The story of the Abbey and its inhabitants has been vividly brought to life in our museum, decorated in dramatic medieval colours chosen to reflect the interior of the original Abbey church.
The newly redeveloped museum takes you on a journey through time with a fascinating collection of Saxon carving, medieval floor tiles and other spectacular evidence found during 2019’s archaeological excavations. We bring to life the people of the Abbey from powerful abbesses to the gentlest of nuns, in new displays and information panels describing:
the Abbey’s founding by Alfred the Great in AD888;
its national importance as a site of pilgrimage and royal visits for prayer at the tomb of (Saxon) St. Edward, King and Martyr;
its destruction in a few short years after Henry VIII’s “Dissolution of the Monasteries” in the 1530’s.
The Gardens retain their air of peace and calm; a place to breathe and revive the spirit while investigating new displays of medieval herbs and plants … and Dorset ice-cream!
Helping you to enjoy your visit
To get more from your visit Audio Guides are available from the reception. The Audio Guide will talk you around the Museum and Garden explaining many of the objects on view, together with their history. Printed guides are available in many languages to assist our overseas visitors.
For young visitors we offer a child friendly version of the audio guide, plus quizzes and hands-on games and activities to keep them busy around the Abbey and the Garden.
The Museum Shop
The Museum Shop offers a wide range of local produce, crafts, gifts and toys plus relevant books for adults and children. Herbs and ornamental plants are for sale in the spring and summer. We sell Purbeck ice creams. You are welcome to browse in the shop.