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09 Apr 2021

RHS announces RHS Garden Bridgewater opening date

Fifth RHS Garden to open on 18 May 2021 with tickets due to go on sale from 19 April

154 acres of world-class horticulture within an hour’s journey time of nearly 8m people

As custodians of the Bridgewater Estate, Peel L&P is thrilled to be working with Salford City Council to help make it possible.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the world’s leading gardening charity, announces today that RHS Garden Bridgewater will open its gates on Tuesday 18 May 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic delayed opening plans by almost a year. Tickets for the highly anticipated opening weeks will go on sale to the public on 19 April 2021 on the RHS website.

The 154-acre garden in Salford, Greater Manchester, is the biggest hands-on horticultural project undertaken in Europe since planning permission was granted in 2017. Around 7.8 million people living within an hour’s journey time of the garden will be able to access world-class horticultural inspiration and expertise at the first ever RHS Garden to be located in an urban area.

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: “RHS Garden Bridgewater is the result of years of hard work by a dream team of designers, gardeners, contractors and many, many others and we are all enormously proud of what we have created. Together with our partners and donors, including Salford City Council and The Peel Group, we are thrilled to finally be able to celebrate this monumental achievement on 18 May.”

Head of RHS Garden Bridgewater Richard Green adds: “A huge thank you must also go to our incredible army of more than 700 local volunteers who freely give their time to pitch in with everything from bricklaying to giving tours, and without whom none of this would be possible. This collaborative approach is what has made RHS Bridgewater such a unique and special project, and we can’t wait to open the gates and share it with everyone.”

Featuring cutting-edge design by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winners alongside numerous dedicated community spaces, RHS Garden Bridgewater will be a beacon of gardening inspiration, education and engagement in the heart of the North West. More than a quarter of a million plants have gone into the ground ahead of the opening, representing a huge boost for biodiversity in the area.

From 18 May, visitors will discover areas including the 11-acre Weston Walled Garden, the jewel in the crown of RHS Garden Bridgewater, believed to be the largest publicly-accessible working walled garden in the UK. It is home to the spectacular Paradise Garden by Tom Stuart-Smith, showcasing exotic planting inspired by Asiatic and Mediterranean gardens. The nearby Kitchen Garden by award-winning Harris Bugg Studio showcases a cornucopia of productive growing techniques and both familiar and more unusual edibles.

The Community Wellbeing Garden, Community Grow area and Peel Learning Garden, supported by The Peel Group, are just some of the community-focused spaces that can also be found within the Weston Walled Garden, alongside the Orchard Gardens and the first dedicated RHS Trials ground outside of the flagship RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, where garden plants will be assessed for their performance in the northern climate.

Elsewhere, visitors can explore the beginnings of the Chinese Streamside Garden, which will be the first authentic Chinese garden in the UK when complete, and the 4-acre Woodland Play area designed to encourage children of all ages to engage with nature.

The RHS is investing £35m in the creation of the garden, which the charity forecasts will generate around £13.2m per year to the local economy by 2030, and has created over 100 jobs at the site. Salford City Council and the RHS worked together to promote jobs at the garden to local residents and almost 50% of the roles created to date have been filled by people living within five miles of the garden.  All Salford residents will be able to visit RHS Garden Bridgewater free on Tuesdays from 25th May* for the first year thanks to an arrangement agreed between the RHS and Salford City Council.

Tom Stannard, Salford City Council’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s fantastic that RHS Garden Bridgewater will soon be open to everyone, creating another world class attraction in Salford and contributing towards tourism and economic growth in Greater Manchester. We’re proud to have negotiated an agreement for local residents to visit the garden free every Tuesday. This is the first time the RHS has given free access to the community around one of its gardens so Salford is already making its mark and doing things differently.

“Salford City Council played a pivotal role in making the garden a reality. For every single pound we invest in this we will see several pounds come back into our city. In the last 20 years, Salford has transformed its economy and nurtured major investment projects which have created thousands of new jobs, businesses and homes and put the city on the national and international map.

“In much the same way as its namesake the Bridgewater Canal put Salford on the map in 1761, we expect RHS Garden Bridgewater to do the same in the modern day.”

Steven Underwood, Chief Executive of The Peel Group said: “We’re honoured to be a founding partner of the RHS Garden Bridgewater, which brings a world class horticultural attraction and legacy to the people of Salford and will serve to attract visitors from across the region and beyond, providing a real boost to the local economy.

“As part of our long-term commitment to the RHS Garden Bridgewater, we are also proud to support the Peel Learning Garden which will enable school children to learn how plants grow and survive. Engaging with nature benefits young people in many positive ways and we’re committed to supporting children through life enhancing educational and health and wellbeing programmes in partnership with the RHS Garden Bridgewater.”

RHS Garden Bridgewater is made possible by Salford City Council and The Peel Group. Salford City Council invested £19 million into the project which will bring substantial economic and tourism benefits to the city, its communities and the north west region. The Peel Group are custodians of the former Worsley New Hall estate where the garden has been created.