CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Somerset Life today CLICK HERE

Royal Victoria Park: A jewel in Bath’s crown

PUBLISHED: 12:08 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:08 02 May 2017

Royal Victoria Park is one of the city’s unmissable green spaces, says Rachael Sharpe

Park with pedigree

Originally an arboretum, Royal Victoria Park, which is just a few minutes walk from Bath city centre, spans 57 acres of green parkland, with the iconic Royal Crescent as its backdrop. As its name suggests, the park is named after Queen Victoria, who officially opened it as Princess Victoria, in 1830, when she was just 11 years old. It was the first park to carry her name and and includes an obelisk dedicated to her. Originally, the park was managed by a committee of Bath’s wealthy and financed by voluntary contributions, until it was taken over by Bath City Council in 1921.

Royal beginnings have been just that for the park beginnings – today it’s hugely popular with both Bath residents and visitors and for good reason as it’s beautiful, clean and has a plethora of attractions catering for all ages and tastes. Testament to this, Royal Victoria Park has received a Green Flag award, the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales. Furthermore, it is Grade I registered by English Heritage on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens – quite the pedigree.

Family friendly

Royal Victoria Park is a great place for families. Children will be delighted (and hopefully worn out by) with the large adventure playground, where they can fly along the zip wire, become king or queen of the pyramid climbing frame and generally make good use of all the fun play equipment. When it’s time to calm down, why not use one of the picnic areas, have a barbecue in one of the designated spots (facilities for disposable barbecues and bespoke heat-proof bins for disposal), or just enjoy an ice cream? Feeding the ducks is always a big hit too.

Get active

Of course the park is the perfect place for a scenic and sweet-smelling walk, jog or run. If you fancy something different you can enjoy a game of tennis or challenge some friends to mini golf – the 18 holes are trickier than they look! Extreme sports fans flock to the skate park, which was refurbished in 2015 and includes concrete bowls sunk into the ground and one of of the only vert ramps in the country.

Botanical gardens

One of the year round highlights of the park is the Botanical Gardens, located in the north west corner. Formed in 1887 and occupying a huge 9.5 acres they offer a brilliant collection of plants on limestone.

A must-visit, and indeed an inspiration for many gardeners, the Botanical Gardens are so beautiful they’re a treat for anyone who appreciates nature. The scented walk is particularly relaxing and you’ll also discover many choice trees, shrubs, a fine herbaceous border, a rock garden and pool and a collection of old shrub roses.

The gardens also boast a beautiful replica of a Roman Temple, which was in fact the city of Bath’s exhibit at the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924.

The Botanical Gardens were extended in 1987, to mark the centenary, incorporating the Great Dell, a disused stone quarry and formerly part of the park itself, which already boasted a covetable collection of conifers, including large North American conifers which had been planted in the 1840s.

These days the Great Dell is a wonderful sunken woodland garden, which boasts a plethora of beautiful and fascinating plants. Be sure not to miss the aerial walkway in the Great Dell, which is situated at the northern end of the park next to the Botanic Gardens. Recently restored by Bath and North East Somerset Council, the original route around the Dell has been resumed, providing a series of truly breathtaking viewpoints, amongst the exciting collection of unusual and specimen trees – great vantage points for any budding photographers.

Walking into the Botanical Gardens you can’t fail to be impressed with the 7m high chainsaw sculpture by local artist, Lee Dickinson – a true work of art. This sculpture was done in 2001 after the park lost its Giant Redwood brought over to the UK in the 1850s to Honey Fungus and decided a sculpture would be a fitting celebration of its life and place within the park.

For more beautiful gardens in Somerset, take a look at our favourite here.

Temple of Minerva

The Temple of Minerva, situated within the Botanical Gardens, was originally designed to promote Bath stone at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition in London and is a truly stunning piece of architecture. The listed building sadly fell into disrepair and was subject to anti-social behaviour, before benefitting from the eight-year restoration project in the park which also saw the reintroduction of perimeter railings and entrance gates, repairs need to the bandstand and general landscape improvements. The temple now back to its former glory, was given a new lease of life as an education centre for groups of up to 40 people, showing educational videos, hosting exhibitions and also providing information for visitors.

The Interpretation Centre has a 15-minute video explaining the Heritage Lottery Fund restoration of Royal Victoria Park along with other information and occasional exhibitions – well worth a watch if you visit. The Temple of Minerva is now also used for weddings, civil ceremonies and receptions and what a picture perfect venue it is!

When the weather is warm, Royal Victoria Park is the prefect place to relax, enjoy the sunshine and picnic or barbecue or just read a book in beautiful surroundings. Visit in the mornings or evenings and you might see the hot air balloons taking off before they fly over the city.

If you visit Bath in the colder months, the park is still well worth a visit – the autumnal landscape is a riot of colour sure to lift the spirits and the open-air ice rink (November/December) is really quite magical.

Visit to access the park’s calendar and plan your visit.

For more to do in Bath, check out our guide to the city’s unmissable events.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Somerset Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Somerset Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Somerset Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Every house has a history, some more so than others, but as Catherine Courtenay discovers, it’s very often the homeowners themselves who create its unique identity

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An 18th century manor house, which played a pivotal part in the history of English poetry, is up for sale

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Monday, June 25, 2018

Gardener and broadcaster Toby Buckland delivers his expert advice

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

We look at the people who are flying the flag for Somerset at this year’s prestigious Chelsea Flower Show

Read more
Thursday, May 3, 2018

From flower gardens and greenhouses, to allotments and endless cider, people from all over Somerset are invited to down tools and celebrate their gardens no matter what size, shape or form on May 13 for Somerset Garden Day

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Add colour to your garden now with the top flowers of March and this season will be all the brighter

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Houseplants are a hot interior trend at the moment and can completely transform a room - but they have their downsides! Gardener and broadcaster Toby Buckland delivers his expert advice

Read more
Thursday, December 21, 2017

Richard Cooke and his partner Michael Taylor knew they wanted to buy their home as soon as they saw the front garden bursting with life and colour, they tell Victoria Jenkins

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

subscription ad

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search