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“Peace and tranquility”
Review of Buckfast Abbey

Buckfast Abbey
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Reviewed December 8, 2014

A must to see if you are in the area, Amazing Abbey, peaceful, tranquil, lots to see. Great on site restaurant, shop selling the famous Buckfast Tonic. Easy to park, all facilities that you need are available.

Thank lololois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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876 - 880 of 1,229 reviews

Reviewed December 6, 2014

When my dear late Mum was a young girl in a small South Devon town, her brother was good friends with two other children, one of whom went on to become a previous Abbot (Leo Smith) at Buckfast Abbey. Mum's late brother went on to become a Prebendary in the Church of England.

Years later we visited Buckfast Abbey where my Mum met up with her former school-age chum, now the Abbot! That was then my only visit to the Abbey.

Last night I responded to an invitation to attend an evening concert there by an outside agency, and review the event for the local media. I had reviewed this particular ensemble a number of times before, so I thought it would be good to re-visit the venue, albeit on a cold December night.

I parked easily, and was able to make quick use of the immaculately-maintained modern toilet facilities facilities in a type of lodge building (presumably housing the shop and restaurant) and some hundred or two yards' walk away from the entrance to the Abbey itself. I had driven some 20+ miles to get there, so I liked to arrived in good time. The concert started at 7.15pm, and the doors opened at 7.00pm.

What I didn't know was that, everyone would be queuing outside in the elements until 7.00pm, as those who knew the venue beforehand were aware that seats inside are on a first-come-first-served basis. I was three-quarters along the quene and while I was actually an invited guest, I sat in the choir stalls, and virtually 'saw' nothing of the performers the whole evening.

The issue is that the monks hold a service before 7, so that entry is not possible until then. Then they hold another at 9 so concertgoers and performers have to be herded out pretty quickly afterwards.

Last night was cold - a good number of people were asking why there was not somewhere they could queue at least to escape the elements. Given that these kinds of events attract a more senior audience, on a night where it's pouring, you would be drenched beforehand, and then forced to sit in wet clothes for the duration of the event - hardly conducive to maintaining good health! If the authorities there 'cared' about the people queuing, they could surely come up with a solution. They are happy to be paid for the hire of the premises, of course!

Yes, it's a working abbey, so services must go on, but if it also wants to earn income as a concert venue, then it must make some compromise. It can't be considered a viable venue while this happens.

What mad matters worse was that I merely politiely pointed this out to a representative at the end of the evening, who very quickly rounded on me, and was extremely rude. His answer was to delay the start time of the event, so that the 7pm service could clear - but then this would curtail an already short evening's music-making, in order to accommodate the 9pm service.

I won't come again to any musical event, nor promote any such future happening, without pointing this queuing issue out, and suggest that all but the hardiest soul considers standing there in all weathers, just to wait for a door to open.

In this day and age when audiences don't grow on tress, clearly the abbey doesn't seem to be bothered much about visitors coming specifically for a concert - it presumably makes loads of money elsewhere from its shops, restaurant, and famous fortified wine.

1  Thank Wolksby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2014

It had been 50 years since I had visited the Abbey. We popped in for a relatively short visit on a cold but sunny December day. The Abbey is well worth a visit but remember it was re-built at the beginning of the last century, albeit on a classical design.

A very nice cafe with good food and a good sized gift shop to purchase the locally made beverages!

Thank DuncanP_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2014

Gift shop was very festive, we went very late and didnt see much except the grounds which were impressive and well worth seeing.

Thank Sally S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 28, 2014

I could spend all day there. Visited many times and you just feel the place instantly. Definitely recommend.

Thank amanda_brooksbank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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