cake or pudding for a heavenly twist.
WHERE TO STAY IN DEVON
Salcombe Harbour Hotel
On the waterfront, Salcombe Harbour Hotel offers a bistro style restaurant and spa.
Rooms from £104 a night.
This elegantly restored Victorian country house is the new venture of chef, Michael Caines.
Rooms from £125 a night.
They tell me that it’s guide dogs only at Buckfast Abbey.