The University of Oxford Botanic Garden in Oxford, founded in 1621, is the oldest botanic garden in Britain ahead of the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, which dates from 1673.
It is situated between Magdalen and Merton colleges, a short walk from both the Bodleian Library and the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
The compact 1.8 hectare site near the banks of the River Cherwell began as a garden growing herbs for medicinal research. The initial funding of 5,000 pounds (a large sum at the time) was provided by Henry Danvers, the 1st Earl of Danby.
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden has two sections: the Walled Garden and the Lower Garden. The Walled Garden contains the historic and scientific collections of medicinal plants while the Lower Garden has more ornamental collections including the Rock Garden and Water Garden.
The garden also contains seven glasshouses ranging from tropical to alpine, the first of these glasshouses was constructed back in the 17th century as an orangery. They contain around 1200 species of plants from around the world, complemented by the flora in the Harcourt Arboretum, 6km south of the city.
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden features in a number of artistic works including Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, both classics of English literature. The garden can also be counted as a source of inspiration for Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
The garden stages various events throughout the year. See the website below for further details.
University of Oxford Botanic Garden
Oxford, OX1 4AZ
Tel: (+44) 1865 28 6690
Hours: The garden has differing opening hours depending on the month but opens at 9am. (See the official website for full details).
Admission: Adult day ticket 5 pounds; children under 16 accompanied by an adult enter free.
Books on Britain