If Bath is on your travelling list in 2021, one part of this beautiful city that doesn’t feel the spotlight as much as its other tourist destinations, are its gardens and parks!
Five wonderful green spaces I have loved and visited many a time, are the Botanical Garden, Victoria Park, Henrietta Park, the Parade Gardens and Sydney Gardens. Each is situated in a different part of the city, so wherever you find yourself, you will always have a place to take your picnic, sit and enjoy the sunshine, or take the children to play on the swings.
The Botanical Gardens
On the premises– Pond, walkways, Bath WWI miniature garden and plenty of benches.
No fee required- Just tootle in through the gate and circle the paths. Please keep your dogs on their leads!
The Botanical Gardens is without a doubt my favourite green space in Bath, 9-acres with a myriad of exotic and interestingly scented plants, it’s quite a feast for the senses. If you are ever in Bath I do recommend visiting this lovely garden, it is a hidden treasure within Victoria Park.
If you have never heard or been to the Bath Botanical Gardens, it’s a gated garden within the Royal Victoria Park, formed in 1887, housing some of the finest & most exotic plants of the time, and even still today.
It is by far, my favourite garden in Bath and most places. It was my most visited haunt when I was taking my A-Levels, (Classics & English Literature & Language) I have wonderful memories of bringing tea in a thermos and munching a Bertinet Bakery pastry while catching up on my reading.
The Botanical Gardens are an ideal place for reflection, with cocooning hedge linings, rock pools, a miniature waterfall & a replica of a Roman Temple. Historical fun fact: which was the city’s exhibit at the British Empire Exhibition, held at Wembley in 1924.
It’s also a wonderful place to bring family & little ones too, just be careful of losing them in the foliage and low hanging branches.
These gardens are also a wonderful place for photographers or nature enthusiasts, and it’s no wonder as every season it transforms. In the height of summer, everything is in bloom with its brightest colours and most beautiful blooms. In Autumn the leaves become bright hues of burgundy and canary yellow, even the sunlight becomes buttery gold.
On the premises- Pavilion cafe, tennis courts, mini-golf, large children’s playground, toilets, plenty of benches and picnic spots.
No fee is required for the park, only to book tennis courts and play a game of mini-golf.
Victoria Park is the biggest park in the Bath area, opened in 1830 by the 11-year-old Princess Victoria, just seven years before she became Queen. This park was the first to carry her name and its obelisk is dedicated to the princess. One of the stories associated with these vast green lands is that when the little princess came to open her park, a passing lady remarked on how thick the little girls ankles were. Sadly her lady in waiting must have told Princess Victoria, because from that day on she never visited Bath and only spoke ill of her time there. What a shame!
With a gargantuan playground for the children, two tennis courts, an 18-hole mini-golf course, sprawling green spaces for the dogs and clear paths for those who enjoy seasonal strolls, this park holds entertainment for all ages.
In the Spring the park is a wonderful place to picnic, sit next to the Royal Crescent or feed the ducks at the pond. There is also music played in the pavilion and the Royal Pavillion Cafe to shelter in if it rains.
During the Summer you can watch the hot air balloons rise, enjoy a walk around the Botanical gardens to see the change in blooms and enjoy an ice cream from the van that’s never too far from the grounds. This summer I enjoyed many picnics with my family spread out on the grass of the park enjoying the view of Bath.
In the Autumn months, it is amazing how the landscape changes, leaves of orange and red blanket the tree’s so for anyone who loves photography it is the place to be. So pull out your oversized jumpers and have a wander through the changing of the seasons!
In early Winter the ice rinks open, serving hot chocolate with cream and glow in the dark mini golf is played way into the starry evening. The walk from the park into the centre of Bath is easy and rather wonderful especially in early November when the city is full of Christmas lights.
The Parade Gardens
Opening times– 10am to 7pm during the Summer.
Fee required for visitors, but free to discovery cardholders.
On the premises- Cafe, toilets and plenty of benches. No ballgames or dogs.
The Parade Gardens are Bath’s most popular pleasure grounds, right smack in the middle of the great city they offer refuge from the heat of the summer and fatigue from a day shopping or sightseeing. While smaller than others on this list at two-and-a-half acres, the gardens run along the River Avon and give a wonderful view of both Putney Bridge and the weir.
The Parade Gardens are particularly beautiful in the Summertime, with a charming little bandstand, blossoms in bloom and plenty of three-dimensional garden displays throughout the year. A café is nestled in the garden corner serving tea, little sandwiches, coffee and cakes. On the sunnier days, the bandstand in the centre of the gardens brims over with musicians, and there are summer events with children’s entertainment.
Working in heart of Bath, this garden has always been dear to me. I visit most days, after work, while waiting to catch buses back home, with a canister of tea, where I usually enjoy the beautiful scenery, pop open a book or open my planner and jot down a few ideas for the week ahead. Surrounded by ever toiling nature and the gentle hum of the city in the background, I’ve always found it easier to ground myself and focus on the weeks and months ahead, even pound out a blog post like this one. Working outside is a great joy, it’s probably why my love affair with the countryside is everlasting.
Opening times- All year round and all day.
On the premises– Tennis courts, petanque grounds, toilets, Loggia, the Temple of Minerva, iron bridge crossing The Avon, GWR passes through too.
These gardens are some of the oldest in the city, designed as Georgian pleasure gardens in the eighteenth century, they are Grade II listed.
Situated behind the Holburne Museum, Sydney Gardens is the oldest park in the city of Bath. It was planned and laid out by the architect Harcourt Masters in 1795 and throughout the end of the eighteenth and into the nineteenth century it was one of the most popular places to see and be seen by the fashionable visitors to Bath. Think Bridgerton strolling…
The gardens have a rich history of visitors and were frequently visited by members of the Royal family and also the famous author Jane Austen whose house was directly opposite the park. During this time public breakfasts were only one of the many attractions the gardens had to offer, alongside firework displays and concerts and often the beginnings of courtships.
Nowadays you can find the gardens brimming with fine trees and shrubs, tennis courts to play on, a children’s play area to entertain the little ones and the Kennet and Avon Canal, which runs through the park and is a wonderful place to follow the river through Bath.
Opening times: Open all hours with no admission charges. The Memorial Garden of Remembrance is locked between dusk and dawn.
On the premises: The Memorial Garden of Remembrance, The Garden for the Blind, Toilets, plenty of benches to sit on and a wonderful variety of plants and trees.
While a much smaller park, Henrietta park has just as much history as any other park in Bath. With benches dotted everywhere, it is the perfect place to enjoy the season’s change and have a moment in peace, something rare in the heart of the city.
Henrietta Park was opened to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of 1897. However, the parkland that the garden sits on was given by Captain Forester (formerly of the Third Kings Own Hussars) with the promise it should always remain green space and never be built on by the city. In his way, he protected the land from development and provided a green space and breathe of fresh air for many.
The park is the smallest on my list, resting at about seven acres and situated within walking distance of the city centre, where the first things you’ll see is Great Pultney Street and Laura place. Within its perimeter, surrounded by shrubs, there are many fine trees, flower beds brimming with colourful blooms in the summer and a pergola wrapped up in roses.
One of my favourite parts of this garden is the Sensory Garden, which was redesigned in the 1950s into an area bursting with sweet-smelling plants and herbs to evoke the other four senses. It’s a rather tranquil spot with climbers winding up the walls and a fishpond in the very centre of the space.