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The 10 Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens to Visit in the UK

Plan a fabulous summer ahead by putting these botanical gardens in your travel list.

By: THURSD. | 19-05-2024 | 6 min read
Garden Plants Travel
Botanical Gardens in the UK

Let’s face it: you can buy as many houseplants as you want, but there’s nothing quite like being surrounded by the real thing. Besides the fact that it’s pretty beautiful to look at, the natural world has proven benefits for our health; it can improve our mood, and reduce stress levels. So what does a stroll through a botanical garden sound like? An experience where you'll be filled with plants everywhere and get to do a new type of activity as well.

Botanical Gardens in the United Kingdom That Are Worth Visiting

If you want a slice of the action, you’re in luck - there’s a wide selection of botanical gardens across the UK for you to choose from, showcasing beautiful collections of plants to browse to your heart’s content. But don’t just take the word for it. If you’ve got no idea where to start or just want to find your next botanical exploit, look through these natural gems see what tickles your fancy, and plan your tour from there.

1. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

A quick tube ride from central London lies Kew Gardens, home to the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, inside of which lies some of the world’s rarest and most threatened species of plants. The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew welcome almost two million visitors annually, making it one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

 

Kew Botanic Gardens in the UK
Photo: @tomirvinephoto

 

Kew, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been attracting horticulturists from all over the world for 260 years and appears ready to carry on its illustrious history as an ark of beauty and biodiversity. It has the world's most diverse collection of living plants, home to over 30,000 different plant and seed species from all over the world. Kew is still committed to preserving the planet's natural vegetation and maximizing the potential of plants.

 

Part of the Kew Botanic Garden inside
Part of the insides of the Kew Botanic Gardens

 

2. The Eden Project

Over two decades ago, a china clay pit in Cornwall was transformed into a living theater of plants and people. This visitor destination, cultural venue, and global garden showcase and demonstrate technological ingenuity and the regeneration of landscapes and livelihoods.

 

The Eden Project
The Eden Project

 

The Eden Project is an educational charity and social enterprise. Its global mission is to create a movement that builds relationships between people and the natural world to demonstrate the power of working together for the benefit of all living things.

 

Insides of the Eden Project Botanic Gardens
Insides with lots of plant species in the Eden Project

 

3. National Botanic Garden of Wales

Located in the countryside of Carmarthenshire, Wales, lies the region’s National Botanic Garden of Wales. You’ll want to make sure you add this one to your to-visit list since it boasts several unique attractions including the world’s largest single-span glasshouse and a tropical butterfly house, home to butterflies including the huge blue Amazonian morphos.

 

National Botanic Gardens of Wales
A complete view of the National Botanic Gardens of Wales
Photo: @walesbotanic

 

Inside of Wales Botanic Garden glasshouse
Inside of Wales' Botanic Garden glasshouse
Photo: @pollzable

 

4. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Situated on the outskirts of Birmingham, these botanical gardens offer several global and historical parks, including a dedicated Japanese garden that houses the national bonsai collection. And if that wasn’t enough, you could also visit the butterfly house and tea room, or take part in one of the guided tours.

 

Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Photo: @thomas_huggins_photo

 

Mediterranean House in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Mediterranean House filled with flowers in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 

5. Cambridge University Botanic Garden

As one of the top universities in the world, what better place to learn about over 8,000 different species of plants than the University of Cambridge’s Botanic Garden?

 

Cambridge Botanical Gardens
Photo: @between.gardens

 

Come and experience the colorful, energetic, and changing weather of a delightful spring and summer season, either by taking a simple walk through nature or by enjoying their wide variety of springtime events.

6. Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Situated close to the city center, Sheffield Botanical Gardens were opened in 1836 and now cover 19 acres. The gardens are listed by English Heritage as a Grade II site of special historic and architectural interest. Winding paths connect over 18 different garden areas based on geographical or botanical themes. Highlights of the site include the range of glass Pavilions, the imposing gatehouse entrance, a rare Bear Pit, the modest South Lodge, a Victorian Curator’s House (now a café), and a fossil stump (which is around 310 million years old). Definitely one to keep in mind if you're visiting the UK!

 

Sheffield Botanic Gardens
Photo: @robinlaroca

 

7. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Set in over 70 acres of beautiful landscape and just one mile north of the city center, the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh offers superb panoramic views of the city skyline featuring Edinburgh Castle. The Botanics, as the Garden is affectionately known locally, is incredible at any time of year. Garden highlights include the Rock Garden, the Alpine Houses, the Woodland Garden, the Pond, the Arboretum or Tree Collection, the Chinese Hillside, the Rhododendron Collection, and the Scottish Native Plants Collection in the Heath Garden.

 

Inside of Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens
Photo: @cubehousejungle

 

Visitors cannot help but leave with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the importance of plants in our world, and the need to support the Garden's important work.

 

Visitor at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
Photo: @phoebedrewtravels

 

8. Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

Founded in 1621, Oxford’s Botanical Gardens are officially the oldest in the UK – and they certainly live up to their status. The gardens are home to nearly 5,000 different types of plants, including flowers, and cacti, and a dedicated herbarium room, which boasts approximately 1,000 dried specimens. Visit this botanic garden and take a stroll among the family beds in the formal walled garden to see exotic, tropical, and carnivorous plants in the glasshouse while enjoying the herbaceous borders of the informal lower garden.

 

Oxford Botanical Gardens
Botanic Gardens with the view of Oxford University behind
Photo: @benangell153

 

9. Wakehurst Botanic Garden

Formal gardens overflowing with important and diverse plant collections, scents, bursts of color, and botanical delights await you at Wakehurst Botanic Gardens in Sussex. Explore the gardens at Wakehurst that stretch across 500 acres. Experience sights smells, and sounds from botanic landscapes across the planet, from native meadows, temperate woodlands, and stunning wetlands. Take in the spring bluebells and blossoming summer displays to welcome the most fabulous season of the year!

 

Wakehurst Botanic Gardens
Photo: @day9tdreamer

 

10. University of Bristol Botanic Garden

Bristol's Botanical Gardens feature an evolution collection that narrates the story of plants from prehistoric times to the present, including how species have adapted to changes in their environment, in addition to the customary glasshouses with displays of tropical and arid plants.

In addition to the 4,500 plant species on exhibit, you can participate in one of Bristol's workshops, which cover everything from photography to landscaping.

 

Bristol University Botanic Gardens
Bristol University's Botanic Gardens

 

With summer season approaching very fast, it's time to add these to your travel bucket list and most importantly, make plants and flowers part of your life.

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