Botanical Garden Oxford
With its hothouses full of exotic fruits and plants and its pretty riverside location next to Christ Church meadow, Britain’s oldest botanical garden is a charming and colourful place to visit.
- Tour the garden
- Visit the hothouses
- Go punting
- Picnic in Christ Church meadow
Visit An Historical Garden
The botanical garden in Oxford is the oldest in Britain. It was founded in 1621 and like London’s Chelsea Physic Garden, was a place where students could grow and study plants for medical research. Today the garden, which is spread over 4 ½ acres, contains over 8,000 different plant species and showcases one of the most diverse collections in the world.
See the Exotic Fruit in the Glasshouses
Wander into the hothouses next to the river and among the exotic orchids and chilli plants, you’ll see lemons, clementines, limes and even grapefruit growing. Lemon trees were originally native to Asia and limes were first grown on a large scale in southern Iraq and Persia. The term ‘limey’ comes from the use of limes to combat scurvy among 19th century British sailors. Its use was a closely guarded secret as it gave the British a military advantage.
Discover Oxford’s Connection With Marmalade
Citrus fruit has an interesting connection with Oxford as it was in the city that Frank Cooper’s Marmalade was first made. You can visit the site of the original Cooper’s Jam Factory which is now an arty café close to Oxford station. As you exit the garden, turn left up the High Street and you’ll see a blue plaque on number 83 dedicated to Sarah Cooper, his wife. She first started making marmalade in Oxford in 1874. Readers of Alice in Wonderland will also know that a jar of Frank Cooper’s Vintage Marmalade was found down the rabbit hole.
- The Botanical Garden Oxford doesn’t have a café so head up the High Street to the elegant Grand Central Café. According to the diary of Samuel Pepys, this once fronted Britain’s first coffee house
- Enjoy a riverside picnic in Christ Church meadow. You’ll find everything you need to buy for a delicious lunch in Oxford’s Covered Market
- For a sit down lunch, book yourself into the Cherwell Boat House or buy scones and jam from their Tea Hut and go for a punt along the river
- Go for a pint in The Turf Tavern, one of Oxford’s most historic pubs
The average lemon contains about three tablespoons of juice. To extract maximum juice from each fruit, roll it in your hands first and take from the fridge well before you’re ready to squeeze it.
Where to Stay in Oxford
Old Bank Hotel
Situated in the heart of historical Oxford, The Old Bank offers luxury rooms and a buzzy brasserie.
Rooms from £189 a night.
They tell me no dogs are allowed in the Botanic Garden except for registered disability assistance dogs. The good news is that you can take me for a walk around Christ Church meadow which is next door.