Botanic Garden
Photograph: Ralph Jones for Time Out
  • Things to do

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum

The oldest botanical garden in the UK should be top of your list of things to do, writes Ralph Jones


Time Out says

What is it?

Owned by the university, the Botanic Garden and Arboretum is the oldest botanic garden in the UK. This means that when it was founded – in 1621 – it was for reasons of medicinal research. Open to the public, it’s a gorgeous green jewel in Oxford’s crown.

Is it worth visiting?

One of the most picturesque sights in Oxford – and that’s saying something – the Garden is big enough to drown out the noise of the city and let you wander around stroking roses and gazing at the River Cherwell, which runs alongside it. It has been inspiration for some of the country’s most famous authors, including Lewis Carroll, Philip Pullman, and JRR Tolkien. Yes, it’s spectacular.

Is it free to visit?

Though you can peer into the Garden from outside, to officially be allowed inside you need to pay for a ticket, which will set you back £7.20 if you’re unfortunate enough to be an adult. 

Where’s good to eat nearby?

You’re spoilt for choice here, with this spot lying between the city centre and the trendier East Oxford bars and bistros. Head east, then, to Shiraz Persian at the bottom of Cowley Road. Here you’ll find the best Persian food in the city at incredibly reasonable prices. 

📍 Discover more of the best restaurants in Oxford


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