Royal Fort Gardens

A popular, peaceful park open to the public for free all year round. Enjoy planted borders and sloping lawns, woodlands, pushchair-friendly paths and public art in this relaxing green space, a short walk from the top of Park Street.

Visiting and using the gardens

Royal Fort Gardens are open daily, all year round, to the public, staff and students.

You do not need to buy tickets or pay to use these gardens.


Things to see and do

Enjoy a walk or picnic in this calm and beautiful garden. It has won a Green Flag award over five times in recent years, for being a well-managed green space.

Talk with friends or sit alone, take a moment away from your lectures or work to listen to the birds and watch local wildlife.

Explore the mirror maze, spot frogs by the pond, and have a peaceful picnic in a green oasis away from the city rush.

More to see and do in these gardens: 

Garden map

Download the Royal Fort Gardens guide and map (PDF, 1,256kB).

Trees and plants

Royal Fort Gardens contains a wide range of specimen trees and plants. You can use the interpretation board in the garden to find out what some of them are.

You'll find three big Lucombe oaks, along with a redwood and wellingtonia pine near the pond. We also have a beautiful olive tree. In the Hollow area, a big Kiftsgate rose blooms. You'll see memorial trees with their own stories. Plus, we have edible plants like rhubarb, raspberries, and strawberries. Don't miss the Acacia dealbata trees with their big flowers, as well as gingkos and fig trees.

We survey our trees annually, to monitor their health. You can see the name, location and detailed information about our trees, with photographs, on our tree map. Click or tap on a tree on the map for more information about it. 

If you are in the garden, you use the QR codes on many of our larger or more unusual trees to access detailed information about them on the online map.

Seasonal interest

As you take a walk along the drive, be sure to admire the early flowering daffodils which add a splash of colour to our landscape and signal the arrival of spring.

In spring and summer, explore the Royal Fort meadow and Teaching Awards tribute wildflower meadows. Here flowers attract pollinators and enhance the biodiversity of our lawn areas. These carefully cultivated meadows offer a pretty setting for relaxation and reflection.

In the autumn, enjoy the stunning seasonal colours as our trees prepare for winter.

Wildlife and nature

Two piles of pallets stuffed with items from the garden such as broken bricks and bamboo canes, with tiles on top, half-hidden in a flower bed and amongst long grass and rocks and leaves.
Bug hotels in Royal Fort Gardens offer a food and shelter to a diverse range of insects and wildlife.

Royal Fort Gardens are home to a diverse array of wildlife, including foxes, bats, and a variety of birds such as jays and woodpeckers. Explore the pond to discover aquatic life like newts, toads, and frogs. Keep an eye out for peregrines nesting in the Physics Building nearby. 

To support wildlife, we've created habitat areas with dead hedges and specific structures. This includes the 'toad abode' near the pond and bug hotels near the shed and on the wall in the Hollow area. These features provide shelter and encourage biodiversity, with standing dead wood offering additional homes for various creatures.

Self-guided walking tours

Take a self-guided walking tour to find out more about all the things in the Royal Fort Garden.

Royal Fort Gardens guide and map (PDF, 1,256kB).

You can also pick up a copy from the display case next to Royal Fort Lodge.

Public art

Multiple tall, narrow mirrors in a grid pattern with space between for people to walk in and around them, standing on a lawn with trees behind them. Next to the mirrors are three people walking and smiling at each other.
Jeppe Hein's Mirror Maze installation, one of many works of art that you can walk around and enjoy for free in the Royal Fort Garden.

There are several works of public art in or near Royal Fort Gardens, which you can visit for free.

Permanent artworks include:

Find further works of public art on permanent display around the University


Students and staff can join organised volunteering sessions helping the Gardens and Grounds team in our gardens.

Volunteering activities include:

  • general maintenance including weeding and fence building
  • bulb planting and seed sowing
  • building and maintaining homes for wildlife.

To find out how to take part in volunteering activities:

Tell us about your visit 

We'd love to hear about your visit to Royal Fort Gardens. What did you enjoy? What do you think could be improved? Send us your anonymous feedback.

Instagram for Royal Fort Gardens

See what others are doing in the garden and add your own images #royalfortgarden or tag us in your stories @uobroyalfortgardens



There is a level approach to Royal Fort Gardens on Tyndalls Avenue, at the intersection with Woodlands Road. What3words location: either.pill.solved

In the gardens, there are smooth paths that you can use with a push-chair or wheelchair. Some paths are sloping.


There is no dedicated parking at Royal Fort Gardens. There is metered parking in the streets around the gardens.

Bike storage

You can store your bike near Royal Fort Gardens.

Students, find where you can park your bike on campus

Refreshments and toilets

The nearest University Source Cafe is Senate House Marketplace. This is open to the public.

There is a toilet at the Source Cafe.

Find Source Cafe opening hours.

There is a drinking water fountain near the Physics building, What3words location: salad.slams.pies.

There are several local cafes and shops on Park Street and around The Triangle.

Seats and benches

There are several benches near the path all around the gardens.

Table tennis tables

There are two table tennis tables which you can use, near the Physics building. You must bring your own bats and balls.

Code of conduct

These are public gardens, and we expect visitors to treat the space and each other with respect and courtesy.

  • Take your litter home with you.
  • Only assistance dogs are allowed; keep dogs on leads and clean up after your dog.
  • Supervise children.
  • Stick to paths, avoid disturbing wildlife, and don't damage property, trees, plants or lawns.
  • No barbecues, fires, camping, skateboarding, or aggressive cycling.
  • Follow additional safety instructions, if there are building works taking place.

Hiring Royal Fort Gardens

You can hire Royal Fort Gardens for your own event or function.

To hold an event at the Royal Fort Gardens:

History of the site and the garden design

Find out more about the history of the site how the garden design has evolved.

At the end of the 18th century, there was an unsuccessful attempt to develop the gardens for housing. Renowned landscape architect Humphry Repton was subsequently commissioned to design a new garden, to hide the unsightly housing excavations.

Repton's design was in the 'English Landscape' fashion and complimented the classical Georgian Royal Fort House. He created undulating lawns and added a high wall to surround and retain the gardens. The wall acted as a 'ha-ha', screening local buildings and giving unspoiled views to the hills around Bristol.

Research in Royal Fort Gardens

Our gardens and green spaces are often used for research projects involving: 

  • small mammals such as bats and birds
  • larger mammals such as badgers and foxes
  • insects such as moths and bees.

We welcome researchers and research projects from various disciplines, including archaeology, art history, biological sciences, geography and geology.

Learn more about doing research in our gardens.

Visit our other gardens

Find out when gardens are open, who can visit, activities and facilities, and garden history.

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