Bristol Botanic Gardens
If you didn't know Bristol had a botanical garden, you wouldn't be the first. Up until a couple of months ago, I had no idea.
That being said, if it's within travelling distance to you, it's totally worth the five pounds it costs to get in. Now, I don't claim to be an expert botanist or anything like that, but I can appreciate mother nature's creations without knowing the latin name of every palm there, all the same.
I mostly enjoy the diversity of a botanical garden, the organic forms you find in such a place, the striking patterns and lush green leaves of all shapes and sizes. From palms, to ferns, to succulents to lilypads, I love being surrounded by flora, their vitality and calming ambience is absolute soul food for any nature lover like myself.
The gardens themselves consisted of a number of segregated displays including a Chinese medicinal herb garden, mediterranean display and deciduous woodland exhibit, though the crowning jewel for me, has to be the glasshouses.
I decided to potter about the place unaccompanied one overcast Sunday lunchtime to take pictures and get my bearings around a new location. There's something quite uniquely empowering about taking a trip independently. I enjoy time in the company of others as much as the next person but I also find it valuable to make time for yourself. This trip for me was a retreat of sorts, though I fully intend to return with a model next time.
The gardens are actually part of Bristol University but are also open to the public. Admission is free for students and staff of the Uni and also to children under the age of eighteen. For everyone else it's £5.50 (that's including a voluntary fifty pence donation) and must be made in cash or by cheque as they currently don't have the ability to take card payments. Opening hours are 10am - 4.30pm, seven days a week during the summer season (April - October) and then Monday - Friday (November - March).
They have a small walled garden car park onsite but there is also ample free car parking nearby around the Clifton Down area if you don't mind a short walk.
If you would like more details on how to get to the gardens or for any other enquiries, (and to check whether my admission information is still correct) they have a pretty handy site packed with information.