Let’s face it: you can buy as many house plants 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, reduce stress levels and even improve our confidence and self-esteem. In fact, the benefits can be so significant that doctors in Scotland are now prescribing activities like bird watching and rambling to patients suffering from conditions ranging from mental illness to diabetes.
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 for you to browse to your heart’s content.
But don’t just take our word for it. If you’ve got no idea where to start, or just want to find your next botanical exploit, have a look through these natural gems and see what tickles your fancy.
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.
Nestled in the countryside of Carmarthenshire, Wales, lies the region’s national botanical gardens.
You’ll want to make sure you add this one to your to-do list; it boasts a number of unique attractions including the world’s largest single-span glasshouse and a tropical butterfly house, home to butterflies including the huge blue Amazonian morphos.
Situated on the outskirts of Birmingham, these botanical gardens offer a number of global and historical gardens, including a dedicated Japanese garden which 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.
As one of the top universities in the world, what better a place to learn about over 8,000 different species of plants than the University of Cambridge’s botanical garden.
Nestled close to the city centre are Sheffield’s own botanical gardens, giving you the perfect excuse to trade the bustle of the city for something a bit greener.
Even in numbers, Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens are impressive. Featuring 100,000 plants across 70 acres and 10 glasshouses, the living collection is nearly 350 years
In person, however, you get to experience the true majesty which Edinburgh’s gardens have to offer. On top of the stunning glasshouses and 3,000 exotic specimens, the gardens boast panoramic views over the city’s skyline, making it an essential part of any visit.
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 6,000 different types of plants, including flowers, cacti and a dedicated herbarium room, which boasts approximately 1,000 dried specimens.
If you’re looking for a botanical garden with a difference, try Wakehurst. Situated across 500 acres of wild woodland, the garden is home to expansive meadows and developed woodland which is just waiting for you to explore.
As well as the usual glasshouses featuring tropical and arid displays, Bristol’s Botanical Gardens feature an evolution collection which tells the story of plants from prehistoric times to the present day, including how species have adapted to changes in their environment.
Alongside the 4,500 plant species on display you can also get involved at one of the workshops offered at Bristol, ranging from photography to landscaping.