See our selection of some of the parks and gardens in the Bath area:
Set in a deer park in the beautiful Cotswolds close to Bath, Dyrham Park is the late seventeenth-century mansion home of local well-known civil servant William Blathwayt. The formal gardens and house are largely Dutch-inspired, the latter containing a variety of lavish collections, whilst the Victorian servants’ quarters give visitors a behind-the-scenes peek at all things domestic. The Park plays host to many events, including Perry Pear Day, jazz afternoons and open-air theatre in the summer. In the tea garden and refurbished tearoom, guests can sample Dyrham Park’s own venison and pears. There is also a picnic site, children’s play area, various park trails, park and garden Tracker Packs and shop.
Located in the centre of Lacock village in its own grounds and founded in the early thirteenth-century, Lacock Abbey is built upon a nunnery, and is the former house of William Henry Fox Talbot, who made the earliest-known photographic negative. The Abbey plays host to a variety of events throughout the year, including open-air theatre, exhibitions, family fun days and walks and visitors can see the medieval rooms and cloister court in addition to visiting the Fox Talbot Museum. The Abbey and picturesque village itself have frequently been used for both television and film, including two of the Harry Potter films. The mostly woodland gardens are renowned for their spring bulbs, summer borders and greenhouse.
Created by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen, with advice from both ‘Capability’ Brown and Alexander Pope, this 18th-century garden is located in a valley with a splendid view of the city. It includes a Serpentine lake, Cascade and Cabinet and is a green tourism site with disabled parking only. A circular walk from the garden takes in an Iron Age hillfort, Roman settlements and 18th–century follies, as well as stunning views of the surrounding woodlands and meadows. One of only four Palladian bridges of this design in the world can be crossed here. The garden is a venue for a variety of open-air events and guided tours are available, as are family packs and children’s quizzes/trails. There is a tea kiosk near the lake. The site is not accessible for disabled visitors, as it contains steep slopes, steps and uneven paths.
Covering an area of over 57 acres, Victoria Park was opened in 1830 and named after the then 11-year-old Princess Victoria, who was visiting the city at the time. It was the first park to carry her name. Situated just below the Royal Crescent, the park was originally an arboretum and still contains a splendid tree collection. Other features include an aviary, boating pond, tennis courts, children’s adventure play area, skateboard park, bowling green, golf courses, a 9-acre botanical garden and a variety of ornaments and bedding displays. It has received a green flag award and is registered by English Heritage on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England.
Corsham Court is a large English country house situated in a large landscape garden designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Renowned for its fine art collection, the house was a Saxon Royal manor, reputed to have been a seat of Ethelred the Unready. During its history, it has been owned by both Catherine of Aragon and Katherine Parr. It is currently the home of James Methuen-Campbell. The gabled house includes Elizabethan stables, picture gallery, Long Gallery, library and state rooms. The grounds represent ‘Capability’ Brown’s most important commission after Blenheim Palace and include a huge lake, tree avenues, a folly ruin and bath house. Guided tours available.
An eight-acre park on the edge of Bath, Alice Park was opened in 1938 and includes a rose garden, children’s play area, table tennis table, basketball hoop, boules piste, tennis courts, café and community garden.
Parade Gardens is one of Bath’s most popular parks and has great views of Pulteney Bridge, the River Avon and the weir. The bandstand is host to a variety of summer concerts and there is both an outdoor café and deck chairs available. The park features some fine bedding displays, including an annual 3D floral feature in the summer.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is an internationally-important tree and shrub collection, and a fantastic day out for the whole family. As well as 16,000 trees (3,000 different specimens) from around the world, the Arboretum contains five national collections and has 17 miles of accessible paths for visitors to explore. There are guided walks, workshops and self-led trails. For children, there is a fantastic natural adventure play area and a new trail where children can build their own dens, follow log pathways and play in tree forts or on the troll bridge. With over 350,000 visitors each year, Westonbirt is world-renowned, particularly for its autumn colour and spring rhododendrons, azaeleas and magnolias. Events include Live Music concerts, Treefest and the Enchanted Christmas trail, where the woods are lit with lanterns and music and mince pies are compulsory!
Laid out by Harcourt Masters in 1795, the 12-acre Sydney Gardens is Bath’s oldest park and is situated behind the Holbourne Museum. Jane Austen, as well as members of the Royal family were frequent visitors in the 18th and 19th centuries. The park contains fine trees and shrubs, lawns, flower beds, tennis courts and a children’s play area, as well as the Kennet and Avon Canal, which runs through the park.