Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Cambridge University Botanic Garden
1 Brookside




Education Office



01223 336265

Education Office

01223 748451


01223 336278

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
Three children explore the flowerbeds on either side of the path they are walking on
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Cambridge University Botanic Garden was established on its 40 acre site less than 1 mile from the City centre by Professor John Stevens Henslow and opened in 1846. Since its opening in 1846, Cambridge University Botanic Garden has been an inspiration for gardeners, an exciting introduction to the natural world for families and a refreshing oasis for all our visitors.

Henslow, who is perhaps now best remembered for inspiring his pupil Charles Darwin with a love of natural science, recognised the need to study plants in their own right. The plant collection today numbers over 8000 species including nine National Collections and the best arboretum in the region.

This heritage-listed Garden has been designed for both year-round interest and seasonal inspiration so, whenever you visit, you will find plants to intrigue and enchant. Today the Garden welcomes around 225,000 visitors each year.

Venue Type:

Heritage site, Garden, parklands or rural site

Opening hours

10 am - 6 pm April to September
10 am - 5 pm February, March and October
10 am - 4 pm November to January
(The Glasshouses close 1/2 hour before the Garden closing time)

Admission charges

£4.50 (£4.95 gift aid) for adults 17 - 60.
£3.95 (£4.35 gift aid) for adults over 60 and students in possession of a recognised student card.
Children under 16 are admitted free. (Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times).
Companions for disabled visitors are admitted free.

Admission is free at all times for Friends of Cambridge University Botanic Garden carrying a valid Friends’ Membership Card, and Cambridge University students on production of a valid University Card.

With a framework of mature trees and shrubs, this paradise of plants comprises diverse, superbly landscaped settings including: the Rock Garden, representing the alpine plants from the mountains of every continent; the Lake and Water Garden, teeming with bird life; tropical rainforest, the alpine house and seasonal displays in the Glasshouses; and the historic Systematic Beds, displaying 1600 hardy representatives of more than 80 families of flowering plants.

The Garden also boasts many important plant collections including lavenders, hardy geraniums, British native plants displayed on the Ecological Mound, and the finest collection of trees in the East of England.

The Garden looks wonderful all through the year. After discovering the remarkable use of berry, bark and foliage in the beautiful Winter Garden, you can warm up in the Glasshouses and travel from the tropics to the desert in search of cacti, carnivorous plants, orchids and the extraordinary Jade Vine, in glorious flower in March.

The Herbaceous Borders, Scented Garden and Dry Garden are colourful highlights of summer, but don't miss the jewelled carpet of spring bulbs and early alpines in the Woodland Garden and Rock Garden or the foliage fireworks of the Autumn Colour Garden. The Genetics Garden has been newly-planted to demonstrate how genetic variation gives rise to the plant diversity all around you.

Collection details

Natural Sciences

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Apple Day logo

Apple Day

  • 26 October 2014 10am-4pm

Family favourite, Apple Day, returns to the Garden this autumn on Sunday 26 October, a great way to kick off half-term. At the core (pun fully intended!) we have again scoured the region to bring you a diverse collection of apples to taste and try before you buy, including some seldom sold and heritage varieties such as Allington Pippin, Belle de Boskoop, Court Pendu Plat, Pitmaston Pineapple and Ross Nonpareil.

The Main Lawn Marquee is back bigger than ever. There'll be delicious cakes, apple juices and ciders from local producers to sample and buy, together with cheeses, honey and other lovely local produce to eat with your apples. Joining us for the first time, all the way from Russia, will be representatives from the Museum of Forgotten Taste in Kolomna. Wearing traditional Russian costume, the Kolomna Apple Ladies will be sharing their passion for pastila, a traditional Russian apple sweet treat served as part of an elaborate tea ceremony. They will be lovingly recreating the favourite pastila recipes of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and other classic Russian authors.

Experts from the East of England Apples and Orchards Project will be offering a pruning and care advice service, and bringing a display of heritage Cambridgeshire apple varieties. To get your own apples identified, bring along two to three apples from each mystery tree to help with accurate identification. We are fervently hoping that citizen science in action will bring a lost heritage variety to light!

And speaking of science, keep an eye out for Sir Isaac Newton, near his eponymous apple tree on Brookside Lawn, a scion of the original Woolsthorpe Manor apple tree, which is said to have inspired Newton’s theory of gravity. If you get a #selfie with the scientist don't forget to tweet it @CUBotanicGarden - we'd love to see them.

We are opening up the Syndicate Room at Brookside to take a selection from our Cory Library of beautifully illustrated nineteenth century 'pomona' volumes which set out to catalogue the apple and pear varieties in cultivation. There will also be a selection of apple themed books from the working collection for visitors to browse, with topics ranging from the history of the apple to practical growing tips.

For younger visitors there’ll be apple printing and crafts and lots of opportunities to dress-up and explore how the apple has been popping up in classical myths, folk-lore and story-telling for millennia. Plus you can find out about the Cambridgeshire Community Collection, an arts project to plant apple trees across the south side of the City - guerilla orchard gardening at its best - and our Garden Guides will be on hand to take you round what's looking best in the Garden this autumn.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, just imagine what a whole Apple Day could do! We hope to see you there on 26 October 2014.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Entry to the Botanic Garden on Apple Day requires the purchase of an Apple Day ticket, priced £3, plus normal Garden admission. Children 16 and under, free. You are strongly advised to get your Apple Day tickets in advance at the Garden ticket offices, which will allow fast-track entry on the day!


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

First Saturday Family Fun

Take part in the Botanic Garden's creative family-friendly workshops on the first Saturday of every month.

How to obtain

For more details, email