Historic Garden Tours

‌Historic Garden Tours 2020

April and May tours have been cancelled - we will review all other scheduled tours closer to Easter

Tours run from April to September and are bookable through the University's online shop at: 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 we hope to raise the awareness of these assets, showcasing these magnificent premises. This year we have a number of tours of Goldney Garden and these are Specialist Garden History Tours.

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For Scheduled Specialist Garden History tours the price will be £10/12 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 close to the Suspension Bridge (BS8 3ZZ).  Parking can be found at: West End multistorey car park, Berkeley Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1EH


 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 £6/£8 per person depending on the gardens visited (minimum of 15 people). 

These can 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.

Download the Historic Gardens Booking Form (PDF, 1,176kB)

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