The Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest in the UK and a year-round oasis of biodiversity with nearly 6,000 different types of plant.
As the first botanic garden in the UK (founded in 1621), at the UK’s oldest University, Oxford Botanic Garden occupies a world-class position in terms of its history and academic location. Harcourt Arboretum (acquired by the University in 1947), a 15-minute drive from Oxford, contains some of the finest conifer collections in the UK set within 130 acres of historic Picturesque landscape. Together, the Garden and Arboretum are an incredible resource for research, education, conservation and inspiration for a new generation of botanists.
Visit inspiring herbaceous borders, glasshouses that take you around the world, or simply relax in the UK’s oldest botanic garden. With nearly 6,000 different types of plant, the Garden is a year-round oasis of biodiversity, right in the heart of the city.
There are seven display glasshouses used to create a range of climatic conditions for cultivating plants from around the world. You'll find yourself travelling the globe, as you pass from the tropical jungle and oozing swamp to the desert and alpine environments.
The Lower Garden
The Lower Garden holds ornamental collections including the Rock Garden, which has many Mediterranean species, the Gin Border in which plants commonly used in the production of gin are grown, the Herbaceous Border, Plants That Changed the World beds, and the Merton Borders. The Lower Garden is adjacent to Christ Church Meadow and bordered by the River Cherwell, and provides a tranquil space perfect for picnics. Gardeners will find inspiration in the colourful and dramatic plantings. In the far left-hand corner sits a bench which has become a place of pilgrimage for many visitors to the Garden. It is a significant location in Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy in which characters Will and Lyra can meet between their respective worlds.
The Walled Garden
The Walled Garden dates back to the Oxford Botanic Garden's foundation in 1621 and is the Garden’s oldest section. The formal taxonomic (family) beds are currently being reconfigured to reflect their genetic relatedness, using the most modern and objective classification system called APG (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group). The Walled Garden also houses the Geographic Beds, the Medicinal Plants Beds and the Woodland Walk and Literary Trail.
Oxford University Herbaria, a global cultural resource of approximately one million dried plant specimens founded in the seventeenth century, is the oldest herbarium in the United Kingdom. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Herbarium Room was part of the Department of Botany; the herbarium was accommodated next door. In the early 1950s, more space was needed for teaching and research so the Department and herbarium were relocated to their current home on South Parks Road. The newly refurbished Herbarium Room reconnects the Botanic Garden with the Department of Plant Sciences and the Herbaria.
Oxford Botanic Garden Opening hours
November to February Daily, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (Last admission 3:15 pm) The Garden will be closed on 25th and 26th of December.
March and April Daily, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Last admission 4:15 pm)
May to August Daily, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (Last admission 5:15 pm)
September and October Daily, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Last admission 4:15pm)
What to do
During the summer months, a pop-up café with a covered seating area is available for visitors to purchase hot and cold drinks, as well as a selection of cakes and ice cream. Visitors are welcome to picnic on the lawns or under the shade of a tree; there are also plenty of benches.
Access and facilities
The Botanic Garden (including the glasshouses) is fully wheelchair accessible. Dogs are not permitted at the Botanic Garden, except for registered assistance dogs. There is no parking onsite.