The Chelsea Physic Garden in London, UK

Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Garden | 0 comments

The Chelsea Physic Garden in London, UK

Take in the beautiful, relaxing surroundings of the Chelsea Physic Garden in the heart of Chelsea, London.

About Chelsea Physic Garden

London’s oldest botanic garden,particularly related to medicinal plants through its foundation by the worshipful Society of Apothecaries in 1673. The four acre green oasis has one of the oldest rock gardens in Europe,a Victorian Cool Fernery, beds of medicinal plants, botanical order beds, glasshouses, rare plants and tender species, plus the largest olive tree outdoors in Britain. Free guided tours and audio guides available.

Chelsea Physic Garden

The word ‘physic’ can be used in the title to refer to the practice of accelerating medicinal plants to aid healing, a focus still in place today. Chelsea Physic Garden holds around 5,000 plant species, including many rare and endangered species. The unique microclimate of the garden allows species that will not normally flourish in Britain to become grown here, including plants normally found in the Mediterranean region.

This four acre walled garden is a haven for rare and tender plants, and also offers several glasshouses, the largest fruiting olive tree outside in Britain, and the oldest rock garden in Europe produced from rubble from the Tower based in london. Particularly popular is the Fortune Tank Pond installed greater than a hundred years ago by the famous collector of Chinese plants, Robert Fortune.

The highlights of Chelsea Physic Garden include the UK’s largest fruit-bearing olive tree and the world’s most northern-located grapefruit tree. The garden can be used as an aesthetically-rich place of rest and relaxation, an important resource for the exploration of plants’ medicinal qualities, and an over-all exhibition of the delights of botanical life.

A Brief History

These gardens are the oldest botanical gardens in London and go as far back to 1673 when they were established by the ‘Worshipful Society of Apothecaries’ for the purpose of training and educating young apprentices to the craft, teaching them plant identification and uses. These elegant gardens became thought to be one of the most important centres for botanical research in the world. It is the unique microclimate apparent in the gardens that enables some of the more tender and delicate plants to flourish, including some species which are now endangered; this is mainly because of the proximity of the gardens to the River Thames.
It’s home to the biggest outdoor olive tree which bears fruit in the whole of the Uk as well as the most northerly located grapefruit tree. In fact you will find over one hundred different types of tree in the garden the majority of which aren’t native to Britain. There are glass houses which are home to tropical and sub tropical species and a beautiful Victorian fernery.

New Developments

On the 23rd May 2012 there’s a new garden opening to the public; there will be a selection of all of the plants that people as a species rely on to outlive. This garden will encompass not just the plants that we rely on for food, but in addition for general health and wellbeing as well as plants employed for hygiene purposes, for science and the arts. A number of the plants will be beautiful and recognisable whilst others is going to be strange and alien, yet every one of these is relied on by humanity for one reason or any other.
The garden includes designated teaching places that visitors can learn about these amazing, life sustaining plants. Visitors will even find a compact vineyard, a full time income amphitheatre and a beautiful pond, accessed using a stone pier. The aim of the garden would be to bring people closer and provide them with an understanding of the plants and vegetation they take so much for granted.


Within Chelsea Physic garden additionally, you will find Britain’s oldest rock garden currently on public view, that is now grade II listed and dates from 1773. The gardens happen to be open to the public since 1983, and the recent increase in natural and plant based medicines has seen the garden create a pharmaceutical garden to further increase our knowledge and highlight how many plants indigenous to Britain and those found further afield may be used to benefit health.

Three excellent good reasons to visit Chelsea Physic Garden in the next fortnight:

  • It’s usually shut in December
  • The admission fee is waived for winter
  • The gift shop opens for gardening gifts and goodies

If it’s the botanical garden that you’re interested in, it’s an uncommon opportunity to peruse the apothecary beds at the moment of year and see the more exotic ferns and carnivourous plants plus tropical and mediterranean species grown in the glasshouses.


  • £8.00 for adults and seniors
  • £5.00 for students, the unemployed and under 16s

Opening Times

  • Available to the public from April to October:
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Sundays from 12:00pm to 6:00pm

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