The perfect green areas for a picnic and enjoy nature
One of the best things of living in UK, is the attention British pay to the park’s design and maintenance. They have always impossibly green and well tended lawn, and they make you feel like rolling in the grass, running down the hill and smell all the flowers.
Whether you are the sporty type looking for a place to run or do yoga, walk your dog, read a book surrounded by the birds singing near a peaceful lake or share a lovely picnic with your partner you will find your favourite secret spot in one these parks below:
1.The Botanical Gardens at Royal Victoria Park
This garden is tucked away 10 minutes walking from the Royal Crescent, and you will gain access entering the huge iron gates. Originally formed in 1887 and taking the name after the famous Queen Victoria, the gardens used to be the preferred strolling area for wealthy people living around the Royal Crescent area. This garden is perfect for relaxing or having a walk following the scented trail, around the rock garden and pool, smell the scented roses, and see a replica of a Roman temple. This lovely park features colourful flower bed and planted areas, many squirrels and birds species.
2. Royal Victoria Park
This park was officially inaugurated in 1830 when Princess Victoria and future Queen of England came here for the occasion at only 11 years old. She never came back to Bath, since it is said that a resident made a comment on the largeness of the Queen’s ankles causing her disfavour towards the city.
This is probably one of the most known park due to its vicinity to the city centre and particularly popular during graduation celebrations for taking pictures and for featuring a landing ground for panoramic or sponsoring hot air balloons! This beautiful park extends over 57 acres and boasts an arboretum, the botanical gardens, a children playground, but also a tennis and golf grounds, a skateboard area and during Christmas time an extensive ice rink.
3. Sidney Gardens
This park is one of the few well preserved pleasure gardens dating back to 18th century. It is mentioned several times in Jane Austen’s novels who in 1804 lived at number 4 Sidney place close by and it might one of the reasons why I simply love this park.
Located at the back of the Holburne Museum, it used to be a fashionable place to be seen while visiting Bath and it was frequently visited by the Royal family. It was the perfect location for summer parties and balls featuring fire works displays, concerts, public breakfasts and games.
The Holburne museum was once a prestigious hotel, called Sydney Hotel, surrounded by lush gardens and the canal passing by. The garden features fine flowers and trees but the reason why I came here very often is that you can access the Avon canal by bike or by foot and discover the idyllic British landscape surrounding Bath.
4. Parade Gardens
As the name suggests this perfect tended park in the city centre was once a pleasure garden, a place for nobles to walk and show off, featuring magnificent views over the Pultney Bridge and the colonnades or the boats slowly passing by. In the middle of the park is the statue of Prince Bladud, founder of the city according to the legend with his pigs. A pet cemetery is also surrounding this peaceful location perfect for a picnic or just watching the boats sliding on the river.
During summer, this park is a famous festival, concert or wedding venue. Free deck chairs are placed for people to sit and relax and a small café with outdoor seating is installed selling refreshments.
The park is renowned for 3D garden and bushes sculptures and displays impeccable flower beds. The cherry on the cake is the annual 3D floral sculpture placed in the middle of the park.
5. Alexandra Park
For the best bird’s eye view over the city, Alexandra Park situated south on the top of Beechen Cliff, (the green hill right behind the train station) is the the place where you should go. This calm green hill can be reached by car, or by foot using the Jacob’s ladder a long steep flight of stairs in the woods or the easiest but lesser scenic Shakespeare avenue.
The park opened in 1902 to commemorate King Edward VII’s coronation, and offers perfect post-card pictures of the city and over the hills especially at sunset.
This park is particularly famous among locals for running, walking the dog or picnics.
Lesser known Bath gardens
This little gem faithfully reproduces a Georgian garden following the original plan dating back to 1760’s. This little secret garden is located on the Gravel walk connecting the Royal Crescent park to Charlotte parking. It is the perfect spot to sit and read a book undisturbed during spring time or summer since it looks pretty anonymous and hidden from the outside.
2. Henrietta Gardens
This little park located near the Holburne museum, was opened in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of 1897. It is right in the city centre but it is frequented mostly by locals walking the dog, running or doing picnics since it is out-shadowed by the nearby famous Sidney Gardens. This quiet park stars nice flower beds, rose bushes and a gate memorial plaque to George V.
Parks worth a half-day trip
1.Prior Park National Trust Landscape Garden
This idyllic park is nestled in a green valley featuring great panoramic views towards Bath and the hills. This quiet and lush landscape garden was created by Ralph Allen, a famous self-made man who even became the mayor of the city. The actual private college once was his Ralph Allen Palladian house commissioned to the architect John Wood the Elder and erected in a strategical panoramic view to see and be seen.
Ralph Allen used to invite renowned poets and writers of that time such as Alexander Pope or Henry Fielding, the painter William Gainsborough and many others.
Once you took pleasure in exploring the different paths, you will reach the bottom of the valley, you can walk over the famous Palladian Bridge built, like the rest of the city of Bath, using the local sandy limestone.
Prior Park Landscape Garden is full of nature trails, sweeping panoramic swings, and a lovely open air coffee shop overlooking the stream.
2.The American Museum and Gardens
Situated near Bath University on the crest of a hill, this stunning building will be your passport to start a journey to the history and traditions of US continuing with a tour in the flowering gardens overlooking the green Limpley Stoke valley
The American Museum’s collection of over 200 quilts is considered as the finest in Europe. The museum is also home to a folk art gallery and interesting map exhibition.
Each year a different annual exhibition hosts an aspect of American life and history and the museum is adorned with spectacular festive decorations during Christmas time.
Don’t hesitate to read my Bath articles about what to see, the yummiest restaurants and the best pubs and cocktails bars of the city!