Get To Know London’s Oldest Botanic Garden


London is filled with stunning green spaces and botanical gardens. From the famous Kew Gardens to Hyde Park, there’s plenty to see if you want to spend some time at one with nature in the bustling capital.

The Chelsea Physic Garden is another example of beautiful greenery in the busy metropolis of London. The garden is the second-oldest botanical garden in England, the oldest in the capital, making it the perfect place to take a break from the fast-paced city life.

If you’re staying at Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel, why not get to know one of London’s most beautiful green spaces? Here’s our quick guide to the city’s oldest botanic garden.


History of the Chelsea Physic Garden

The garden was originally established in order to grow medicinal plants. This is reflected in the original name: the Apothecaries’ Garden. For a time in the 18th century, the garden was the most richly-stocked botanic garden in the world, taking orders from all over the globe. Its famous seed-exchange program is still in action today – and many speculate that it was this program which saw the introduction of cotton into the colony of Georgia.

Unfortunately, some parts of the garden have been lost to modern city design and development. A section on the north bank of the River Thames was removed, and a strip of the garden was pulled back to make Royal Hospital Wide, a vital thoroughfare, a little wider. Nevertheless, the garden still stands at a generous 3.5 acres, which can feel like complete paradise in the centre of London.

The Chelsea Physic Garden Today

The garden contains a vast collection of more than 5,000 plants, with useful or medicinal properties. You’ll also find one of the oldest rock gardens in Europe, as well as the largest fruiting olive tree in Britain, and the world’s northernmost grapefruit grown outdoors. This attraction is also the first garden of ethnobotany in Britain. The most recent addition to the garden is the Garden of World Medicine, which shows how plants are used medicinally by tribes in far-flung destinations.

When visiting the garden, you can take a self-guided walk, exploring the historical and medicinal plants for yourself, and following the various illustrated information panels which help to explain what plants you’re looking at, and why they’re so useful. There are also guided tours and talks taking place regularly, and workshops throughout the spring and summer, when you can learn how to successfully tend and grow your own medicinal plants. If you’re hoping to bring home a souvenir, you can pick up a multitude of unusual plants at the gift shop.

Getting to the Chelsea Physic Garden

The Chelsea Physic Garden is conveniently located for anyone staying in our Hyde Park accommodation. It’s located on Royal Hospital Road, which runs next to the north bank of the River Thames.

If you plan to get the tube to the garden, the nearest stop is Sloane Square, on the District and Circle lines – the entire journey should take less than half an hour, including the short time it takes to walk to and from the underground stations.