Founded in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden contains the world's oldest rock garden, made from fused bricks and flint, stones from the Tower of London, and Icelandic lava brought up the Thames by ship in 1772. Today the garden is also home to Britain's first garden of ethnobotany (the study of the botany of different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples), and a Garden of Medicinal Plants, tracing the chronology of plant remedies over almost an acre, from ancient Greek herbs to plants that are likely to be used in future medicine. Illustrated information panels explain what you're seeing, but there are also guided tours and walks, talks and workshops throughout the growing season. There's also a shop where visitors can buy unusual plants, and a café serving very good homemade cakes.
New for 2015 is the World Woodland Garden, which celebrates useful and medicinal plants from the Americas, Europe and East Asia. The half-acre garden is home to more than 150 species of plant and visitors can weave through it on a serpentine path or learn more about the collection from garden volunteers in one of the woodland clearings.
See more stunning gardens in the capital