When you cross the river, leaving Bath, and walk uphill for a little over a mile, you find Prior Park Landscape Garden, which is a National Trust Property. This 28 acre piece of property boasts six miles of walking trails with amazing views of Bath in the distance as well as one of four surviving Palladian bridges.
Prior Park has its beginnings with entrepreneur Ralph Allen, who purchased the property and had it landscaped to compliment his home, which was of Palladian architecture and designed by John Wood the Elder. The house still exists, but was sold to the Catholic church in 1828. The house is now Prior Park College, though the students have sweeping views of the park on a daily basis–lucky ducks!
Prior Park’s trails vary and have several follies, the remains of Prior Park’s ice house, which they are still excavating, the restored Serpentine, and a small waterfall or two.
Despite our long uphill trek to Prior Park, I would say it was worth the walk. We brought a picnic and sat on benches (the ground was still wet from a recent rain) just below the school, looking over the Palladian bridge and Bath in the distance. It was a wonderful lunchtime view! If you do decide to take in Prior Park and walk like we did, the exit at the bottom of the hill is supposed to now be opened for entry to the Park as well (At least, that is what we were told on our visit. We missed the change by a few days.), so do check the National Trust’s website for directions there. My only warning is it is a small road, so you have to watch for cars as there is no pavement/sidewalk. While the original and main exit is a big uphill, it does have a pavement. There was also no parking at the entrance, so if you drive, check the website for the closest parking.
After our foray to Prior Park, we walked back up Lansdowne to Hedgemead Park where my children, despite their constant complaining on the walk back that their feet hurt, wanted to play. Hedgemead is a lovely park for a stroll and has a good playground. After the kids had their fill, we walked around and I happened upon St. Swithin’s Church, which you can find at the end of the Paragon in the Walcot section of Bath.
For those who are unfamiliar with St. Swithin’s, it was the parish where Jane Austen’s parents were married (Though it was a smaller church that stood before this one. It was demolished and replaced due to the growing population in Bath at the time.) and is also the church where Jane Austen’s father, the Rev. George Austen is buried.
I didn’t go into the churchyard to find his grave, but did get a picture from Hedgemead park.
My last fun bit was to walk just up from where we stayed at the end of Camden Place to actually look at Camden Place and take photos of the building. It’s a tricky building to get a good photo of, due to its length and the busy road in front. I tried a panorama at one point when a car came barreling around the corner, creating a strange blip in the panorama. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing the building where Sir Walter Eliot lived in Persuasion. 🙂
Next up – Cambridge – Sedgwick Museum and Fitzwilliam Museum