Step Back in Time with ‘Capability’ Brown
Nestled unassuming in the fertile hillside, is a sweeping valley with magnificent views over the historic city of Bath. Prior Park Landscape Garden dates back to the eighteenth-century and was created by Bath-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Ralph Allen, who took wise advice from the infamous landscape architect of the time Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
The entrance sits on a steep incline, from which you can gently wind round the perimeter of the garden, following the path through a wooded glen, past historic hidden ruins of a thatched cottage and icehouse, as well as a reconstructed summerhouse, gothic temple and grotto designed by Allen’s poetic advisor Alexander Pope. You can also watch a virtual tour of the garden as it was back in 1764.
Having stumbled across these architectural treasures, the feature piece still lies in wait. Sat pride of place above the lake at the bottom of the valley, is the iconic Palladian Bridge, one of only four in the world, which makes it pretty special. The garden is a natural playground for all the family to enjoy, with plenty of space for the kids to explore; whether that be climbing up and swinging on trees, building a den, or on the hunt for mini-beasts.
Prior Park is a bounty of beautiful flora and fauna all-year round, its foliage and flowers changing with the seasons. At this time of year the Beech and Maple trees offer some of the richest colour, with a particularly fine Norwegian variety to be found on the west side of the garden. Autumn also brings crisp mornings, as a range of berries ripen on the bushes.
The property is owned by the National Trust, which means that there is a small fee if you aren’t already a member, but 10% goes back into essential garden restoration. Guided walks are available from February through to October on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30am and last entry is one hour before closing.