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Top 5 Botanic Gardens in the UK

Image © Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh via Facebook

Botanic Gardens in the UK have endured long lasting popularity due to the vast ways in which they can be enjoyed by enthusiasts and non-botanists alike. Educational, exciting and beautiful to look at, botanic gardens are a wonderful way to explore tropical climes and environments without venturing far from home. If you’re looking for some horticultural inspiration, a green haven amongst the city hubbub or an exciting expedition for the family then take a look through our impressive round-up of the UK’s best botanic gardens.


ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS KEW

Probably one of the most famous botanic gardens in the world, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew have been cultivated for centuries to create the ultimate botanical experience. Scientists and gardeners meticulously care for the 300-acre garden year round, to ensure that all 90 attractions at this UNESCO World Heritage Site are top notch. Highlights include the Treetop Walkway situated 18 metres above the woodland floor. Designed by Marks Barfield architects (creators of the London Eye) the unique visitor attraction allows you to walk through the treetops and see views across the capital. Other notable attractions include the Great Broad Walk Borders (the longest herbaceous border in the country) The Victorian Palm House, the Princess of Wales Conservatory and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art – the first exhibition on this subject including 200,000 items dating back to the days before photography could be used for the study of plants.

Open daily, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 9.30am-4.15pm. 
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB


VENTNOR BOTANIC GARDEN

Lesser-known, the Ventnor Botanic Garden is a 22-acre botanical garden set in the microclimate of the Isle of Wight. The garden includes beautiful displays of exotic plant varieties that would not be able to survive in the climes of mainland Britain. The isle’s chalk downs protect their un-rivaled collected of outdoor sub-tropical plants and also are home to a family of Wall Lizards! Regularly seen on the garden’s Lizard Safari, these critters are a popular part of the Undercliff ecology and are believed to be part of a long-standing colony of Lizards originating from Italy. Described by the curator as ‘landscape immersion’ the VBG is a fantastic way to explore how landscapes and ecosystems function in native, wild environments. Explore these special gardens through a variety of different trails including a Champion Tree Trail and a Secret Garden Trail.

Open daily, except Christmas Eve and Day. Check website for opening times. Ventnor Botanic Garden, Undercliff Drive, Ventnor, Isle of Wight PO38 1UL


ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN EDINBURGH

Founded in the 17th century as a physic garden, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh now covers four different gardens: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Benmore Botanic Garden, Dawyck Botanic Garden and Logan Botanic Garden. The RGBE is located just outside the centre of Edinburgh and houses over 70 acres of exemplary gardens as well as the oldest and largest Victorian Glasshouse in Britain. As well as being home to the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside of China, the RGBE demonstrates some of finest examples of Scottish flora in their Scottish Heath Garden. Other star attractions include the famous Rock Garden featuring 5,000 alpine plants and the stunning 165m-long Herbaceous Border, backed by a beautiful century-old Beech Hedge.

Open daily, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Check website for opening times. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Inverleith Row, Arboretum Place, Edinburgh EH3 5LR


UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD BOTANIC GARDEN

The University of Oxford Botanic Gardens may be small, but these exquisitely designed gardens and glass houses contain over 8,000 different plant species. Established in 1621, the gardens are now over 400 years old and are officially the oldest botanic gardens in Britain. The Gardens are divided into two main sections, the Walled and the Lower Garden showcasing a variety of medicinal plants, taxonomic beds and flora native to Oxfordshire. The garden has been a source of inspiration for various writers, from Lewis Carroll and Tolkien – who would sit under the enormous black pine from Austria – to Philip Pullman, who included the wooden bench at the back of the garden in The Amber Spyglass. With beautiful views of the River Cherwell, the Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to take refuge from the bustle of Oxford City.

Open daily, except Christmas Eve and Day. Check website for opening times. The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Rose Lane, Oxford OX1 4AZ


UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL BOTANIC GARDEN

From the oldest to the newest, the University of Bristol Botanic Garden is the first new botanic garden to be created in the UK for nearly 40 years. Home to over 4,500 species of plants, the gardens are arranged into four collections: evolution, Mediterranean, local flora and rare natives, and useful plants. These collections are planted in educational displays that explain their origins, evolutionary biology and habitat. Star attractions include their Giant Amazon Waterlily and largest collection of Sacred Lotus in the UK as well as a wide collection of exotic plants from the Amazon and South Africa in the Victorian Glass Houses.

University of Bristol Botanic Garden, Hollybush Lane, Stoke Bishop BS9 1JB

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