Prior Park Landscape Gardens, Bath
Sunday 9th October
Keen to expand our back-yard travel repertoire and make use of our National Trust membership, we headed off to Prior Park Landscape Gardens.As I don’t drive, we were pleased that it was only a mile away from Bath Spa railway station.Located 1 mile uphill (very steep) walk from rear of railway station, across the river, pass Widcombe shopping parade, turn right onto Prior Park Road at White Hart pub, proceed uphill, garden on left.Although, we took the hill to the left of the pub and I knew half way up that we had taken the wrong route.After asking directions, we discovered a different route still going the direction of Prior Park.
We arrived just after 3pm.It was a warm day and the sky was cloudy but not too overcast.After having our National Trust card scanned at the tea shed, we headed towards the lake and Palladian bridge.The 18th century gardens were designed by the renowned Capability Brown, who’s 300th birthday is the 28th of October.When the National Trust took over the gardens in 1993, much of the gardens, lakes and the Palladian bridge has been restored.
The Palladian bridge (one of only four of this design left in the world) is a stunning focal point, no matter where in the gardens you stand.The Venetian architect Andrea Palladio inspired the building of structures such as the bridges at Prior Park and at Stourhead.The bridge has been etched in graffiti, were not talking pens either.The lakes are regularly cleared of silt build up, which enables you to see to the bottom.
We walked up the steps to the large tree swing, much to my three kid’s delight.From here looking down onto the bridge and up to the Prior Park House, which is now Prior Park College is a private school for 11- to 18-year-olds.A very steep climb up to the top and through the kissing gate, we headed through to the right into a small wooded area before coming out to a walk banked by small ponds.From here we found the grotto and the commemorative display about Capability Brown and how the garden would have been like back in 1764.Taking the long path back down through the park, instead of leaving Prior Park Landscape Gardens to head along Bath Skyline walk.We’ll come back and visit that another day.As we headed back down we came to the old Ice House, which we hadn’t visited on our way up.It is just rubble and if hadn’t been had a information sign to say what it was, I would have completely missed it.
The kids loved their time here, even Kieran who’s 14 enjoyed the walk.Prior Park Landscape Gardens has various seasonal activities for families during half term and weekends.Due to the steep hills, the grounds aren’t suitable for wheelchairs and motorised scooters.The route we took up the hill isn’t suitable for push chairs but if you come through the gate the other side of the White Hart pub (the way we should have gone), you can get up that way.It is a long trek around the park but there is a children’s adventure playground, nature trails and activities for younger children.
After October Prior Park Landscape Gardens is closed during the week, opening just at the weekends.Last admission is 1 hour before closing.
Garden 10:00- 16:00
Tea Shed 11:00- 15:30
Adult £7.20 with gift aid £6.50 Standard
Child £3.80 with gift aid £3.40 Standard
Family £18.20 with gift aid £16.20 Standard
Group adult min group of 15 £5.90
Linking up to Coombe Mill for Country Kids