Historic Garden Tours

Historic Garden Tours

Booking information: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/gardens-events

The University of Bristol is very fortunate to have a large number of historic gardens, often attached to buildings of architectural importance. Many of these historic assets have been as a result of bequests made to the University by wealthy benefactors and now form an impressive collection of buildings and gardens. Most of the gardens are attached to Halls of Residence and inaccessible to the general public. However, through a variety of guided tours/events and talks we hope to raise the awareness of these assets showcasing, not only the premises, but also the flora and fauna within them. 

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TYPES OF TOUR

FREE TO VISIT Not guided and free entry all year round  
BESPOKE TOURS For Groups/Organisations - (minimum 15 people) May to September
SCHEDULED TOURS Available to general public, bookable online April to September
BIODIVERSITY TOURS Available to general public, bookable online April to September

Please contact us if you have any queries regarding the suitability of the event. 

PRICES

Scheduled Specialist Garden History tours the price will be £10 and include a copy of the University's Historic Gardens book
We are unable to offer concessions on these tours but please contact us if you have any special requirements.

Please Note:

We do not allow dogs on garden visits (unless they are assistance dogs). Children must be supervised at all times.

There are no refreshment or toilet facilities on site but the gardens are close to local amenities and public toilets can be found:

 FREE TO VISIT

 ROYAL FORT GARDEN, Tyndall Ave, Clifton Bristol, BS8 1UH

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Royal Fort Garden is open all-year-round and can easily be accessed by road, foot and public transport. 

The garden surrounds the site of the original fort (created to defend the City during the Civil War) although little can be seen today.  With four centuries of history the land now accommodates Royal Fort House (home of the Tyndall family).  In 1916, the house and pleasure grounds were bought by Henry Herbert Wills who donated the Fort to the University.  Thomas Tyndall had commissioned the landscape architect Humphry Repton to design the garden. He was acquainted with the Bristol area having previously worked for several merchants in the city and at Blaise Castle.  Today an impressive set of gates at the entrance to the drive leads up to the house and the garden hosts many beautiful plantings.

In 2009, to mark the University’s centenary, a sculpture was commissioned from the Danish artist Jeppe Hein, who took his inspiration for the interactive mirrored labyrinth to create vistas from Repton’s dextrous use of illusion.  

If you would like a specialist history tour of this garden with a guide please contact us.  There will be a charge of £10 and group booking arrangements apply.  You will receive a complimentary copy of the Historic Gardens Book.

BESPOKE TOURS (Groups/Clubs/Organisations)

These tours are suitable for groups, clubs or organisations wishing a private visit to one or more of the gardens from May to September.  Tours will be lead by a guide and each organiser will be contacted for booking requirements and arrangements.   We charge £5.50 per person (minimum of 15 people). 

These will include Goldney Garden, Royal Fort Garden and Clifton Hill House.  Each garden has its own merits but are all within close proximity of the centre of Bristol.   We will need a completed booking form to be able to process your request and will try to accommodate your requested dates as much as possible but some of the locations host events such as conferences and weddings and we will need to negotiate around these dates to ensure your visit is perfect!

On a number of occasions we have combined several tours, for example you may wish to visit Goldney Garden in the morning and the University Botanic Garden in the afternoon or perhaps Wills Memorial Building Tower!  We can make recommendations.

Royal Fort Tour 

Starting at the entrance to the Royal Fort Drive this tour will provide a historical overview of the changes in the landscape over four centuries on the site and an insight into the developments and influences of those changes.   The tour will view the University Centenary art installation by Jeppe Hein, titled ‘Follow Me’.  Please note there is no access to the house.

Goldney Garden 

This tour will be for those wishing to visit Goldney Garden and will look at the history of the garden, its features (including the site of the original flag garden, Hercules, the rotunda, the bastion, the tower, the canal, the grotto and the subterraneous passage).  The tour will commence outside the Orangery and will end in the original Orchard.  Included in this tour will be a copy of the University’s Historic Gardens Book (Second Edition).

Clifton Hill House 

This tour offers an opportunity to look at one of the University’s historic gardens set in the heart of Clifton Village.  Clifton Hill House is a grade I palladian villa, now used as a hall of Residence.  The tour will cover the history of the site, the original design concepts of the garden, together with the work of the heritage volunteering scheme set up to restore the garden to its former glory.  This can be a dedicated visit or additional to visiting Goldney.  A Heritage Lottery Grant has been obtained to assist the refurbishment of this garden.

GROUP BOOKING FORM  Group Booking Tour (PDF, 135kB)

SCHEDULED TOURS (General Public)  To Book: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/gardens-events

An exciting range of tours will be scheduled from May to September on specific dates. These will be widely advertised and open to the general public. They will be available to book from March 2016 and bookable online, through the University online shop. Numbers are limited and all tours are guided.  Prices and duration may vary according to the subject and location of the event but full details will be given.

Royal Fort Tour (Specialist History Tour)

This tour will provide a historical overview of the changes in the landscape over four centuries on the site and an insight into the developments and influences of those changes.   The tour will view the University Centenary art installation by Jeppe Hein, titled ‘Follow Me’.  Please note there is no access to the house.

Goldney Garden (Specialist History Tour)

This tour will be for those wishing to visit Goldney Garden and will look at the history of the garden, its features (including the site of the original flag garden, Hercules, the rotunda, the bastion, the tower, the canal, the grotto and the subterraneous passage).  The tour will commence outside the Orangery and will end in the original Orchard.  Included in this tour will be a copy of the University’s Historic Gardens Book (Second Edition).

All these tours will be bookable via the Univeristy online shop http://www.bristol.ac.uk/gardens-events.

For further information please contact: 

Nicolette Smith, External Estates Department/Historic Gardens, 

University of Bristol, Waltham Cottage Yard, Hollybush Lane, Stoke Bishop, Bristol, BS9 1JB

e: nicolette.smith@bristol.ac.uk  t: 0117 4282409