Saturday 21 January 2023

Prior Park Revisited

It's funny how you always tend to remember the good bits of a day out. For example, I set off on my revisit to Prior Park Landscape Garden today remembering that it was easy to get there from Bath train station and that the centre of Bath itself is close by, with all the bonus loveliness of that.

What I had forgotten is that Prior Park is at the top of a steep hill. And when you get inside the park, you basically have to walk down the hill again before having to go all the way back up it again. And then when you leave, you have to walk down it again. In short: you basically spend a lot of time on a hill in Bath.

BUT! Don't let that put you off, because it's a lovely place and totally worth the Grand Old Duke of Yorking that you have to do. It was also very, very cold today so I was glad of the exercise, frankly.

I went back to Prior Park Landscape Garden today because they didn't have any scones the first time I visited in 2015 and I'm trying to give every property a fair go before I finally complete this project in February. The gardens were created by an exceptional man called Ralph Allen - you can read all about him in my first post about Prior Park so I won't repeat it here. 

Last week's revisit to Hindhead Commons and the Devil's Punch Bowl had been glorious - it was very cold but very sunny. Today I got the very cold bit:

Palladian Bridge

But it didn't matter. The Palladian Bridge seems to look lovely in all weathers. 

The Prior Park Scone

The main thing I remembered about the Prior Park scone from 2015 was that they didn't have any. What I hadn't remembered (but my original blog post helpfully reminded me) is that I'd taken solace that day in a huge lump of carrot cake. So I was hopeful of some sort of baked treat.  

The other thing I recalled was that the refreshments at Prior Park had been right at the bottom of the hill, about as far away from the entrance as you could get. I had steeled myself for this today, so I was overjoyed when the woman at reception told me they'd moved it and it was now just a few short metres away. 

I walked around the corner and found the promised Tea Shed:

Prior Park Tea Shed

It looked really lovely and inviting, despite the cold. However, I've been on this National Trust Scone Odyssey for a long time now and I can tell when scones are less likely to be on the menu. I prepared for the worst - and was delighted to be wrong. The Tea Shed offered a choice of fruit scone, plain scone or cheese scone. I plumped for fruit.

Prior Park scone

Clearing the frost off the table was a first for this project but it was worth it, because the scone was a triumph. It was very slightly warm and tasted delicious - I did waver very slightly on the score but in the end it had to be a 5 out of 5.

I have to tell you that the city of Bath has form for requiring revisits. My first visit to Bath Assembly Rooms in 2013 ended in scone failure, so the Scone Sidekick and I went back in 2014. On that occasion we had a Bath Bun as well as a scone. Today I decided to buy another Bath Bun for old time's sake - I knew the Assembly Rooms were closed but I thought every bakery in Bath would serve them. Turns out they don't. But Bath is always an excellent day out, so I recommend a visit if you've never been. 

Prior Park Landscape Garden: 4 out of 5
Scone: 5 out of 5
Prettiness of work of Jack Frost: 5 out of 5


  1. I've only just discovered this project from BBC News today. What a wonderful pastime. As a member of the National Trust for about forty years, I am very envious. However, my condolences on the loss of your husband - that must have taken the edge off it somewhat.

  2. This is my favourite park in Bath, stunning bridge. I proposed to my wife here on the bridge and we had a scone afterwards :)

  3. Just happily read of your project in today's (3/5/23) Washington Post. We could be related, at least in the love of scones and travels! I am SUCH an aficionado of scones and when I was in Ireland last summer for nearly three weeks, I made it a goal to try them in as many different locations as I could. (The Giant's Causeway was one of our last stops before we ended our tour in Belfast-SO INCREDIBLE!.). And during the height of the COVID lockdown, I happily tried a lot of different recipes, sharing them with family and friends...and of course eating some myself for quality assurance. I have just ordered your book and am excited to read it and try new recipes and for now will also enjoy your blog. I am hopeful that I, too, can achieve the high rise which leads to separating the scone in two, as I have not gotten there yet. Thank you for compiling your notes on two of my great pleasures, food and travel!