This summer, Bath is putting its best botanical foot forward as part of the annual South West in Bloom competition. Bath was the national winner of the first ever national Britain in Bloom competition in 1964, and the city has secured over 15 awards since then. Discover Bath’s blooms by taking your very own floral tour of the city, just as the South West in Bloom judges have done, which takes approximately two hours…
1. SouthGate Bath
Start your tour in SouthGate Bath, where will spot a colourful walkway of rainbow bunting, hanging baskets, recycled bee and butterfly-shaped floral sculptures, herb-planted barrows, and a bug hotel.
2. Manvers Street
Head through SouthGate to Manvers Street, where you will spot a beautiful bed of sustainable planting, sponsored by the Bath BID and planted by volunteers.
3. Terrace Walk
Walk along Manvers Street to Terrace Walk to discover the planters maintained by volunteers and urns planted by the Bath BID Rangers.
4. Parade Gardens
Cross the road for stunning views of Parade Gardens, a two-and-a-half-acre garden containing a restored bandstand, deckchairs, and a refreshments kiosk. The garden’s bedding displays are amongst the finest in the country, and the annual three-dimensional carpet bedding in the summer is unique. Residents of Bath and North East Somerset can bring their Discovery Card or a recent bill for free entry into Parade Gardens.
5. Orange Grove
Just outside the entrance to Parade Gardens is Orange Grove. Created in the early eighteenth century as a social walking area, Orange Grove is now a well-kept floral roundabout, enjoying wonderful views of Bath Abbey.
6. Abbey Green and Abbeygate Street
From Orange Grove, walk towards Bath Abbey and through to Abbey Green and Abbeygate Street. Abbey Green is a historic cobbled square that is home to a nineteenth-century London Plane tree, as well as a wonderful selection of independent shops and eateries, with Abbeygate Street also adorned with floral displays.
7. Union Street
From Abbeygate Street, walk up Stall Street to Union Street, where you will find cheerful seating and stunning floral displays.
8. Northumberland Place
Near the top of Union Street, turn right and walk through the passageway to Northumberland Place, a bustling street filled with cafés and independent shops, and Bath’s smallest pub. Discover planting sponsored by HPH Commercial Property, and purple trough planting in honour of Bath Mayor June Player.
9. Upper Borough Walls
From Northumberland Place, Wander up Union Passage to Upper Borough Walls. Taking its name from a section of the Medieval wall of the city, which still remains, Upper Borough Walls is a historic street where you will now find cafés, restaurants, pubs and shops, as well as stunning floral planters installed by the Bath BID Rangers.
10. Milsom Street, Milsom Place and George Street
As you reach the top of town, discover colourful planters planted by the Bath BID Rangers in Milsom Street. As you wander up the historic shopping street, make sure you visit Milsom Place, where you will find an array of shops and places to eat and drink. The characterful corridors and courtyards of Milsom Place are adorned with floral planters and hanging baskets. Head back onto Milsom Street and continue up the road to George Street, where you will find vibrant hanging baskets.
11. Bath’s Artisan Quarter
From George Street, head down Broad Street and through Saracen Street to Walcot Street, at the heart of Bath’s Artisan Quarter. Started in 2017, Wild Walcot is a community partnership project aiming to co-design and create a wildlife-friendly green corridor along the length of Walcot Street. As you wander along Walcot Street, you will also spot floral hanging baskets and planters, as well as ‘The Stone Faces of Walcot’, a trail of 20 familiar faces from the area recreated in stone.
At the end of Walcot Street, you will find Hedgemead Park, a five-acre park that was realised following a landslide that destroyed houses beneath Camden Crescent in the 1870s. The Vegmead Community Garden, located within Hedgemead Park, is a circular edible garden which is looked after on behalf of the community by the Vegmead Community Group.
12. The Circus
From Hedgemead Park, down Lansdown Road and along Bennett Street to the Circus. Regarded as a preeminent example of Georgian architecture, the Circus is divided into three segments of equal length, with a central lawn that is home to a group of large plane trees.
Once you’ve marvelled at the wonder of the Circus, head down Brock Street to Margaret’s Buildings, which is full of charming shops and independent businesses, as well as beautiful floral displays.
13. Royal Victoria Park
Wander along Brock Street to Royal Victoria Park, a 57-acre park which boasts the iconic Royal Crescent as its backdrop, with plenty of attractions and features to enjoy. As you wander around the park, look out for the Victorian bandstand, the sustainable flower beds, and the Harry Patch memorial planters at the Queens Parade entrance to the park.
You will also find Bath’s smallest garden centre, The Urban Garden, a social enterprise aiming to do business differently for the sake of our community and the environment.
In an adjoining plot to Royal Victoria Park, you will find the home of Bath Organic Group. You can join their sociable group of gardeners at their gardening sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 10am to 1pm.
14. The Botanical Gardens
The final location of the tour is the Botanical Gardens in Royal Victoria Park, which boasts one of the finest collections of plants on limestone in the West Country. Within its nine-and-a-half acres, you will find trees, shrubs, a fine herbaceous border, a rock garden and pool, a scented walk, a collection of old shrub roses, and a replica of a Roman Temple.
As you wander around the Botanical Gardens, don’t miss the Bath WI Garden, a small, multi-award-winning garden that is entirely made up of edible, insect-friendly plants and flowers.