A host of free activities are being offered to local residents in Bath’s Sydney Gardens, starting in May and running through the summer, encouraging them to explore the historic location.
The gardens, which are the UK’s only surviving Georgian Pleasure Gardens, will provide the backdrop to events ranging from play sessions for children and young people to Tai Chi.
The events are designed to encourage more people to explore the gardens, which are undergoing restoration following a £2.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Sydney Gardens first opened in 1795 and were a favourite sport of Jane Austen. The project to restore the Gardens will involve extensive heritage and wildlife conservation work and areas of the park that are currently closed to the public will be reopened.
Historic features including the Loggia, Minerva’s Temple and the Edwardian toilets will be restored. Flower gardens will be replanted and wildlife habitats, viewpoints will be improved.
The three-year project to restore the gardens is being enhanced with a year-round programme of activities and events.
Keith Rowe, Sydney Gardens project manager, said: “We want to encourage a wide diversity of people to explore and use the gardens and have an events programme which we hope will have a wide appeal.
“The gardens’ character changes throughout the day and the seasons so we’ve tried to schedule activities throughout the year to enable people to experience all the gardens have to offer, while watching the restoration work progress.”
May offers a variety of free activities and events to take part in, including:
Free after school play sessions
Every Wednesday from 3.30pm to 5.30pm until the end of the summer term the Bath Area Play Project is holding free after school play sessions.
The sessions, which will be held by the felled tree on the Lower Lawn, involve games, sports and fun activities and are suitable for children aged 5+ (Under 8’s need to be accompanied by an adult). For further information call: 01225 832479 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bird Songs and Calls
On Monday 6th May from 8.00am to 10.30am, Lucy Delve (BathNats, RSPB and Friend of Sydney Gardens) will be leading a free canal side stroll from Sydney Gardens to Bathampton and back.
Participants will be able to listen to and learn about birdsong and calls. There are fourteen places available on the walk. To book a place go through the link on www.bathnes.gov.uk/sydneygardensactivities.
Tai Chi in the Park
Every Sunday between 12th May and 11th August from 12.30pm – 1.30pm, free Tai Chi sessions are being led by teacher Paddy Nisbett. The sessions, which can accommodate 25 people, are suitable for anyone over the age of 14 (under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult).
No experience is needed and newcomers and beginners are welcome. Meet at the park entrance behind the Holburne Museum. Arrive 5 minutes early to register.
Mindfulness in the Park
For people interested in learning about Mindfulness, Huw Griffiths from Mindfulness Bath will be leading Mindfulness sessions in the gardens starting on Friday 17th May between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. Sessions will run in 4 week blocks over the summer through to the end of August.
The free sessions are suitable for anyone over the age of 14 (under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult). Go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/sydneygardensactivities for the link to reserve a place.
Future summer events in Sydney Gardens include:
Forest of Imagination
Thursday 20th June to Monday 24th June – Holburne Museum & Sydney Gardens
Peace Oak Commemoration
Saturday 6th July, 2.30pm – 3.30pm. Mark the 100th anniversary. All welcome, with free tea and buns.
Roman Archaeology Day
Saturday 20th July, 11am – 3pm. Go and find out about the amazing Roman history of Sydney Gardens with a stone carving demonstration, activities for children and a talk about burial rituals and ceremonies with Dr John Troyer.
Friends of Sydney Gardens Community Day
Sunday 15th September, 1pm – 4pm. A live iron forge. Stalls, play, games and activities for all.
Over the summer and early autumn, the Sydney Garden Project will also be hosting visits from older people partnering with Age UK B&NES, starting a weekly Sydney Gardening Club, holding Dementia Friendly walks and talks, Hidden History talks and a Nature Tots group.
The project works closely with the Friends of Sydney Gardens, a community group dedicated to supporting the park. To join the Friends visit: www.friendsofsydneygardens.org.