The Chelsea Garden of World Medicine

chlsgrdnThe London suburb of Chelsea is famous for its annual flower show, but there is also a garden in Chelsea that is quite different to most others.

Chelsea Physic Garden is hidden away in the heart of the capital behind high walls next to the River Thames. This is one of London’s ‘Secret Gardens’ and many Londoners themselves don’t even know about.

The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Societies of Apothecaries with the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants. The location was chosen as the proximity to the river created a warmer microclimate allowing the survival of many non-native plants and, more importantly, to allow plants to survive harsh British winters.

The Chelsea Physic Garden is an exquisite place of beauty, colours, smells and relaxation. It’s also a centre for botanic education and continues to research the properties, origins and conservation of over 5000 plant species as it has done for over 300 years.

Also known as the Garden of World Medicine, it is Britain’s first garden of ethnobotany, which is the study of the botany of different cultures and indigenous peoples. The purpose of this fascinating garden was to investigate the uses of plants for medicinal purposes within different cultures and to study their views about natural healing remedies.

One of the features of the garden is an Historical Walk, which was laid out along the western side of the garden in the 1980s. It has been planted to show the work of some of the best known people associated with the Garden’s history, through plants introduced or first named by them.

As the second oldest botanic garden in England the Chelsea Physic Garden still fulfils the traditional functions of scientific research and plant conservation and undertakes to educate and inform as well as to provide the amenity of a walled “secret” garden in the heart of London.

Chelsea Physic Garden also features Europe’s oldest rock garden, the new Pharmaceutical Beds and a Victorian fernery. During your visit you can enjoy guided or audio tours and try delicious homemade food in the renowned Café, including honey made at the gardens by their very own hives of Honey Bees. You can also pick up a jar of this delicious goo at the Garden Shop along with a range of eclectic gifts.

The Garden is located at 66 Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, and the nearest tube station is Sloane Square.

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