Tuin Sint-Pietersabdij

Discover our hidden abbey garden

Did you know that a lush abbey garden lurks behind the majestic facades of St Peter’s Abbey? You abide there between the lavender, fruit trees and grapevines.

Time was when the monks wandered around in this green oasis of peace and quiet. Today, it is an open garden where you can relax, enjoy a picnic, study, or lie in the sun. Imagine that you are in the South of France and enjoy this green urban hot spot!

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. During the months of November, December, January and February, the abbey garden closes at 5 pm.

A historic garden

The abbey garden with herb garden, vineyard, and orchard was there in the Middle Ages. It’s a reconstruction based on historical models, built on the terraced gardens which a pretentious abbot created in the eighteenth century. The ruins in the garden are remnants of the old fifteenth-century infirmary or sickbay. Archaeologists found those remnants in the 1970s.

Between the vineyards or living a carefree and idle life

The monks had grown vines on the hillside to the River Scheldt since the ninth century. The wealthy St Peter’s Abbey even had its own brewery. It’s no wonder that the St Peter’s Abbey monks all drank some two litres of wine. They didn’t have pure drink water, so, apart from beer, wine was the main drink in the Middle Ages. The abbey has had vineyards again since 1983. Each year, four grape varieties provide a changing number of bottles of ‘abbey wine’. 

Magic herbs and sweet fruit

The herb garden is located near the church and the ruins of a fifteenth-century sickbay or infirmary. You encounter the aroma of lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, and other classic herbs. The infirmarer had grown medicinal plants in the herb garden since the ninth century, dried them, and made potions and ointments from them. If you look closely, you can still see the silhouette of the infirmary on the southern church wall.
And for lovers of sweet fruit, the orchard and fruit trees yield apples, pears, cherries, plums, nuts, and, yes, even figs each year! Take your pick and have a savour!