Capability Brown 300 anniversary month at Prior Park – June 2016

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Somerset.

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Somerset.

A celebration of the 300th anniversary of landscape gardener Capability Brown, is being held at Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath.

The National Trust, which cares for Prior Park, is taking part in the national celebrations for the tercentenary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with a series of events, classes and workshops throughout June.

Mystery surrounds the involvement of Capability Brown at Prior Park. A sum of £60 was still owed to him at the time of Prior Park owner Ralph Allen’s death, though it is not clear what this fee covered. His influence on the garden is clear though, with rolling hills, the serpentine lake and typical garden features such as the gothic temple and lakes.


The National Trust in Bath are encouraging visitors to celebrate the work of Capability Brown and the landscape garden style through a variety of events.

Local poet, Alice Madicott will be holding poetry workshops for both amateurs and those who are more experienced writers. There is a workshop for families, and one for adults, encouraging participants to find their poetic voice and respond to the landscape.

Local artist Richard Grinter, who is well known for his oil paintings of Bath will be holding 4 painting classes. Under guidance from Richard, ticket holders to these classes will learn the joy of painting ‘en plein air’ in the surroundings of the garden with whatever medium they choose. All materials are provided in these classes.

The Prior Park gardeners will be hosting ‘walks and talks’, a chance to go deeper into the landscape of Prior Park, and discover the wider influence of Capability Brown on garden history.

For those who want a rare opportunity to discuss all things gardens, there’ll be a ‘tea with the head gardener’ event, where head gardener Matthew Ward recalls 20 years working at Prior Park. He’ll share stories of the restoration the garden has undergone, as well as offering a few tips for your own garden.

Prior Park (c)National Trust Images / James Dobson

There will be a self-led CB300 trail for children and families, available from visitor reception throughout June.

Anna Kilcooley, visitor experience co-ordinator said, ‘We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to Prior Park to celebrate the tercentenary with us throughout June. Our series of workshops, talks and classes means there’s something for everyone to take part in, to immerse themselves in the garden.’

Visitors will also be able to visit the newly installed Grotto ‘digital tour’ in mid-June – an immersive digital tour through the garden as it would have been in the 18th century.

Details of events and how to book:

  • Poetry workshops – Sun 19 June – families 10am-12pm ,£10 adult, £7 child; adult session for ages 15+ 1-4pm £20. Booking advised
  • Painting classes – Wed 1, Tue 7, Sat 11, Sun 26 Jun, 10:30-3:30pm £55
  • Walk and talk with the gardeners – Fri 3 June 2pm, Fri 17 June 11am. £3
  • Tea with the head gardener – Wed 8 June 11am, Wed 22 June 2pm. £7.50 including hot drink and guidebook
  • Call 0844 249 1895 or go online to book.

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