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Bristol’s top parks and gardens to explore

19/05/2021 philip Features

While well-known for its innovative industrial wonders like the Floating Harbour, the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the legendary SS Brunel, the city of Bristol is also home to some of Britain’s most beautiful green spaces and gardens dedicated to nature. From botanical collections to stately country parks, there are a wealth of outdoor adventures to experience around this Somerset city. Join us now as we look take a closer look at some of the top places to stretch your legs and enjoy all that’s green in Bristol.

Clifton and Durdham Downs

Informally known as “The Downs”, this greenspace offers visitors stunning scenery at the city’s edge. For those yearning for wide, open spaces, this public expanse is a favourite of cyclists, horse riders and kite flyers keen for fresh air and exercise.

A host of history can be found here too for those with a thirst for knowledge, with the site being home to a hill fort from the Iron Age at Clifton Camp and a part of a Roman road that links Sea Mills to the city of Bath.

University of Bristol Botanic Gardens

First established in 1882, these world-famous botanical gardens have had many homes around the city, including Royal Fort House and Bracken Hill, which is near North Road’s Leigh Woods. Since 2005, they have been based at the Holmes in Stoke Bishop, and they currently play host to around 4,500 different species of plant life.

The collected flora within the gardens has been divided into several dedicated categories waiting to be investigated, including local, rare and useful plants, as well as those native to the Mediterranean. A large glasshouse onsite also boasts a wealth of exotics, from orchids and cacti to carnivorous, insect-eating plants. The university’s Botanic Gardens also boast a collection of sacred lotuses, and a giant Amazon waterlily.

Ashton Court Estate

Finally, this outstanding country park is only a mere 10 minutes from Bristol’s city centre and has its own mansion set in 850 acres of lush wood and grassland. Home to all manner of flora and fauna, including wild deer and aged oaks, the park was designed by the acclaimed Humphry Repton, who has been described as one of the greatest English landscape designers of the eighteenth century. This impressive country estate is also renowned for hosting the International Bristol Balloon Fiesta each year in August, with organisers already planning 2021’s event, in line with government advice.

Those seeking a hot air balloon trip over Bristol won’t have to wait until summer strikes to catch an aerial view of the city, however, as balloon rides can be booked launching directly from this impressive estate.

Whether you’re looking to view the city’s parks and gardens from the skies on a hot air balloon flight or on foot by following trails, you’ll discover green expeditions are abundant in Bristol. Regardless of whether you call the city home or are planning a trip to South West England, make sure you take the time to visit these verdant places.

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