Chelsea Physic Garden

Attractions, Parks and gardens Chelsea
5 out of 5 stars
(21user reviews)
 (© Peter James)
© Peter James
 (© Britta Jaschinski / Time Out)
© Britta Jaschinski / Time Out
 (© Britta Jaschinski / Time Out)
© Britta Jaschinski / Time Out
 (© Susie Rea)
© Susie Rea
 (Ricard Petanque garden party © Debbie Bragg)
Ricard Petanque garden party © Debbie Bragg
 (© Charlie Hopkinson)
© Charlie Hopkinson
 (Catharanthus roseus in the Medicinal Plants garden © Nick Bailey)
Catharanthus roseus in the Medicinal Plants garden © Nick Bailey
 (Family activity day © Charlie Hopkinson                         )
Family activity day © Charlie Hopkinson
 (Family activity day © Pia Ostlund)
Family activity day © Pia Ostlund
 (Family activity day © Charlie Hopkinson                           )
Family activity day © Charlie Hopkinson
 (Tangerine Cafe © Charlie Hopkinson                  )
Tangerine Cafe © Charlie Hopkinson

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.

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Venue name: Chelsea Physic Garden
Address: 66
Royal Hospital Rd
Opening hours: Nov-Mar: Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm. Apr-Oct: Tue-Fri, Sun & Bank Holidays 11am-6pm; July 1-Sept 2 2015: late openings until 10pm on Wed 11am-10pm
Transport: Tube: Sloane Square
Price: £9.90, £6.60 concs, free under-fives
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

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What do you do when you need some food in an English country garden? You head to Chelsea Physic Garden's Tangerine Dream Café, of course!

Hidden just behind south west London's bustling Kings Road, the Chelsea Physic Garden offers a beautiful oasis of tranquility that even those with little interest in greenery (like me) will still find fascinating. Each flower and plant has a sign explaining more about what it is, with further information about how certain specimens are used for food or medicine presented for those who are interested. The range of foliage on show is impressive, with everything from sunflowers to cannabis plants(!) on display.

Further down the path you'll find their Tangerine Dream Café, which comes alive at night during the summer months with al fresco dining in a beautiful garden setting. The compulsory starter of Burrata, beetroot and chickpeas was delicious, even if my selected main of lamb curry was a little watery and lacked punch. But in such a beautiful and sophisticated setting, you can't help but let them off.

Bookings to non-"Friends of the Garden" varies by day so best to check ahead, but even if you bring your own picnic or just want to learn a bit more about flowers, Chelsea Physic Garden is a must-visit when in south west London.


This is a stunning transportative experience that stimulates all the senses and leaves you filled with wonder. Treat your eyes to the colours and variety of nature, touch the oldest cork oak tree in England, smell a thousand combinations of scents from herbs to fruit to flowers and hear the buzzing and chirping of birds and insects enjoying the garden as much as you are. Make sure you join one of the free tours run by volunteers, the history of the garden and the stories and properties of the plants are fascinating and it will add to the experience so much. Last and definitely not least, the cafe is insanely fresh and delicious and the atmosphere is as vibrant as the flowers. Enjoy this unsung hero of the London tourist trail.


The Chelsea Physic Garden is a real gem and I would highly recommend a visit. It’s located in a quiet corner of Chelsea, right beside the Thames, and enclosed by a brick wall. It feels like a little oasis in the city. My mom and I recently visited on a slightly chilly bank holiday Monday and at 11:00 we almost had the place to ourselves. Admission is £10.50 but this includes guided tours of the garden, running every half hour during our visit, and a full day’s access to the gardens. The gardens are split up in various ways - there are medicinal beds, edible beds, areas where the plants are grouped by family as well as many other ways they have chosen to showcase the extensive collection of plants. Apart from 6 permanent gardeners, the Physic Garden is run by very knowledgeable volunteers. There is a cute little gift shop and although we didn’t eat at the cafe, the food look nice and homemade. If you really enjoy your visit to the garden, it’s possible to put your admission towards an annual pass. And since there are always different plants in bloom it’s probably well worth the extra money if you can get there a few more times in the year. 

I was visiting from NJ and fell in love with the garden. I have favorite gardens at home but this one was truly special and the history was astounding!

No better place to visit for peace and quiet in the centre of Chelsea!
Beautiful Gardens and wonderful staff

The Chelsea Physic Garden has the most amazing plant collection and offers so much in a small area. It's a place to sit, take a deep breath and enjoy the garden and it's also a place to learn about the numerous medicinal plants that thrive there. There's also a very nice cafe serving delicious salads and hot food.

Magical historic place of peace and greenery in the city. It's a great place for a wedding or other celebration too..

A significant historic site, beautiful nature oasis and great educational resource. Previously rare in an increasingly commercial metropole. Great day out!


What a beautiful location!!!!! 

Based in the heart of chelsea and not to far from river views, the chelsea physic gardens is a wonderful reprieve from all the buildings and cars whizzing around the place. The garden itself is so peaceful and full of beautiful flowers from all over the world. They occasionally throw summer soirees which I highly recommend. 


An endearing little place, lovingly tended, where you can learn about useful plants. My own preference is for urban gardens that are less manicured and more, well, free (the Skip Garden in Kings Cross, for instance, doesn't charge for entry). But I am a cheap bastard, and presumably the entrance charges collected by the Chelsea Physic Garden are put to good use.

Apparently its the oldest botanic garden in London but it rocks! Loads of info about how plants are important in everything we do-not presented in a stuffy way.

Wonderful garden that really is a hidden gem, the gardens are incredibly interesting and with a free guided tour the history of the origins of not only the garden but the plants and their uses is explained. The shop has some lovely gift ideas and good range of books and souvenirs. The cafe/restaurant is lovely, can get very cramped but the food is really good, I had to buy their recipe book! Thoroughly recommended.

A lovely & small botanical treasure chest in the middle of London, with many officinal plants, plants with fragrance & many many more, including a pond with newts & others

I simply love this place and the huge variety of plants it embraces with everything being lovingly explained for the viewer. But you can also simply go there for relaxation. I keep coming back whenever I´m in London.

moderatorStaff Writer

A veritable horticultural experience, the garden is a must for anyone green fingered or as an unexpected treat for visiting relatives or romantic sunday lounge.

A fabulous garden that Is truly enchanting
a large garden with plenty to see
including a cactus house, medicinal plants, a well stocked shop, & plants to buy.
it's like walking into nania
not just a garden but a place where you can rest be at peace relax
leave the hustle & bustle behind of london
well worth the £10 entry fee.

This is one of the best venues in Chelsea for a summer wedding. My steel drum band ensemble has performed there many times and we also saw Boris there at a fund raising event. The grounds are excellent and the venue is well managed.