A view of the railway bridge in Sydney Gardens looking north


'Revitalise Sydney Gardens as a beautiful Pleasure Garden with peaceful and tranquil spaces, that achieves a renaissance as a unique, fun and restorative environment, for all ages; - its remarkable built and natural heritage, people and events, told and experienced in witty and eclectic ways.'


What is it and what’s involved?

The project is a partnership between Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks Team, The Friends of Sydney Gardens, local residents’ groups and the Holburne Museum. In 2017 the partnership was successful in securing £332,000 to develop a detailed restoration plan for Sydney Gardens from the Parks for People Heritage Lottery Fund grant programme. This funding was Round 1 in an HLF programme to secure a total grant of £3.4m to improve the historic park.


Where are we in the process?

We are now in Round 2 (the Development Phase), which runs from May 2017 to August 2018. The second round bid will be submitted at the end of August 2018 and an HLF funding decision on whether to grant the money will be made in December 2018. 

The project team is working with local communities, organisations and stakeholders and a multi-disciplinary technical team, led by Landscape Architects LDA Design Ltd. The Development Phase involves refining the initial plans, trying out events and activities and undertaking further consultation.


What are the plans?

The funding will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscape and garden restoration works, and create new play areas for all ages, over a three year programme (2019 - 21). Alongside the works, a programme of events and activities around art, nature, horticulture, wildlife, play, sport, archaeology and history will be put on. The project will celebrate the fascinating history of the gardens, with its Cosmorama, Labyrinth, Merlins Swing, Concerts, Public Breakfasts, Galas and Illuminations.  


How can I be involved?

Public consultation events, exhibitions and online surveys about the plans take place over the Development Phase, with plenty of opportunity for people to have their say.

The first public consultation on the updated masterplan design updates in Round 2 took place in November 2017. As a result of this consultation and feedback, we updated the design and restoration plan for Sydney Gardens in April 2018: view the PDF of these latest design plans here.

Sign up to our mailing list to receive a monthly e-newsletter with details of events and activities in the park, how you can participate and volunteer, project updates and news of public consultation.  

Go to our Events page for details of current activities.

'Like' us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

If you're interested in volunteering or have any questions or comments, contact our Community Ranger Sue Palmer.

You can also join the Friends of Sydney Gardens to support the park now and in the future.


What are we currently doing?

Technical site surveys took place in the park over autumn 2017 for utilities, historic buildings, ecology and habitat.  Surveys will continue over the spring, including assessments of the built heritage.  We are organising events and activities over the development phase, meeting with community groups and organisations, researching the history and heritage of the gardens, and working with our partners to develop design plans.


Can I see the plans and designs from the initial Round 1 bid in 2016?

Click on the links below to view the PDF documents from the Round 1 bid:

Sydney Gardens Parks for People Stage One Masterplan

Play Area Stage One Plan

Sydney Gardens Parks for People Application (Round 1)

Sydney Gardens Outline Activity Plan (Round 1)

You can read more about the history of Sydney Gardens on Wikipedia, on the Historic England Website, and about Jane Austen’s fondness for the gardens.


Support for the project

Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) said of the Round 1 funding award to Sydney Gardens: “I am really pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund have awarded this money, which will be used to improve what is already a fantastic park.

“We are very fortunate to have many parks and green spaces in Bath and North East Somerset. Sydney Gardens is one of our most beautiful and tranquil open spaces and this money will help to ensure it can be enjoyed by many for years to come.”

Chairman of the Friends of Sydney Gardens, Jonny East, said: “This is a great example of how the council’s Parks Team, working in partnership with the local community, can attract a substantial amount of external investment to help restore and improve this historically important, and much-loved, park.”

HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “Public parks play a vital role in our health and well-being. With this investment from National Lottery players there’s real opportunity for a rejuvenated Sydney Gardens to deliver huge benefits to the whole community.”

To date, more than £850 million of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in parks since 1996 through the Parks for People grant programme.  The Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People programme uses money raised by National Lottery players to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks and cemeteries. In England the two Lottery Funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks.

heritage lottery fund logos

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