Rare chance to visit ‘hidden gem’ Bristol garden with diamonds, ammonites and a grotto

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The gardens at Goldney House in Clifton are normally closed to the public

People in Bristol will have the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and rich heritage of one of the city’s hidden gardens.

The University of Bristol is inviting people to explore its celebrated grounds at Goldney House in Clifton through a series of specialist garden history tours which begin this Wednesday (April 19) and run on various weekdays until Monday, September 11.

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Normally closed to the public, the ornate garden tucked behind Goldney House, in Clifton Wood, includes a heritage orchard, an ornamental garden, an orangery, a canal and tower, a rotunda and bastion, Corinthian columns and the elaborate grotto which is one of the finest surviving examples of an 18th century garden grotto in Britain.

Alan Stealey, Head of External Estates at the University of Bristol, said: “Goldney is one of Bristol’s hidden gems and it is great to be able to open up this space to visitors for these interesting and insightful tours.

“The University takes great pride in maintaining a large number of listed buildings and gardens and we’re looking forward to sharing this slice of Bristol’s heritage with the public once again.”

The tour will include the original flag garden, Hercules, the Rotunda, the Bastion, the Tower, Canal, Heritage Orchard and Grotto (believed to be one of the finest surviving examples of an eighteenth-century garden grotto in Britain with walls and pillars laden with a variety of Bristol Diamonds (quartz), rare shells, corals, rocks and fossils).

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The Grotto also has a rock pool overlooked by a river god and a Lion’s Den. The guide for the tours, Angela Nutbrown, has extensive knowledge of Bristol’s history as well as an MA in Garden History.

The fountain and pond at Goldney Hall gardens in CliftonThe fountain and pond at Goldney Hall gardens in Clifton
The fountain and pond at Goldney Hall gardens in Clifton | photojB

To book a tour, visit Historic Garden Tours | University of Bristol Online Shop. You can also purchase a copy of the University of Bristol Historic Gardens book from the online shop.

The team also offer bespoke tours for groups to one or more of the university’s historic gardens - these include the Goldney, Clifton Hill House and Royal Fort gardens. Email [email protected] for queries about bespoke tours.

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