The gardens are maintained by a team of dedicated and passionate volunteers
When you think of romantic spots, landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and pretty much the rest of Paris, beaches at sunset, private dining in a rooftop New York restaurant, a gondola ride in Venice may come to mind. But how about popping a cute Italian-style pavilion located in a century-old garden just outside Blackpool on that list?
Well, The Vista is a rustic building hidden inside the Devonshire Rock Gardens in Bispham and is well known for being a magnet for wedding pictures, with thousands of happy couples having their special day documented with the pavilion in the background for decades. Sadly, in the early noughties it was left in ruin and without a roof following years of vandalism, but then some green-fingered angels swooped in and saved it.
They were in the form of a team of passionate and dedicated volunteers called the Friends of Devonshire Rock Gardens. The group was formed in 2002 and has since worked tirelessly to raise enough funds to par of vital repairs, with restoration work starting in 2013.
Improvements included installing anti-vandal windows and doors and fixing the damaged terrace area. Later, £60,000 funding was used to create a space inside the pavilion for the volunteers to use, including a kitchen, toilet facilities and storage for their equipment.
The volunteer team have made sure the gardens stay perfectly preened while also hosting regular fundraising events to help with its upkeep. The gardens, which first opened to the public in 1925, had become overgrown, neglected and in a sorry state of repair until a huge Heritage Lottery Fund donation in 2006 helped breath new life back into it, and the Friends got to work.
It boasts streams, ponds, rockpools and waterfalls, with wild and seasonal flowers and plants creating an artist’s palette of colour as you walk through. It is also home to plenty of wildlife including butterflies, birds and rare breeds.
There’s lush green grass and trees lining accessible paths, which are also meticulously maintained and upgraded when necessary. Visitors can marvel at the mosaics on display, youngsters can enjoy the play area and all ages can follow the woodland walk trail.
Despite being located in a relatively urban area, the municipal park is surprisingly quiet and serene and the ideal spot for dog walking or a short stroll. The rock formations dotted around the gardens are worth seeking out, too, with more being uncovered all the time, the latest by Blackpool Civic Trust in 2019.
The park is open every day throughout the year, from dawn to dusk
- 11:40, 4 AUG 2022