The Story

The International Garden Festival took place between May and October 1984 and attracted 3.8 million visitors. The specially commissioned entertainment complex was the centrepiece of the city’s early regeneration efforts following industrial decline in the preceding decade.

When the festival closed its doors, a large part of the site was developed into residential housing, while the remainder experienced various incarnations as leisure and entertainment facilities, until it was left derelict in 1997 to fall into disrepair.

Now, after many years and numerous failed attempts to breathe new life into the historic site, the future of the restored Festival Gardens is secure, and the gates are well and truly open.


The Restoration

The restoration of the Festival Gardens has taken painstaking effort from the many teams and specialists involved.

Look out around the site for:

  • Two restored pagodas in the oriental gardens
  • The restored Moon Wall
  • New lakes, waterways and waterfalls
  • New pedestrian access point linking to the promenade
  • New secure parking area


Now... it’s YOURS!

The Festival Gardens will always be free to use and everyone is welcome.

Come down and enjoy a freshly ground coffee or share a picnic with friends. Take a stroll through the woodland trails and on to the promenade. Relax in the oriental gardens amongst the waterfalls and cherry blossom. Test your climbing skills in the playground and look out for the many animals and birds that have made the Festival Gardens home.

Look out for an exciting calendar of events for all the family on the Events page and don’t forget to follow us on twitter Follow us on Twitter