Picnic in the Park…

The Great British weather may not be playing ball at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! There are loads of lovely green outdoor spaces in Bath; whether you want a kickabout with the kids or to soak up some exquisite Georgian landscaping, I can help you find the perfect place. And you needn’t worry about those pesky rainclouds ruining the day – there’s always a cafe or tea room to shelter in until the sun shines again!

I’ve mentioned Prior Park Landscape Garden before – just a short bus ride from the city centre, this National Trust property is a haven of rolling hills, babbling brooks and hidden botanical treasures. Open from 10am to 5.30pm with last entry one hour before closing, you’ll have plenty of time to wander to your heart’s content. If it rains, take shelter at the Tea Shed. Open from 11am to 4.30pm and serving a range of hot and cold drinks, cakes and ice creams, the Tea Shed has a beautiful view of the lakes and lots of outdoor seating for when the sun comes out again.

Admission is £6 for adults and £3.30 for children, with family tickets also available. And remember, if you’re a National Trust member, you can get in for free!

Parade Gardens are the most central park in Bath, just a stones throw from Three Abbey Green, and are a riot of colourful and whimsical floral displays. Concerts are held at the bandstand throughout the summer and the floral bedding displays, which change every year, won a Gold award in last years Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom competition. The kids will love this years theme! There is a small refreshment stand within the gardens open from 11am to 5pm, and the central location means there are plenty of other tea shops and cafes within easy reach if you need to get out of the rain.

Admission is £1.20 for adults and £0.80 for children, students and senior citizens and the gardens are open from 10am to 7pm daily.

The Royal Victoria Park was opened by the eleven year old Queen Victoria in 1830, making it one of the earlies public parks in the country. The parks 57 acres include the beautiful Botanical Garden, which is not to be missed – the Magnolia trees are stunning! The park also incorporates a large children’s play area and skateboard park, and if the grown-ups want to play too there’s a putting green, bowling green, tennis courts and model boating lake to choose from!

The Pavilion cafe is situated in the heart of the park with a lovely view, and is open from 8am to 5pm. The park is open daily until dusk and entry is free to all.

Beautiful and tranquil examples of Victorian and Georgian landscaping, Henrietta Park and Sydney Gardens are located near either end of the iconic Great Pulteney Street, close to Pulteney Bridge and Weir. Whether you wish to take a moment to reflect beside the fountain at the King George V memorial in Henrietta park, or lose yourself in Austen or Thackeray and escape from the bustle of the city for a few quiet moments, these are the perfect places to do it. Sydney Gardens is directly adjacent to the Holburne Museum, whose Garden Cafe is open from 10am to 5pm (11am to 5pm Sundays and Bank Holidays). Admission to the museum and both parks is free to all.

If you want to venture a little further out of the city centre, these smaller gems are well worth the walk:

Hedgemead Park is located between Walcott Street and London Road, in an area known as Baths ‘artisan quarter’. The park was formally opened in 1889, after the land had lain derelict for many years following a landslide that tragically destroyed the houses originally located on the site. The parks layout and construction were engineered to prevent future landslides – please note that this park is unsuitable for wheelchair users due to steep slopes and steps. Don’t worry if you get caught by one of those pesky unseasonable rainshowers – Made By Ben on Walcott Street serves some truly delicious quiches and pies, as well as a selection of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and cakes.

St Stephens Millennium Green is in the Lansdown area, just off Richmond Road. The green is maintained by a community trust and was created in 1999 with the help of a grant from the Millennium Commission and contributions from local businesses and community members. Entry is free though donations toward the upkeep of the park will be gratefully received.

Alexandra Park is located just off Shakespeare Avenue in the Bear Flat area, and boasts some magnificent panoramic views of the city of Bath – amateur photographers take note! With public toilets and a childrens play area, the park is the perfect spot for a picnic – or you can pop down the road for a tasty pub lunch at The Bear.

So there you have it folks – Bath may well be a contender for the greenest and pleasantest city ‘in Englands green and pleasant land’. So what are you waiting for? Pack your sunscreen (and your umbrella) – we can’t wait to see you!

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