The University of Oxford Botanic Gardens

Oxford Botanic Gardens

Oxford, beautiful home of the oldest university in the English speaking world, is also home to the oldest botanic garden in Britain. Founded as the Physic Garden in 1621 “to promote the furtherance of learning and to glorify nature” and for the study of medicinal plants, today the Oxford Botanic Garden still supports the university’s teaching programmes and research scientists. The most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the world, it is also a part of many plant conservation projects.

The gardens are welcoming and friendly, and there are benches everywhere inviting you to sit down and just drink in your surroundings. In fine weather, you will see plenty of people reading and eating their lunches in the sunshine.

There are three glasshouses, a rose garden, a gorgeous walled garden, a water garden and a rock garden, all set amongst some beautiful architecture. The walled garden features some of the most beautiful borders I have ever seen, and in the summer it is a riot of colour, full of bees and butterflies.

Oxford Botanic Garden Borders
The glasshouses may appear small from the outside, but inside they are anything but. Containing thousands of plants, they are incredibly biologically diverse.

I adore the huge lily pads, big enough for a frog convention!

Lily pads Oxford Botanic Gardens

Even the hallways of the glasshouses are full of plants. You feel quite surrounded, almost as if you were in the jungle.

Jungle at Oxford Botanic Gardens

I find the dozens of medicinal gardens outside fascinating too. They are all divided into sections according to the medical conditions the plants are used to treat. Plaques explain the plants’ names and their uses. While the grass around the beds is beautifully manicured, you are positively encouraged to walk all the way around each bed. Every single plant in these gardens is comprehensively labelled and there isn’t a single sign asking you to keep off the grass.

The architecture in the gardens is fascinating too.Β The lead drain on this archway has the date 1780 inscribed on it.

Gateway Oxford Botanic Gardens

A wonderful place to spend a few hours, or indeed a day, the Oxford Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit.

Walking at Oxford Botanic Gardens

The gardens are open all year round. (Opening hours vary.) Day tickets are Β£4.50 and an annual pass costs Β£15.50. Entry is free for children accompanied by an adult. For more information, see the Oxford Botanic Gardens website.


This is not a sponsored post.



* indicates required

Article by April Harris

April has written 1286 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.

View all posts by


  1. It’s all so beautiful, I’d love to visit one day! I cannot believe that those lily pads are real – I stared at them forever trying to work it out in my head. Wow!

  2. What beautiful gardens! Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures!

  3. Oh, April! What a beautiful, historic place! Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

  4. I am a botanical painter in the US looking for a catalog of the medicinal plants garden. Do you know of any available? I am especially interested in doing a series of plant derived pharmaceuticals, perhaps in specializing in oncology drugs. Thanks

    • Hi Cori,
      I am sure there must be a catalogue of some sort available. I would suggest that you perhaps write to the Botanic Gardens or even give them a call. Here is the contact information;
      The University of Oxford Botanic Garden
      Rose Lane, Oxford
      OX1 4AZ
      United Kingdom
      Telephone from the US is 011 44 1865 286690
      I hope you find what you are looking for πŸ™‚

  5. Dianne Duggan says:

    Dear April,
    I am writing an academic article on the Danby Gate. I think your photograph of the south side of the gate is great, and wondered if you had a photograph of the north side?
    If so, would I be able to use these images in my article? I can provide further information via my email address.
    Thank you,
    Dianne Duggan.

    • I’m so sorry, Diane, the only photograph I have of the north side of Danby Gate has me in it!
      Provided you credit any images to (with an actual link back to the website if the article is online) I am very happy for you to use them. If the article is online I’d love to see it, please do send me a link!
      With best wishes, April

  6. Beautiful! Loving those lily pads; they’re huge! The glasshouses with their trails through the foliage remind me of the botanical garden my mom and I used to visit back when I was little. I used to love walking through, exploring where the trail would lead through all the plants. Some day I want to visit this place. Pinning for future reference.:) Thank you for sharing on Inspire Me Wednesday.

Speak Your Mind