Guide to Oxford Botanic Garden

The Glasshouses

We are able to create a range of climatic conditions in our seven display glasshouses, cultivating plants from around the world. Visitors find themselves travelling the globe, as they pass from tropical jungle and oozing swamp to desert and alpine environments. 

The first greenhouse was built at the Botanic Garden more than 300 years ago. It was a temperate conservatory, which resembled an orangery or grand stable. Its purpose was to house tender and exotic plants, such as citruses, during the winter. Unfamiliar and exotic plants grown at the Botanic Garden still amaze visitors all year round today. 

On occasion, when maintenance work is required or in the event of extreme weather, some or all of the Glasshouses may be closed. Please check Visit the Garden for closure updates.

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 Literary Garden. Discover more about the genetic diversity of flowering plants against the historic backdrop of 17th century walls and the monumental Danby Gate.

The Lower Garden

The Lower Garden holds several ornamental collections that you can explore below. Gardeners are sure to find inspiration in the colourful and dramatic plantings.

Adjacent to Christ Church Meadow and bordered by the river Cherwell, the Lower Garden provides a tranquil space perfect for picnics.

In the far 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 the characters, Lyra and Will, meet between their respective worlds.