Walking

Prior Park, Bath

Originally brought to life in the 1700s under the visionary eye of landscape architect Capability Brown and poet Alexander Pope, Priory Park in Bath, Somerset, is home to a stunning house and landscape garden. 

Prior Park is located on the outskirts of Bath, enjoying a beautiful countryside setting and far-reaching views over the city. Set on the site of a former deer park established circa 1100, the gardens we see today have their roots in the 18th Century, when they were bought by a local businessman and philanthropist, Ralph Allen. With his own vision for the land, Allen, with the help of poet Alexander Pope and landscape architect Capability Brown, set about constructing his grand house and transforming his gardens to secure a legacy that would endure for centuries. 

During his life at Prior Park, Allen oversaw the planting of more than 55,000 trees around the sides and ridgelines of the 28-acre site, including towering elms and Scots pine. Within the valley, he dedicated the basin’s grassy floor to grassland, ornamental pools and water channels that flowed their way through the estate like liquid silk. To this day, you can still enjoy much of the estate’s authentic aesthetic, including its striking Palladian-style bridge that spans one of its lakes – one of only four left in the world. 

Once influential in defining the English landscape garden style in Europe, ongoing efforts are underway to ensure that the garden and its unique artistic and botanic vision are preserved for generations to come. Grade I listed, it is protected by the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and looked after by the National Trust. The subject of ongoing restoration works, it has most recently undergone projects to strengthen its dams, reconstruct one of its small cascades and refill its lakes – providing a rare and intriguing opportunity to see conservation in action. 

If you would like to visit this iconic garden today, then you are welcome to explore at your leisure. Subject to seasonal changes, you can visit throughout the week during summer and at the weekends in winter. What’s more, the gardens are also dog-friendly and there is a café located at the top of the garden offering refreshments too. As you follow the web of paths, look out for some its most notable features including the Palladian bridge (a Grade I listed building and scheduled monument), Gothic temple, grotto, icehouse, pools, cascades and lakes, before stopping off for a brew.

Should you feel like continuing your journey of exploration, Prior Park also happens to be a 5-minute stroll from the Bath Skyline Walk too. A 6-mile circular route around the city, the Bath Skyline Walk wends its way over hills, along valleys, through ancient woodland and past various historic sites, all the while providing beautiful countryside panoramas and far-reaching views over the city. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages near Bath here

Prior Park, Ralph Allen Drive, Bath BA2 5AH | 01225 833 977 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/prior-park-landscape-garden

 

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