To help you discover the very best of Bath’s green spaces, our Welcome Ambassadors share their favourite parks in Bath…
ROYAL VICTORIA PARK
“As a near neighbour and regular visitor, Royal Victoria Park has to be my favourite; it has something for every activity level and mood!
“In the early morning, you might come across an outdoor yoga class; later in the day, there could be hot air balloons setting up for an evening flight. Sunny afternoons bring walkers, runners, families, friends, dogs, footballs, frisbees and picnics to the various parkland areas, with plenty of wide open spaces for all.
“If you like to surround yourself with noisy activity and laughter, there is also the Children’s Playground and Bath Skatepark. If you prefer quiet solitude to read a book or just listen to birdsong, there are many peaceful corners to be found in the Botanical Gardens, Great Dell, or outer fringes of the park.
“With wilding areas, ponds, hidden statues, a replica Roman Temple, tennis courts, mini-golf, a bowling green, a café, and even an ice rink over the Christmas period, Royal Victoria Park is truly a park for everyone!”
“Bath, of course, has many lovely green and open spaces, but if I were to choose a favourite, it would be more a location within a park, rather than a park itself.
“Royal Victoria Park is the largest recreational setting within the city, and is enthusiastically used by many residents and visitors. However, when I find myself there, I always seem to graduate toward the space immediately below the Royal Crescent, known as ‘Crescent Fields’. This open grassed area affords a wonderful view of one of Bath’s architectural gems, and often allows a quiet sit to just look, enjoy, and play with your thoughts.”
“At the end of Great Pulteney Street, behind The Holburne Museum (previously the Sydney Hotel), is the only remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in Bath, Sydney Gardens. Opened in 1795 and set in 12 acres, it was the place for the wealthy to mix and socialise with minimal supervision. The day would begin with large breakfasts, and would be spent walking, dancing, taking tea, and enjoying the labyrinth and circus acts, with more dancing, concerts and fireworks in the evenings. It was a loud and lively place!
“Today, it is quieter, with remnants of the past in the historic trees and buildings. You can access the Kennet and Avon Canal, go for a relaxed stroll, watch the trains and boats from the two bridges, lie back on the grass, or sit in or outside the café at the back of The Holburne for a snack and a chat.
“Thanks to Lottery and Council grants, work has begun on restoring the park, enhancing many historic features and incorporating a variety of activities appealing to all ages, and this is due to be completed at the end of this year.
“So my choice is this park, which has a vibrant past, a peaceful present and an exciting future!”
“My favourite park for people-watching is Parade Gardens. The lawns are manicured, there are always gorgeous flower beds to admire, and they have an excellent café. It’s a place where you and your family can safely admire the weir and Pulteney Bridge, and watch the boat trips come and go.
“When I visit, I am reminded of watching outdoor Shakespeare performances – with the beautiful Bath Abbey as the backdrop – and seeing Jane Austen lookalikes parading around every September.”
“We are very lucky in Bath to have so many wonderful parks: Alexandra Park, with stunning views over the city; Royal Victoria Park, with the largest and best playground in the area, as well as duck ponds, botanical gardens and barbeque picnic areas; Parade Gardens, with views of Pulteney Bridge and the weir.
“My favourite is Henrietta Park – an oasis of peace and calm in the centre of the city. The park was opened in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, with land donated by Captain Forester of Bathwick, with the stipulation that it should always remain a green space and never be built on.
“The seven acres of Henrietta Park lie behind the grand houses of Great Pulteney Street and have spacious lawns under magnificent trees, shrubberies and flower beds. The park is popular with dog walkers and families and is just wonderfully peaceful. There is a Garden of Remembrance, with beautiful bedding displays arranged around a central pool and fountain, which is also a scented garden for the blind.
“A top tip on a sunny day is to buy a picnic from one of the many tea or coffee shops around Pulteney Bridge and head away from the crowds to Henrietta Park. You’ll find plenty of shade from the trees, plenty of benches, and public toilets (that require a 20p coin for use)!”