Bristol’s Best Parks and Gardens

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Bristol boasts plenty of natural spaces where you can escape the bustle of city life. Here’s a list of our favourites all accessible from the city centre:

Queen Square

Queen Square, Bristol, BS1 4NH

A magnificent Georgian square on 2.4 hectares (or six acres) in the heart of Bristol with eight walkways leading into the central area with benches. The park is often packed with local workers on their lunchbreaks and visitors to the city enjoying its scenery. Most of the pretty three-story brick townhouses surrounding Queen Square are now listed buildings, and the central statue of Wliiliam III as a Roman Emperor on horseback is rather grand, making this a picturesque place for picnics and city strolls.

Castle Park

Broad Weir, Bristol BS1 3XB

Castle Park sits between Bristol’s Shopping Quarter and its ‘floating harbour’ harbour in the River Avon. It is a popular spot for runners and those on more calm and contemplative strolls, with plenty of artworks set in the park, from creative seats and a carved stone throne to a unique water fountain. Much of this area of the city was badly affected by the Bristol Blitz bombings by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, leaving behind the ruins of Bristol Castle and two churches - St Mary le Port and St Peter’s Church in the centre, where a herb garden now grows in the former churchyard. 

Every Winter there are German Christmas markets in St Peter’s Square, and for the last few summers a tethered balloon has been placed near the bandstand, offering sightseers the chance to ascend to the sky for an aerial view of the park the city.

Bristol University Botanical Gardens

Stoke Park Rd, Stoke Bishop, Bristol BS9 1JG | Open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm

With a mission to “educate, communicate and conserve”, the University of Bristol’s Botanical Gardens are open to the general public to display their cultivations of 4,500 species from over 200 plant families from across the world - all on one five-acre site. There are a number of special collections including the Chinese and Western Medicine Herb Gardens, the Mediterranean Collection, plus glasshouses hosting flowers from the Amazon Rainforest and the Highweld in South Africa. As well as this, the Botanical Garden maintain a living gene bank of threatened species from the South West of England. There is information provided throughout about all the plants you see.

Entry to the Gardens is £9 for most adults and free to students, staff and alumni of the University.

Brandon Hill

Park St, Bristol BS1 5RR | Open every day 8am-6pm

Brandon Hill, just a twenty-minute walk from Castle Park right in the city centre, is the oldest park in Bristol, offering  gorgeous gardens and views down to the city from its benches or from the 105-foot tall Cabot Tower, which is free to climb, built in 1897 on the steep upper park of the hill. The whole site is divided into informal gardens, a small nature reserve on (2 hectares) and open grassland. The paths are lined with majestic trees, and down the hill lies an active lake where ducks and swans swim. On a small island in the middle of that lake you can see squirrels, birds and wondering about.

There is also a childen’s play area, plus a skate park and a small basketball court, so there’s plenty for everyone in this natural oasis in the city.

Clifton Downs

Stoke Road, Bristol BS9 1FG

Sometimes referred to as ‘Bristol’s green lung’, the Down begins by Clifton Suspension Bridge, with the Clifton Observatory offering stunning views of the bridge, the gorge and the River Avon. Walk north along the river to where Stoke Road straddles Clifton Down and Durdham Down on the other side, and it looks like you are surrounded by miles and miles of countryside because across the river lies Leigh Woods, a nature reserve kept by The National Trust.

Next to the Clifton Observatory, and overlooking the famous Suspension Bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, you can slide down the increasingly popular ‘Clifton Rock Slide’, a strip of rock that has been smoothed by thousands of Bristolian behinds over the decades!