Chelsea Physic Garden – a unique collection of over 4,000 different plants in a 4 acre walled garden

84 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do

Date of travel

October, 2023

Product name

Chelsea Physic Garden

Product country


Product city


Travelled with


Reasons for trip


Having made one attempt to see the Chelsea Physic Garden earlier in the year when I travelled with my son from Kent only to find it closed because it was Saturday, we tried again last Monday. I don’t know how I failed to see on the website the first time round that it’s closed on Saturdays but it was certainly worth the expense and effort to try again while the weather was still sunny and warm. From our home in North Kent we caught the train to Victoria and then hopped on a bus that took us to a stop just outside the entrance to the Chelsea Physic Garden in Royal Hospital Road: it’s also only a short walk from Sloane Square underground station.

Opening hours are from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm Sunday to Friday but it’s best to check the website before setting off in case it is closed for a special occasion and to check ticket prices. Entrance is £12.50 for adults but my husband and I used a Gardeners’ World two-for-one card and my adult son had his own Gardeners’ World card which I think allowed him in for half price; a real bargain. We went straight to the Garden Cafe to buy coffees and pastries and enjoyed them while sitting in the sun before setting off to tour the garden. It is London’s oldest botanic garden having been established in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in order to grow plants to make medicines. It occupies a site of 4 acres between Royal Hospital Road and the Thames and in that relatively small space is a living collection of between 4,000 and 5,000 different ‘edible, useful and historical’ plants. We started in the World Woodland Garden and my husband, who is very keen on trees, was amazed at the collection of many unusual and rare ones growing there.

As lunch is served in the Garden Cafe between 12.00 and 2.30 we decided after about an hour to get a table while we could and sat outside under an awning with views of the garden. There were small and large plates on the menu – from £12 to £21 – a lot of them salads, using as much as possible from the garden. We each ordered something different – I had pea and mint risotto which was delicious – and my husband and son chose different salads; we also had alcoholic drinks. I think a lot of the diners were local and probably Friends of Chelsea Physic Garden and if I lived in London I would probably become a Friend too.

We continued our tour visiting the glasshouses, each dedicated to a different species including cacti, ferns, Atlantic Islands plants, pelargoniums, tropical plants, all brilliantly displayed and well labelled. There are also many tender plants growing outside; we saw pomegranates on a tree but somehow missed the avocados that were fruiting somewhere in the garden, probably also in the Garden of Edible and Useful Plants. In addition to the glasshouse containing Atlantic Islands plants, including Canary Islands and Madeira, there is also a border planted up with many of them. A large area is filled with long beds devoted to different types of plants. There are many other features including a pond rockery and a statue of Sir Hans Sloane. Several people were painting or sketching around the garden and a party of primary school age children was being shown round: Chelsea Physic Garden has an Education Centre and runs painting and photography workshops for adults and seasonal workshops for children. Many volunteers help with the garden maintenance and a team of them were weeding while we were there. I loved this garden with its mix of botanical education and diverse collection of beautiful plants all set in a space that is easy to explore thoroughly in a few hours or just amble around and enjoy the tranquil setting. Next to the entrance/exit there is a small shop with a good choice of gifts and botanical books. It’s definitely a garden I will return to at different times of the year.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.