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Enjoy exceptional blooms at the Bicton Flower Festival

Bicton Flower Festival offers a stunning collection of flowers shown in formal arrangements to great effect, displayed in St Mary’s Church at Bicton.
are a wonderful attraction near East Budleigh in at any time of year. However, the first week in August there is an extra treat in store for visitors – the Bicton Flower Festival.

Bicton Flower Festival offers a stunning collection of floral displays

The festival last for 11 days, spanning two weekends. Talented flower arrangers from the area organize a stunning array of floral arrangements to decorate the tiny Bicton Church which is set within the grounds of Bicton Park. If you have ever seen the floral displays in All Saints Church at nearby East Budleigh, you will appreciate the treat in store as the flower arrangements are created by the same team of ladies.

During the Bicton Flower Festival the window recesses, altar and steps up to the pulpit are all used to display beautiful arrangements of fresh flowers. Lush green foliage contrasts with fragrant white lilies, gladioli, carnations, arums, marguerite daisies, gypsophila and a host of other flowers to make this a treat for both the eyes and the nose!

The history of Bicton Church and Estate

The Church of St Mary was built in 1850 on the site of a much older church. Both buildings were part of the which included a mansion and grand gardens. Before you step inside the church to attend the flower festival, look for the sculpted heads of and his wife Louisa on the north entrance. Louisa was responsible for the building of the church. The corresponding heads flanking the south doorway are of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Behind the church is the Bicton family mausoleum. The nearby Bicton Obelisk can be seen for miles around and was built in 1730 to add to the visual appeal of the gardens.

The original manor, gardens and deer park were built by MP Sir Robery Denys in the 16th century. Eventually the house was sold by Lord Clinton to Devon County Council and it became the Bicton College of Agriculture.

Meantime, Lord Clinton devoted himself to restoring the botanical gardens and the superb glass conservatories to their former glory. They opened to the public in 1963 and have since been taken over by the Lister family who operate the grounds as a visitor attraction and botanical gardens.

Once you have finished admiring the collection of floral displays, enjoy the further horticultural delights of Bicton Park. These magnificent Grade I listed gardens are set in the sheltered Otter Valley and were established almost 300 years ago.

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens complement the Flower Festival

The landscaping and summer colour beautifully complement the indoor arrangements of the Flower Festival, making it a delightful day out for garden lovers, horticulturalists, florists and flower arrangers. Bicton Park has four historic glasshouses including the 1920s Palm House which has 18,000 tiny panes of glass in an iron frame.

Orchid fans will love the beautiful blooms in the Tropical House, including the Bicton orchid (Lemboglossom bictoniese) which first bloomed here in 1836. There is also an Arid House and the Orangery.

Visitors can enjoy the ride around the grounds, stroll along the nature trail and let the children run off their energy in the children’s play areas. The 63-acre grounds include a Shell House, Italian Garden, Stream Gardens, Rose Gardens, a Pinetum and Arboretum. It has many established trees and rare plants in this stunning setting.

Afternoon tea in the form of fresh scones, strawberry jam and thick Devon cream will bring your visit to the Bicton Flower Festival to a perfect end. Take a table outdoors on the terrace overlooking the magnificent formal flower beds or sit indoors in the classic Orangery building on a cool day.

This huge glasshouse was built in the early 19th century to raise citrus trees and palms in containers which were then moved outside in the summer months. There is also a larger modern restaurant for meals.

Have you ever visited Bicton Park Botanical Gardens or the Bicton Flower Show If you can add more local information to our articles we’re always glad to hear from you. Feel free to contribute to the comments below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.


  1. Melissa Reed says:

    My family and I are travelling down from the Midlands to spend a week in Devon at the beginning of August. We have never visited before but our friends went around the same time last year. They have given us a list of things we should see while we are there and Bicton Flower Festival is one of them. I’m really looking forward to visiting the festival, you can’t beat being surrounded by nature’s beauty. Does anyone know of any good restaurants in the area?

  2. Zaiva says:

    I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the flower show for myself at the Bicton Gardens during my travels down to Devon. I’ve been to quite a few flower shows around Yorkshire where I currently reside, and have been somewhat disappointed on most occasions, although the show at the Bicton Gardens is one of the most inspiring events I have been to so far. The contrast in colours is extraordinary, and it’s instantly evident that the effort they put into gardening is more than just a hobby! The gardens are a prime example of landscaping perfection, and can be appreciated by everyone, not just those with an avid interest in gardening.

    It’s probably better to make sure you have enough time to make a day of it, as you can also enjoy the restaurant, museum, railway, as well as many more things you can experience whilst you embark on your tour.

    I visited the gardens back in July, and as the recommended month for visiting is August, I can only imagine what the later developments would be like, though I’m hoping for a second trip to find out!

  3. Wendy Tomlinson says:

    I’ve heard beautiful reports from friends. The gardens do always look beautiful. Your articles are so interesting to read and I appreciate the useful links. Thank you.
    Wendy Tomlinson recently posted: Can the law of attraction improve my business?My Profile

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