Salford’s £35m RHS garden opens

The country’s fifth Royal Horticultural Society garden, spanning 154 acres of Peel Group-owned land in Worsley, has opened to the public for the first time, 10 months later than scheduled. 

The £35m RHS Garden Bridgewater – the first new RHS garden in 17 years – had been due to open last July but pandemic-related issues forced the project team to revise the construction timescale.  

“We feel that [its] opening could not be more timely after the terrible time everyone has endured over the last year,” said Sue Biggs, RHS director general.  

“We have been looking forward to this day for more than six years, during which time so many people have come together and enabled us to create a stunning new garden of which we hope the people of Salford, Greater Manchester, the North West and beyond are proud.” 

The long-awaited opening was welcomed by Salford Council chief executive Tom Stannard and the city’s mayor, Paul Dennett, who said: “The opening celebrates the culmination of many years of discussions and planning that has transformed this historic 154-acre site around Worsley New Hall into this incredible vibrant new garden.”  

Salford City Council invested £19m in the project. 


The opening ribbon was cut by TV presenter and RHS Ambassador for RHS Bridgewater Carol Klein.

“This garden represents not only the spirit of the RHS, but that of the North West, pioneering and looking to the future,” Klein said. 

“It also reflects the spirit of the area and its two cities, and shows what can be achieved when communities work together.” 

RHS predicts that the garden will generate around £13.2m a year by 2030. Design and engineering firm Arcadis managed the project on behalf of the RHS, while Bam Construction has been delivering the garden’s welcome building.  

RHS Bridgewater Visitor Centre

The visitor centre at RHS Bridgewater was designed by Hodder + Partners

RHS Bridgewater is cited as the biggest horticultural project undertaken in Europe since planning permission was granted in 2017, and marks the first new RHS garden in 17 years and the first ever in an urban location. 

The site is the former Worsley New Hall estate close to the Bridgewater Canal in Salford, just off the M60 ring road towards Worsley. 

The 11-acre Weston Walled Garden has been restored and several additional gardens, including the Chinese Streamside Garden, are planned. 

The Welcome Building, designed by Hodder + Partners, features an events space, learning space, offices, café and shop. RoC Consulting is the civil engineer for the drainage and road works at RHS Bridgewater, as well as carrying out structural engineering work for the Welcome Building.

Each section of the garden features designs by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winners alongside several dedicated community spaces, intended to provide gardening inspiration, education and engagement to visitors from the North West and beyond. 

More than a quarter of a million plants have been put in the ground, while the Weston Walled Garden itself is home to the Paradise Garden by designer Tom Stuart-Smith, showcasing exotic planting inspired by Asiatic and Mediterranean gardens. 

Biggs added: “This is just the beginning as our garden will give people pleasure for generations to come, but right now I could not be more proud of this incredible group of people, and the monumental achievement of bringing to life our shared vision to create what we believe will become one of the UK’s greatest gardens, right in the heart of Greater Manchester.”

Your Comments

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Worsley roundabout is going to be a nightmare now if it wasn’t already. I shall be sticking to the canal path, on a bike for a change!

By Trev

I Think this was going to be the site of the Manchester racecourse. On reflection I think I prefer this as a solution. I’m pretty sure the Duke of Bridgwater would too given the amazing gardens that used to on the grounds.

By JohnD

I agree with the RHS superlatives and PR, however something of a stretch to describe the location of RHS Bridgewater as ‘urban’! It’s clearly not and more suburban if not a semi-rural location.

By Roxburgh,Selkirk&Peebles

Already not very popular in the local community and beyond. Bosses at RHS caused fury by ordering the shooting of local deer. This place has come in the wrong decade, for the wrong reasons, in the wrong City, at the wrong location.

By Shaun

Urban in that it sits between Worsley and Boothstown. There’s a lot of green space around here , the loop lines through Worsley woods being part of it but with the M60 so close by and being barely 8 miles from Manchester City centre it is very built up and pretty busy much of the time. Makes getting here here easy though!

By Charles

Wonderful project and a great boost to the economy for Salford. Tickets booked for the beginning of July. Can’t wait to see it!

By Steve

There are too many things in Gt Manchester now, we do they keep buildings stuff and not enough roads?

By N Cave

Shaun not sure where you are from but I live in Worsley and other than the issue of 8 deer being culled which the RHS have admitted was poorly managed and some early understandable concerns about the usual unknowns like traffic I can assure you it’s been well received locally and it’s in a near perfect location. Your comment on the ‘wrong city’ perplexed me too . City boundaries these days are next to meaningless particularly when they form just one part of a larger conurbation. Unless you mean something completely different in which case please illuminate us as to which would be the ‘right’ city and why.

By Anonymous

I asked the RHS when this was still in the planning stage what the plans were for public transport access. They mentioned the local bus service!
So a million visitors a year with a majority arriving by private transport. Not good for the environment or GM’s already congested roads. As an RHS member for many years I’ve often thought it strange that they have so little concern for the environment

By Phil Turtle

Great project a real benefit from Salford and Greater Manchester

By Anonymous

What happened to the deer

By Evelyn Morrissey

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