Birmingham Botanical Gardens

239 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2019

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With a couple of hours before our hotel room was ready there was no finer way on a hot summer’s day than to spend the time with well-chosen plants. It was anything but a filler: not only planting of high quality but a real family gathering place, with good lunches and refreshments, a bandstand well-occupied and the bonus of a Hindu wedding celebration.

We were lucky in finding a table outside the conservatory restaurant that, if not authentic Crystal Palace precursor, was a splendid building in its own right. Below the terrace was an expanse of lawn ideal for children to play on, and nobody prevented then – even those who were in their best for the wedding. The band struck up “Mamma Mia” and a small group of toddlers immediately joined in dancing on the grass.

Lunch was very enjoyable and reasonably priced. We eventually raised ourselves to brave the sunshine and heat, heading for the aviary and, more interesting, the butterfly house. If tropical birds are not your thing you can admire the architecture of their aviary.

August may not be the best time to view plants but there were splendid grasses as well as dahlias and Mediterranean plants that manage to disguise some high rise buildings on the skyline. Mature trees offer welcome shade.

Everywhere were Birmingham people enjoying the leisure of something more than their local park yet at a price so reasonable it could have been a park. We didn’t ask whether locals had concessions but Silver Travellers did, and we were duly grateful.

There are areas we had no time to explore, including planting to commemorate famous Victorian botanists. These are entirely appropriate as the gardens were established in 1830. We will return to Birmingham because Symphony Hall and the CBSO are such an attraction. If the weather is a little cooler and the season friendlier to plants we will make a point of spending much more time in the Botanical Gardens, an institution the city should be as proud of as its fine museums, library and of course music.


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