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Green Spaces in the city centre

Step into nature and explore the green spaces in the city centre

28/03/2024

Immerse yourself in the green spaces of Bristol with our handy guide of parks, gardens, and spaces in the city centre. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to spend your lunch break or a stunning space to appreciate on your daily commute, stepping into the outdoors around us can be the perfect way to relieve stress, connect with nature, and keep active.

With Spring upon us, the arrival of Stress Awareness Month in April, and the City Nature Challenge on 26 – 29 April, now is the perfect time to appreciate nature on your doorstep.

Stress Awareness Month reminds us to slow down to recognise and relieve stress, where visiting green spaces in the city could help to ease these anxieties. Being around nature helps us to connect with our minds, bodies, and ultimately unwind from the stresses of the day.
Read more about our programme of stress relieving events and available resources.

The City Nature Challenge is the perfect opportunity to get outside and explore nature and photography in a new way. Join over 450 cities across the world on this global mission to record as much wildlife as possible over this four-day challenge using the free
iNaturalist app. Your contributions will help towards conservation efforts both locally and globally and help you learn more about your local nature.

Check out our guide of green spaces below.

 

CASTLE PARK

 

Originally the site of Bristol Castle, Castle Park is a spacious park on the water’s edge of Bristol. A popular spot for lazing on the grass in the warmer months, Castle Park has ample green space, towering trees, and beautiful flowers, making it a great location to relax and take in the city’s views.

Soak in the atmosphere and take some time to admire the idyllic Physic Garden maintained by St Mungo’s, boasting a beautiful display of herbs and flowers set against the backdrop of the remains of St Peter’s Church. If you want to learn more about Castle Park and the trees within it, take part in the Castle Park Tree Trail to see what you can spot.

We are currently working with Bristol City Council to help shape the masterplan for Castle Park as part of the Bristol City Centre Development and Delivery Plan.

QUEEN SQUARE

 

A Georgian park in the heart of Bristol, Queen Square is lined with trees and surrounded by cobbled streets and Georgian architecture.

Its prime city centre location makes it an ideal place for nearby residents and workers to relax and take in the scenery. With plenty of green space and benches lining the park, it’s a great spot to grab a coffee or bite to eat from the nearby cafes.

In the heart of the square, you will find The Equestrian Statue of William III, a popular stopping point for city tours, which was first erected in 1736 and still towers over the park today.


Queen Square was formerly a marshland before it was remodelled in 1622 as a tree-lined promenade and space to play boules. Today, the park is a well-loved green space but in 1936, a dual carriageway was introduced that ran through the centre of the park, either side of the William III statue, where an estimated 20,000 vehicles crossed the square each day. This was later closed and in 1999, plans were passed to restore Queen Square to its former state and to regenerate the space to the park we know and love today. 

 

COLLEGE GREEN

 

Set against the backdrop of Bristol Cathedral and City Hall, College Green is a wonderful green space in the city centre. Just minutes away from many popular cafes and eateries, it makes for the ideal spot to grab a nearby lunch and soak in the atmosphere. 

The fountains and water feature line the length of City Hill which makes for a perfect spot to sit and admire the beauty of the park beyond. Vibrant flower beds adorn the space where there are plenty of nearby benches to sit and relax in the surroundings. In the summer months, the space becomes lively and sociable, making for a great lunchtime experience.

 

ST JAMES’ PARK

 

St James’ Park is a triangular green in the city centre, close to Bristol Shopping Quarter and adjacent to St James’ Priory, Bristol’s oldest building!

With beautiful plants and shrubbery lining the park’s edge, this enclosed space provides some tranquillity as the rest of Bristol races on outside. With plenty of available benches and located in the heart of the city centre, it makes for a great pitstop after browsing the nearby shops or picking up lunch.

For those looking to learn more about St James’ Park and other historical points of interest in the city, you can take part in St James’ Priory’s Heritage Trail to uncover Bristol’s rich history.

 

BRANDON HILL

 

Take in the beauty of Bristol from above! Brandon Hill is the oldest park in Bristol, boasting beautiful gardens, green space, and a vibrant nature reserve.

This hilly city park, located close to Park Street, is an exciting space to explore. Climb to the top of Cabot Tower, up 109 steep, twisting steps, and take in the stunning views of the park and the city below.

Brandon Hill’s nature reserve is a haven for local wildlife and is managed by Avon Wildlife Trust, providing a perfect space for birdwatching, enjoying the urban parkland, or admiring the park’s pond and water features.

 

If you want to explore more of Brandon Hill, take part in the Brandon Hill Tree Trail highlighting key points of interest and trees to spot along the way.

In late 2023, we helped to improve an existing wildflower meadow on Brandon Hill with the help of Avon Wildlife Trust. Along with volunteers from local businesses and St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots project, we planted wildflower species to provide a richer habitat for nature and encourage pollinators throughout the year.

 

BERKELEY SQUARE

 

Just minutes away from Brandon Hill, you will find the quiet enclosed space of Berkeley Square. This Georgian-style park features open green space and provides a secluded solace from the nearby hustle and bustle of Park Street.

For those wanting a quieter lunchtime experience, Berkeley Square is an ideal spot to unwind, read your book, or take some time for yourself.

Admire the Bristol High Cross replica which sits in the square and take in the architecture of the surrounding buildings, including the stunning Berkeley Square Hotel.

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