The Missenden Abbey Blog

A variety of news, creations and tales from the staff of Missenden Abbey, a 12th Century venue set in the heart of the Chilterns offering exceptional conference facilities, wedding services and social events.

Duncan Ashby, Sous Chef at Missenden Abbey cooks up a storm at the Thame Food Festival

The Annual 'Cook Off' between Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison and Aylesbury College took centre stage at the Thames Food Festival on Saturday. Duncan Ashby (Catering Worked Based Assessor) and Richie Carter (Catering Lecturer) took on two of Raymond Blanc’s chefs, Mark Peregrine and Adam Johnson, from the famous restaurant in Oxfordshire.

With a large crowd gathered in front of the smaller than normal Aga Chef’s Stage, the chefs went head to head cooking from a mystery box. Having won the coin toss to choose items first, Aylesbury College lecturers choose a fillet of smoked haddock leaving Le Manoir with some lamb mince! Along with an assortment of fresh vegetables, herbs and a variety of tinned produce, the chefs also had to choose 5 items from the mystery tray. Still not knowing what they were going to cook, they choose tinned fruit salad, cooked beetroot, a family pack of Pepperami, a bar of white chocolate and to Duncan’s surprise, a jar of Heinz Sandwich Spread!

Richie said "With half an hour on the clock we set about putting our dishes together. Sharing a chopping board, space was very valuable and our team work was put to the test!    Our Menu was:

Smoked Haddock, Celeriac and Beetroot Chowder 
with chilli, garlic and coconut milk
Roasted Cherry Tomato, Blue Cauliflower and Herb Quinoa
served alongside a sandwich spread and harissa hummus with toasted naan bread pieces
Honey and Blackberry Cheesecake 
with white chocolate sauce

Having been ‘miked up’ all our thoughts and team tactics were communicated to the large crowd and being interviewed on stage as we worked added additional pressures but we succeeded! Three members of the audience we asked onto the stage to judge and for the second year running we were triumphant!"

Although Richie and Duncan were a little nervous at first, not knowing what we would be confronted with, they both thoroughly enjoyed their half an hour of stardom!  They also took the opportunity of getting Raymond’s yet to be released new cookery book Le Manoir, signed by Raymond Blanc, as well as his pastry chef and judge from Crème De La Crème, Benoit Blin.

Congratulations to Duncan from all at the Abbey

A Fresh New Service For Afternoon Tea

After a successful three years of providing guests with various Afternoon Tea packages, and being voted number 6 in the "Top 10 Afternoon Teas in Buckinghamshire", Afternoon Tea at Missenden Abbey has become more popular than ever, and we thought it was time to refresh the service and give it the recognition it deserves.

Join us on Saturday 24th September from 12pm-4pm where we are hosting a special re-launch event, dedicating a whole day just for Afternoon Tea to show off our new service. Book your table now on 01494 866811. 

What's changed?

When you can visit for Afternoon Tea
We are now able to cater for weekday Afternoon Tea bookings between the hours of 3pm and 5pm as well as weekends. As before, bookings are subject to availability and pre-booking your tea is essential to secure a space.

Our talented Chefs have crafted a new way of presenting all of the wonderful food included in the packages and we are no longer serving everything in one go on a tiered stand. Now, we will be serving freshly prepared finger sandwiches and mini cakes on slates along with all new crockery for tea/coffee.

When you arrive at the Abbey, a member of our team will take you to your table and take your drink order. Not only are we now providing a larger variety of speciality tea, but you are now able to order mini bottles of Prosecco, a glass of Bucks Fizz or Kir Royale or a range of soft drinks and juices to accompany your menu of food.

As previously mentioned, our whole Afternoon Tea menu used to be served on a tiered stand and we would then leave you to enjoy your afternoon. We have now updated this service and your freshly prepared finger sandwiches and mini cakes will be brought out first on slates, and when you're ready, freshly baked scones that are still warm will be offered to you from a basket, accompanied with clotted cream and a strawberry conserve.

So... how can you book?

To book your Afternoon Tea, simply call our Reception team on 01494 866811 and a member of our team will find a suitable day to book you in. We also offer Afternoon Tea vouchers for two for our Traditional and Sparkling packages which make for fantastic gifts.

For more information on packages and pricing, please visit our website.

Refurb & Refresh!

Missenden Abbey has recently undergone some major (and minor!) refurbishments and upgrades to the facilities and services offered to clients. If you haven't visited the Abbey for a while, we highly recommend you come and see the improvements!

The Chiltern Suite

The Chiltern Suite is the latest addition to Missenden Abbey's conference facilities.

The multi-functional meeting room features a sound proof partition wall that allows for flexibility; enabling the space to be used as a large meeting room accommodating up to 65 cabaret or split into two separate meeting rooms that can fit up to 28 cabaret.

The newly developed room also benefits from new lighting, new carpet, refreshed decor, A/V equipment and air conditioning.

The Abbey Bedrooms

At Missenden Abbey, we take feedback very seriously and always try our best to adjust our product to meet the needs of our customers. Due to some recent feedback regarding our bedrooms, we decided to spruce up the rooms in the main Abbey, giving them a fresh coat of paint, new furnishings and a more modern look. The newly refurbished rooms are now available to book from £80 a room.

The Carrington Suite Lounge

The coffee/bar area outside the Carrington Suite has also had some upgrades in the form of new furniture, decor, new lighting as well as new hard-wood flooring, giving the area a much more modern atmosphere. Check out the fresh new look of the lounge next time you're here or ask us about private functions in the Carrington Suite!

The West End comes to Missenden!

Find out more about the acts for our upcoming cabaret night; An Evening with Alexandra Fisher and tom Mole.


Alexandra has just finished touring the UK and the United Arab Emirates with an Australian production of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo for BOS Productions. 

An accomplished actor and singer, she trained at both the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. 

Credits include: Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights and Queen Elizabeth in Richard III (Cunard/RADA Partnership). 

Alexandra has featured in musicals A Month and Five Days (Park Theatre) and The Man Inside (Landor Theatre) as well as Hero in Much Ado About Nothing, Juliet, Ophelia and Emilia in Actors At Work (Bell Shakespeare Company), Jill in Equus (Perth Theatre Company), Jo in Flightfall (Old Fitz Theatre) and Lulu in The Birthday Party (Belvoir Street Theatre). 

Short Films include: Isle of Ayelsbury, Sean and Jenny and Spirited for which she was nominated for Best Actress at the West Australian Screen Awards. Television includes: All Saints and Home and Away


This all began 18 months ago or so. Dad (Tom Wakeley, if you don’t know) gave me a guest spot here at Missenden Abbey in cabaret with the wonderful Tiffany Graves. I owe a huge thank you to Eva and the team for letting me perform.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been in the game too long. After all, I turned 19 in May. I’m studying as a tenor at the Guildhall School of Music (like father, like son), and will be for the next 3 years.

I haven’t a long list of accolades to my name to roll off now, but here goes;
At 8, I was the voice of a cartoon elephant on CBeebies. Great fun, that was. Around the same time I’d become more interested in my singing. In fact, you can hear a young treble Tom Mole singing on Shepherd Little, the children’s nativity, music written by the marvelous Gavin Mole (no nepotism intended). If you’re in the market for a children’s nativity, see Dad for details.

I’ve only just left the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe. The last two years there were simply incredible, despite the exams. I think my enjoyment was all down to the music department, led by Tim Venvell. Way back in the 90s he formed a close harmony group for the boys in the sixth form, called Singers’ Ltd. Dad will tell you, after the first time I heard the group sing, I pledged to myself that this was the school I’d attend. I guess that’s how it turned out. Our year,class of 2015, didn't do too badly. We won Youth Choir of the Year 2015, as it happens. 

See Alexandra and Tom at the next Cabaret evening at Missenden Abbey on Sunday 18th September for £15 per ticket. Please visit the Facebook event page for more details or call us on 01494 86811.

Rennie Grove Celebrate Volunteer's at Missenden Abbey

On Monday 18th July, Rennie Grove Hospice Care held a party at Missenden Abbey to honour their volunteers. Guests were treated to Missenden Abbey's famous cream tea and also enjoyed live music and awards. We were delighted to host the event and the volunteers "went away very happy after a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon."
Missenden Abbey's very own Jordan Chapman with the Rennie Bear! 

Missenden Abbey Raises Hundreds For Rennie Grove Charity

Missenden Abbey Conference Centre has raised £800 for Rennie Grove Hospice Care through its annual Summer Fair.
Missenden Abbey held their summer fair in memory of former employee Martin Brown, who worked at the Abbey for 30 years before sadly losing his battle with cancer last December.
Eva Neupauer-Jones, General Manager at Missenden Abbey, said: "We once again enjoyed an excellent Summer Fair, despite some changeable weather, and are so proud to donate £800 in honour of our late colleague Martin Brown to a charity that does such important work."
More than 700 people visited the Summer Fair, which included craft stalls, large inflatables, mini tennis, the Amersham Brass Ensemble and Hurst Morris People.
A 'Great Missenden Bake Off' competition was judged by members of the Bucks Women's Institute in Great Missenden, with Jill Dean coming first with a strawberry gateaux.
Claire Redrup, Community Fundraising Manager for Rennie Grove Hospice Care, attended the day and said: "It was a lovely event despite a soggy start and we at Rennie Grove Hospice Care were delighted to be the beneficiaries of this year's annual fair.
"We're so grateful to everyone who made the day a success and would like to give a big thank you also to the team at Missenden Abbey for helping to raise invaluable funds with such a fantastic event."
Missenden Abbey Conference Centre holds a Christmas Fair on Sunday 11 December. For details see

Picture caption: Hurst Morris People outside Missenden Abbey Conference Centre at its Summer Fair.

ILM Success

Our warmest congratulations to our Customer Service and Reception Manager, Jonathan Dean, who has completed his first Line Management course with a Distinction and received his certificate for his Institute of Leadership and Management qualification from Vice Chancellor Professor Rebecca Bunting.
Jonathan is dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and has always been a team player. His drive for improvement with his ’can do’ attitude constantly develops our processes to enhance the clients' experience when visiting Missenden Abbey.
Well done Jon. Your future looks very bright!