Welbeck Abbey

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Welbeck Abbey State Room Tours

13 August – 31 August, Tuesday – Saturday

Take a tour of the State Rooms at Welbeck Abbey and see treasures from the world-class Portland Collection of Art.

Objects and artworks from the world-class Portland Collection decorate the State Rooms. Works on show at Welbeck Abbey include pieces by Sir Peter Lely, John Wootton and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Highlights include:

  • The Gothic Hall, with its soaring intricate plasterwork ceiling and imposing full-length Tudor portraits, including pieces by Daniel Mytens
  • The Red Tapestry Drawing Room, where you will see bright pink tapestries from the Gobelin workshops – as vivid as when woven over 200 years ago
  • The glamorous Swan Drawing Room, with Aubusson carpet and floor-to-ceiling gilt framed Rococo mirrors that reflect the gaze from dozens of family portraits
  • The curving Print Corridor, lined with paintings including works by Godfrey Kneller, Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, and Cornelius Jonson. A Library and Chapel join the Print Corridor, forming the “greatest Arts and Crafts decorative ensemble in any aristocratic house in Britain” (Michael Hall, Architectural Historian).

The Tour

Tours last 2 hours. All tickets are non-refundable unless cancelled by us, for example, due to changes in Covid restrictions.

On arrival, please park in the main car park and check in for your tour at the Portland Collection Museum. A minibus will collect tour visitors and take them to Welbeck Abbey, through the 5th Duke of Portland’s Victorian village. The minibus will depart promptly, so please arrange to arrive in good time. Unfortunately, latecomers cannot join the tour.

The journey to Welbeck Abbey takes approximately 5 minutes. We strongly advise that visitors wear comfortable footwear as limited seating is available on the tour. We kindly ask that you do not wear stiletto shoes in the house. There are no toilet facilities at the Abbey.

The route includes several staircases. A stair-free tour will take place at 10 am on Thursday 22nd August 2024.

You can find toilets, refreshments, shopping and exhibitions at The Harley Gallery and Portland Collection Museum. Please also be aware we only permit small handbags and provide lockers for secure storage.

The Harley Foundation manages The Welbeck Abbey State Room Tours. This charity was set up by Ivy, Duchess of Portland in 1978.

About Welbeck Abbey

Welbeck Abbey has been home to the Dukes of Portland and their families since 1607.

Welbeck is one of the great traditional country estates. It spans 15,000 acres, much of which sits within Sherwood Forest, with Welbeck Abbey at its heart. The Abbey was founded as a monastery in 1153. Bess of Hardwick’s youngest son, Sir Charles Cavendish, acquired Welbeck in 1607, and since then the estate has been handed down through the family.

Successive generations of the family have developed Welbeck Abbey – from the 1st Duke of Newcastle’s Civil War stronghold to Henrietta Countess of Oxford’s extravagant Georgian country house, and the 3rd Duke of Portland’s Prime Ministerial residence.

The 6th Duke and Duchess of Portland

Ernest George remodelled the State Rooms you see today for the 6th Duke and Duchess of Portland.

The 6th Duke inherited Welbeck from his cousin the 5th Duke of Portland, a man famed for his extravagant building and eccentric lifestyle. The 5th Duke was part-way through building works in the Abbey when he died. When the 6th Duke and his family arrived, they found “The front drive was a grass-grown morass covered with builders rubble, and to enable the carriage to reach the front door they had to put down temporary planks. The hall inside was without a floor” (Ottoline Morrell, the 6th Duke’s step-sister).

The 6th Duke continued, “We found stacked here most of the pictures that had been collected or had come down from generation to generation. Many of them were without frames and stood two or three deep”.

The 6th Duke and Duchess worked to turn this faded beauty into an Edwardian power palace. The 6th Duke appointed the first curator, Richard Goulding, who began the process of cataloguing, caring for, and understanding this world-class collection – a process which continues today.

Booking Information

Welbeck Abbey State Room Tours are currently sold out.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Bookings

No, the tours are not recommended for children. We also do not allow prams or pushchairs at the Abbey. We advise visitors that you will be on your feet for a long time as there is limited seating. There are also no changing facilities.

All tickets are non-refundable unless cancelled by us, for example, due to changes in Covid restrictions. However, we are happy to change the names on your booking if you would like to give your tickets to a friend or family member. Please call 01909 501700 to let us know.

Welbeck Abbey still remains a private home and as there are several staircases in the house, one wheelchair-friendly tour is scheduled for disabled visitors to enjoy without encountering the stairs. The stair-free tour for this season will take place on 22 August at 10 am.

Getting Here

We regret that tickets are not refundable or transferable. Please arrange to be at The Portland Collection museum in good time for your tour.

No, we ask visitors to park in the main car park and meet at the Portland Collection museum to proceed to the Abbey by minibus.

Please arrive 15 minutes early, as latecomers cannot join the tour after it has left The Portland Collection museum.

The Tour

No, the State Room tour does not include any of Welbeck’s underground rooms or tunnels.

No, we do not permit photography during the tour.

You may take small handbags on the tour but we do not permit large bags. If in doubt, please ask your guide when you check-in. We provide lockers for safe storage.