In the heart of Bath is a sweeping valley.
A place of peace & quiet. A tranquil green landscape that allows you to escape from life and enter a world of nature.
If this sounds like your kind of travel experience, come along for a stroll in Prior Park Landscape Garden.
There’s no shortage of lovely landscapes when it comes to Bath, England. In part because Bath is a city and countryside rolled into one.
Right next to the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city of Bath is the beautiful landscape garden of Prior Park. A peaceful oasis made to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
It’s a place to quiet your mind and take in the beauty of nature.
Something it seems we could all use a bit more of that in today’s hyper-stimulated world!
Why? Because engaging in wellness travel can make any type of trip richer & more enjoyable.
Since walking is a great way to stay in shape during travel, it often makes my list of things to do in Bath, and beyond.
I love Georgian architecture, so Bath is a somewhat regular stop when in England. This summer I was lucky enough to get back to Prior Park for another visit. Join me for a relaxing walk through the park.
A Stroll in Prior Park
Prior Park is an 18th-century landscape garden that is owned by The National Trust.
The park was originally laid out between 1734-1744. The garden’s showpiece, The Palladian bridge was added in 1755.
Then later, the hilly slopes were added by the famous landscape architect Capability Brown.
Upon arrival at the gardens, you are greeted by a small shed with visitors’ information.
Here, you will find the Wildlife Sighting Board. One of these days I am hoping to see finally see a badger up close and personal!
From the shed, a circular walking path encompasses the property. Making ambling at a leisurely pace a treat.
From here, I head up the hill towards the house.
After a jaunt through some tall cattails, I arrive at Sham Bridge. Here, I stop to ponder this architectural feature.
It’s like a mini-Palladian bridge, and you can’t help but wonder what it would have been like in the park’s heyday.
To pass over the bridge while chatting away about life in The Georgian Era.
Rounding the corner, Prior Park House majestically appears though an opening in the trees.
It’s as if the path was made to appreciate that small glimpse of Georgian splendor.
Prior Park House is a Grade 1 listed building that was built by John Wood, The Elder in the 1730s. It’s a harmonious piece of architecture.
This Palladian mansion is now privately owned, a school of all things!
It’s a pity, as I would love to see the inside of this beauty.
Even though the house is grand, the view looking back over the valley is even grander. The bench is an invitation to sit, rest and take in the view.
It’a sigh-worthy spot to experience.
After a respectable pause on the bench, it’s time to continue along the path.
Traveling only a few yards, I befriend two shiny Labrador Retrievers and of course their owners. 😉
I share with them my upcoming plans for my Cornwall vacation and they reassure me that I have made some scenic and challenging choices with my planned hikes. That’s good to hear!
Continuing along the quiet path, the rustic Summerhouse appears. Tucked away among the trees, it’s a quiet spot to sit and enjoy nature.
Past the Summerhouse, the path climbs to what is a commanding birds-eye view of Bath.
When you are in the center of Bath it buzzes with a vibrant city energy. Yet, up here Bath sits quietly nestled in the valley. It’s easy to feel removed from it all.
It’s a peaceful perspective from this vantage point and a wave of calm blankets me.
The sun finally looks to be making an appearance as I round the corner and spy some cows through the trees.
This little one chews away on the trees, clearly not very interested in me.
It’s a whimsical moment that makes me smile.
Continuing down the hill, the cows appear again.
With the cows now grazing in front of the house, the view looks like an old landscape painting.
The next stop is the focal feature of the park, the Palladian bridge, one of only 4 in the world.
Architecturally, it’s spectacular.
On a mindful level, it’s lovely to experience walking across it as the beams of sunlight cast lines of shadows across the walkway.
In fact, the bridge is what initially motivated me to visit Prior Park. Anything Palladian, and I am there!
The sun finally peeks out for a while as I make my way around the serpentine lakes.
The lush green landscape glistens and I feel the calming effect of nature.
How a wide-open space can feel so intimate, I’ll never know.
t’s one of those places you can feel completely connected to your surroundings, while also feeling like you are a part of something much bigger than yourself.
My bliss is interrupted as my stomach tells me that it’s time to find some food. Exiting the lower gate, there’s a narrow lane with old-world charm.
At the end of the lane is The Thomas Becket Church. Today it’s actually open, so I stop inside for a look.
This Grade 2 listed church dates back to 1490 and is still an active parish. A few volunteers were on hand to share the history of the church with me and entertain my curious questions.
It was an unexpected surprise and the perfect way to end the afternoon.
A Few Logistics…
Check the Prior Park website for opening hours and a schedule of guided walks which run seasonally.
Prior Park is located about a mile, slightly uphill from the city center. There is no onsite parking. But, the Bath City Sightseeing bus and the number 2 bus stop near the main entrance.
There is a tea shed for refreshment, and the park is dog friendly!
Above the park is the Bath Skyline walk, if you wish to continue your outdoor experience. Or make a stop at Prior Park part of your Skyline Walk.
If you are visiting multiple sites in The UK, consider buying a National Trust annual pass, it’s well worth the more Americans can buy The Royal Oak pass.
What’s so great about a historical garden like Prior Park is that you get to experience a piece of history while reaping benefits to your own well-being.
Travel meets wellness, the perfect combination for today’s fast-paced world!
until the next time…
…live well – travel well – be well
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