We apologise that the Gardens and cafe will be closed on Sunday 3rd October, following the Sake Festival held on Saturday 2nd October till late in the evening.
Fordham Abbey Gardens are open to the public on Sundays only
Open for members from Wednesday – Sunday
entry fee – £10 per person
Cafe is also open on Sundays for lunch, tea and cakes !!
(Open for non garden visitors as well.)
Annual Garden Members are given access to the gardens from Wednesday – Sunday throughout the year.
Fordham Abbey Garden Annual Membership
Annual Garden Membership includes access to the Japanese garden and the kitchen garden from Wednesday to Sunday.
Please note that the gardens are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance and on selected days throughout the year.
On full moon evenings, annual members are welcome to visit the gardens. Japanese garden is lit and reflections of the full moon and the trees in the water are breathtaking!
We sometimes have Moon viewing events on the full moon evenings. We will be sending information to the members. Annual members will be given a discount for such events.
The gardens are open from 10am – 4pm with the last entry on 3:30pm.
Day members (general public) can purchase entry tickets on the day.
Entry is limited to Sundays only from mid August.
Pottery Workshop is located within the Japanese Garden.
You could come and see the famous Japanese Potters working when they are here.
Shrine is under construction and fenced around. Due to current shortage of timer the work is being delayed but we are hoping it to be completed by the end of this year. It may be interesting for some to see the process.
Our gardens are for the members(Day and Annual) to enjoy being in the space, sometimes just to sit and relax, meditate, listen to the water, trees and birds or observe the seasons change.
You could bring your work if you prefer, we have Wifi connection throughout the gardens, and there are tables and chairs in the garden and in the greenhouse. It may give you an inspiration!
Annual Garden Membership fee
Payable in advance in a single lump sum.
(Adults over 18)
(Two adults living at the same address)
Family (2 adults + 2 children) £220
Two adults (aged 18+) living at the same address and two children or grandchildren (17 or under).
Under 5s go free. Each additional child will incur the Day membership rate of £5
Family (1 adult + 2 children) £180
One adult (aged 18+) and two children or grandchildren(17 or under). Under 5s go free.
Each additional child will incur the Day Membership rate of £5
Day Membership fee (General Public) – access on Sundays only from mid August – Please pay on the day
(Adults over 18)
(Aged 6 – 17)
Children 5 and under enter free when accompanied by an adult
Rules & Regulations
- No dogs allowed inside the gardens. Dogs maybe kept on lead in other publicly accessible areas of the site and there may be limited dog parking spots available. Visitors are responsible for their dogs at all times and must ensure that they clean up after their pets.
- No smoking allowed in the gardens including vaping an e-cigarettes.
- Please refrain from playing music out loud on mobile phones, smart speakers and other portable devices. Please be considerate to others when listening to music on headphones.
- Please refrain from speaking loudly on mobile phones and keep conversations to a minimum.
- Do not litter in the gardens or in any part of the estate, bins are provided.
- Please keep to the designated footpaths, grass areas and walkways.
- Do not walk on any plant or flower beds, rock areas or areas where fruit and vegetables are growing.
- Do not climb trees, fences and walls.
- Do not pick flowers, fruit or any other plants without permission from a member of staff.
- Annual membership fees are non-refundable except in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the management.
- Any anti-social behaviour towards fellow members or staff will result in your membership being revoked without refund and offenders will be asked to leave the premises immediately.
About the Gardens
A journey through the Garden
The Japanese garden has a living tradition stretching back over a millennium in Japan, and today that voice has reached across the world. It follows therefore that the UK’s first sake brewery should have a fine ‘Japan inspired’ garden.
Supported by the Hashimoto family and the Dojima Brewery, the garden was gradually created evoking the very best qualities. The Japanese garden can have a transforming and enhancing effect on the wellbeing of the viewer. Japanese gardens are even used as the location for wellbeing therapies. Its tradition is premised on the idea that the garden should reflect nature, yet not copy it. Nature and the landscape are understood to retain a sacred quality which translates to a garden space.
The Dojima garden follows one of the principal styles of the Japanese garden, the ‘Stroll garden’ (kaiyushiki teien). Wherein the visitor is invited to walk around the garden, absorbing the varied garden scenery as an active participant. The garden unfolds as the viewer moves through the space. Banks of planting are used determining the path. In turn it hides and reveals aspects of the garden. Water is a significant feature of stroll gardens and a sinuous shaped pond lies at its heart.
Such gardens are experienced through all the senses. Sounds transform them in the different locations and are woven into the experience. The two waterfalls offer different cadences of sound. The bridge over the water is not a traditional Japanese design but does translate a tradition from one culture to another. It’s simplicity and directness reflects the connection between the two cultures, as does the sake brewed at Dojima.
The journey’s destination is the Shinto shrine (currently under construction), so the garden can also be understood as a preparation for those approaching it, moving from the secular to the sacred world. Sake making in Japan has ancient roots in the sacred use of rice and water. The fluid motion of water is an important expression in the garden. Landscape in Japanese is ‘sansui’, meaning mountains and water. The rocks that define the architecture of the pond garden are principally waterworn limestone shaped by the action of water over time. Movement and stillness in the same moment.
This garden reflects the connection that the Dojima Brewery extends, linking cultures on shared common ground. With maturity and developing form the quality of being close to nature will become apparent in the garden’s textures. It encourages the viewer to reflect and absorb what is immediately around them and what is their immediate experience in that moment. These are the core qualities that are the very fabric of the Dojima garden. This engagement is most intense when viewer and garden become as one. It is the nature of the kaiyushiki teien to embrace the viewer, and to provide a shifting fabric of experience. Subtle lighting in the garden creates yet another visual experience.
The Dojima garden creates the spirit and essence of the Japanese tradition in a form that works in its location and context. It is a welcoming place that celebrates nature in its foliage and the shifting patterns of ripples across the surface of the water accompanied by changing light conditions highlighting different parts of the garden throughout the day.
Robert Ketchell, the garden designer
Walled Kitchen Garden