Botanic Garden

Location: Rose Lane, Oxford

Daily 9am-4pm


The Botanic Garden was founded in 1621 as part of Oxford University with the stated aim “to promote the furtherance of learning and to glorify nature”. When the original gardens were built, however, the designs were so lavish and so much had been spent on the ornate walls and archways, there was no budget left over for plants.

Fortunately, the subsequent centuries have seen it grow into one of the most important botanical collections in the UK. Situated right in the heart of Oxford, close to both Magdalen and Merton Colleges, it’s more than an academic resource in that it also welcomes tourists all year round.

It is broadly divided into two parts, the gardens and the display glasshouses. The outdoor gardens consist of two sections – the Walled Garden, where many of the more delicate plants are grown and the Lower Garden, which features many hardier plants and the Euphorbias Collection.

The Walled Garden contains a medicinal bed where plants with healing properties are grown, categorised by the conditions that they are used to treat. Geographic beds are split by region including Mediterranean, Asian and African sections, and there is also an area grouping plants by their families, as well as a woodland featuring ancient trees. The Lower Garden has areas including a rockery, an orchard, and vegetable and bog gardens too.

The seven display glasshouses, maintained at varying levels of heat and humidity, recreate different environments from around the world including the jungle, desert and swamps. In all, there are over 1,200 different kinds of plant on display under cover, so even on a colder day, there’s plenty for the visitor to see and do.


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