We were staying in Bath for a few days and as we are members of the National Trust decided to visit their Prior Park Landscape Garden. It was one of the stops on the City Sightseeing Tour which made it easily accessible for us from the city centre, as we had travelled to Bath by train.
We really didn't know what to expect but a lady warmly welcomed us at the entrance and handed me what she described as "a personal letter" to us as esteemed guests! As well as containing a map It explained that the garden had been created in the 1700s by Ralph Allen, a local businessman. He had made a fortune by reorganising the British postal system and then he invested in the stone quarries near to here, using the stone to build his magnificent mansion, Prior Park.
It's now used as a school so not open to the public but we spent a very pleasant hour and a half exploring the winding paths leading to the old grotto, restored summerhouse and even a ruined Gothic temple. We had been warned that some of the paths were very steep but luckily as it was a dry day they weren't slippery. There were no formal beds, just masses of trees and bushes.
We climbed up to a viewpoint for a magnificent view over Bath but the highlight of the visit was looking down to a Palladian Bridge over the lake – it quite took our breath away. We followed the Horseshoe Walk round the lake and eventually arrived at the Tea Shed. There we enjoyed a delicious cake and cup of coffee ( by showing our Sightseeing Bus ticket we were entitled to a free coffee or tea).
By exiting the Gardens by the lake it saved having to climb up the steep slope and though we could have caught the bus we decided to stroll back into the city.
It had been a surprising and most enjoyable visit.