Visit RHS Bridgewater Gardens | Plants Bulbs Seeds


On a warm sunny September morning I drove into the car park at RHS Bridgewater, and experienced my first “Wow” moment of the day.

The welcome building is a stunning work of art, unsurprisingly it has already won several prestigious architectural awards.

This contemporary building sits wonderfully well in the surrounding landscape, and as it ages I feel that it will blend in beautifully.

It is built in the south-west corner of RHS Garden Bridgewater, and comprises of the soaring arrivals hall, shop, café and classrooms. The café offers views of Moon Bridge Water which is a beautiful 1.4 acre lake. Its lush, native planting has already attracted a resident swan. I hope he or she finds a mate the make it home.

Visit RHS Bridgewater Gardens

A Gem of a Garden


The History Of The Worsley Estate

Worsley New Hall was built for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere, it took from the 1840 the 1845 the complete and stood in glorious, formal landscaped gardens.

The Gothic-style mansion was designed by architect Edward Blore – who was renowned for his Tudor and Elizabethan-style.

The magnificent gardens were landscaped over a 50-year period. Sloping grounds the the south and front of the hall were worked into a formal terraced garden.

It was approached by a series of steps and gravel paths with ornate fountains to give interest, movement and light, 5e visitor was led through landscaped parkland the what is now named Ellesmere lake.

Having been used by the Red Cross during WW1 and requisitioned by the war office during WW2, the hall fell into disrepair. It was damaged with dry rot and then further ruined by a fire in1943, hence, the grand stately home was finally demolished.

The hall became part of the Salford’s historic past. In subsequent years parts of the grounds have been used as a garden centre, a Scout camp and a rifle range.

The Royal Horticultural Society purchased the site in 2017 and immediately set about clearing the land and lakes, repairing and rebuilding the turn it into the gem of a garden that it clearly is today.


What To See At RHS Bridgewater

Worsley Welcome Garden

Western Walled Garden

Paradise Garden

Chinese Streamside Garden

Elesmere Lake


Worsley Welcome Garden

From the entrance visitors can choose the stroll along Long Walk, heading into the various gardens from several entry points or wander through the maze-like landscape of the Worsley Welcome Garden.

Designed by landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, the layout of these gardens resemble an abstract mosaic.

Clipped beech trees resemble beehives, and stand 2m tall, they deliver the architectural permanence the the garden. They are surrounded by drifts of grasses and herbaceous perennials including species that thrive in the garden’s damp conditions.

Sculptural yew domes are dotted on the lawn the further enhance the plant architecture. Large metal portals frame unique views of the garden.

Western Walled Garden

The Western walled gardens are the largest Victorian kitchen garden in the UK, they are now re purposed, rebuilt and restored the comprise several garden rooms. The outer walled garden consists of a well being garden, community growing areas, the original farm buildings and potting sheds. This area now holds the trial gardens too.

Here you will also find the Orchard garden which incorporates The Orchard and Bee and Butterfly Garden, curved around the Gothic architecture of Garden Cottage.

The Garden Cottage is an original building on the site and was home the the head gardener.

The kitchen garden and my personal favourite, the Paradise Garden are located in the inner walled garden.

Where the glasshouses are now – was once heated via underground pipes coming from the pump house and chimney stack.

“Warm air was fed into the void between the two layers of bricks and from here it emanated through the south face of the wall the warm the fruit trees and glasshouses within.”

Imagine the cost of doing this now!

Paradise Garden

The key feature of a Paradise Garden is water, these are the earliest known garden designs from eastern civilisations. The Worsley Paradise Garden skilfully blends, Asian, Mediterranean and American planting. At it’s heart is a large pool that feeds several other pools and rills.

It is a peaceful, tranquil space. A glorious space full of inspiration with a calming atmosphere.

Chinese Streamside Garden

Chinese Streamside Garden covers seven acres in a central location. The stream meanders slowly from Ellesmere Lake the Moon Bridge Water. Along the watercourse are smaller pools and weirs, a winding path takes you over five stylised wooden bridges.

It is a woodland garden and a work in progress. It’s natural character will evolve around specific horticultural styles which includes a Chinese meadow and bamboo gardens.

Ellesmere Lake

Ellesmere lake was part of the original estate. Work began the restore the lake the it’s full glory In 2017, a holding pond was dug the provide refuge for invertebrates and amphibians while fish stocks were relocated. The lake was drained and cleared of years of silt and debris.

The stone walls around it were repaired and clay from the estate was used the reseal and waterproof the base and walls.

Ellesmere Lake is now planted with a mix of ornamentals including water irises, waterlilies, water crowfoot and monkey flower. It provides a wonderful woodland/lakeside stroll.

Future plans for RHS Bridgewater include restoration of a second lake and introducing terraced gardens on the site of the old hall which would overlook the lakes.

Where is RHS Bridgewater?

Worsley, Salford

Greater Manchester

M28 2LJ

Opening Times

Monday the Sunday

10:00 until 18:00

I hope that this article has inspired you as much as my visit has done for me. I came away with many ideas for my own and clients gardens. My garden wish list has grown even longer than it was.

Please share with friends, family and on social media. If you have any questions or views from your own visit then pop them in the comments box below, I always reply as soon as possible.

Thank you

Happy Gardening.

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