Planning your visit


The National Trust began caring for Prior Park in 1993, and with the help of our supporters we've been working to restore what was an overgrown garden, back to the landscaped vision of its creator Ralph Allen. The work on the garden's 18th-century dams is the next stage of this exciting, yet crucial restoration journey. 


22 Nov: Contractors have now begun work, and this will now affect the areas of the garden that are open to visitors. This is the page where we will aim to set out the most important information to help you plan a visit to Prior Park.

Access to the garden

  • Entry to the garden is through the main entrance on Ralph Allen Drive only.
  • Construction vehicles will also enter this way, so there will be someone there from the contractors team to marshal vehicles entering and exiting the site to ensure visitor safety (contractor deliveries should be weekdays only, and over the winter the garden is open to visitors at the weekends only).
  • Winter opening hours, 2 November to end of January, weekends only, 10am - 3pm (last entry)

Access around the garden

  • We have aimed to keep as much of the garden open as possible.
  • The area beyond the Palladian Bridge is now closed as this forms the worksite, but the bridge is a great place place to see the works in progress. 

Please see map on the link below, where shading indicates areas that are closed to visitors.

Prior Park garden map (PDF / 0.17578125MB) download


Toilets: The toilets at the top of the garden will be available for use (lower toilets now closed).
Tea Shed: The Tea Shed is on the Cabinet at the top of the garden and opens winter weekends only 10.15am - 3pm, serving drinks, cakes, snacks, plus paninis over lunchtime.

Accessible parking

Unfortunately accessible parking is not available. The set up of the site, and safety measures that are in place to separate the works areas from visitor spaces, means that there is not enough space remaining to allow vehicles to turn in the area previously used for accessible parking. Accessible parking will be reinstated after the project.

First things you will notice

  • The contractors are setting up their access route, from the main entrance, through the garden down to the lakes. You may notice plant vehicles that have started to arrive on site.
  • Wooden hoarding has been erected by reception, and there is metal mesh fencing at places around the garden - particularly in the area beyond the Palladian Bridge.
  • More heavy machinery will begin to arrive on site.
  • The lower lake will be drained in the coming weeks and vegetation in the middle lake will be cut back.


The timeline below highlights the key stages in the dams project as we restore Prior Park's reflections and return this Georgian landscape garden to its 1764 splendour. 


Latest updates

05 Dec 19

Installation of access route begins

The garden has begun to look visibly different as the contractors continue installing their access route to their work site. Heras fencing has been erected across the site to define what areas are restricted to contractor access only. Tree protection fencing has also been installed around their access tracks.

The contractors work site at Prior Park is outlined by Heras fencing.

20 Nov 19

Construction vehicles and equipment arrive on site

The construction machinery needed for the dams project begins to arrive on site. Due to the sensitivity of the site, the plant vehicles that the contractors are using are relatively small. When you visit, you may spot the four tracked-dumpers and the five-tonne, and eight-tonne, excavator.

Construction vehicles for the dams project at Prior Park

11 Nov 19

The main works begin

The contractors were given the go ahead to begin the main structural and engineering phase of the dams project. The main focus of the first few weeks will be setting up their work site, including fencing off the area where the work will take place. Essential construction vehicles and materials will also be delivered.

The head gardener of Prior Park and site manager of the dams project standing on the Palladian Bridge observing the work site.