Cambridge Botanic Garden


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.

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.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE GARDENthe-garden-cafe-garden-view-1

The original Botanic Garden of Cambridge University was founded in 1762 in the centre of the City, now known as the New Museums Site. This small Garden was conceived as a typical Renaissance physic garden, inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. It grew herbaceous plants used in the teaching of medical students at the University.

We owe the existence of today’s much larger Botanic Garden, occupying a 40 acre site between Hills Road and Trumpington Road, to John Stevens Henslow, the Professor of Botany at Cambridge from 1825 – 1861.

Henslow laid out the Garden to accommodate a wonderful tree collection. But he also planted his ideas about variation and the nature of species that would be taken up in a revolutionary fashion by his famous student, Charles Darwin.

We hope today that we continue to plant ideas, maybe even seeds of change, as we work to reflect and communicate new directions in plant science, respond to the challenges of managing a historic landscape and deliver innovative programmes for everyone.


Things to do Cambridge….

Things to Do

There’s something for everyone when it comes to entertainment in Cambridge. A choice ofgalleries showcases an impressive range of art, from the contemporary to the classic, a buzzingtheatre and performance scene presents drama, dance and family shows and you can enjoy all kinds of live music from internationally acclaimed orchestras and ensembles to touring pop stars, pub gigs, the world-famous Folk Festival, ever-popular Beer Festival, family-friendly Big Weekend and magical Secret Garden Party festivals.

You can go punting on the River Cam, enjoy a picnic in the park, join a walking tour of the city or explore further afield from the seat of a bicycle following the excellent network of cycle paths in and around the city.

Spend the day enjoying one of Cambridge and Beyond’s fantastic Experience Days – perfect for group days out, stag and hen parties, gift ideas or treating yourself to an experience you’ll never forget.

King’s College Chapel is celebrated for its choral services including the famous A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast live by the BBC to the nation and across the globe on Christmas Eve. If you have a chance to hear the sublime Choir of King’s College, you will be enchanted.

As well as the free-to-enter University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, which houses world-class collections of art and antiquities spanning centuries and civilisations, and Kettle’s Yard, one of the country’s finest galleries and a major centre for 20th century and contemporary art, visitors will find a wide range of artworks, sculpture trail walks and galleries to appreciate.

Theatre lovers will delight in the range of performances on offer, from student theatre to touring and West End shows. Come summer, Cambridge is buzzing with al fresco performances of music in the parks and green spaces as part of the annual Summer in the City programme of events.

And if you have time to travel further a field follow this link to explore things to see and doBeyond Cambridge.


Cambridge Top Tips

Here are a few top tips that you’ll be glad to know:-

1. Free Entry to Kings College Chapel

It’s not well publicised but it is illegal to charge people to worship in the UK and so if you attend a chapel service such as evensong it is completely free of charge. Monday to Saturday you can queue up at the front gates on Kings Parade a 4:55pm and they will allow you in to the chapel at 5:15pm and then the service starts at 5:30pm and only lasts 40mins. At no point are you asked to pray or sing a hymn. Just sit quietly and respectfully. There are two evensong services on a Sunday at 10:30am and 3:30pm so arrive 30mins before the start. There are no services in August and September as the choristers from Kings College Choir School are on holiday as are the students of the college. They are liable to chancel a service so check before hand by walking past or asking the Tourist Information Centre.

2. The iconic photo of Kings College Chapel

This is best taken from outside the west gates on Queens Road. It’s difficult to get to but you need to go over Silver Street bridge and round Queens College or through Garrett Hostel Lane and over the bridge and then turn left walking along The Backs.

3. The Wren Library

This is open 12noon to 2pm Monday to Friday throughout the year. You need to go through a set of black gates on Garett Hostel Lane and keep walking. There are no signs and you’ll just have to ask the porters. It’s totally free of charge and has some amazing things inside it. There is Sir Isaac Newton’s walking stick and a lock of his hair and even a first edition copy of his famous Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.

4. Punting

Don’t buy a ticket from a tout around the centre of Cambridge (Trinity Street, St Mary’s Church, Kings Parade). They are not always operating above board and start half way along the river where it’s mayhem to board and people queue for ages to get on. We recommend one of the more professional punting operators such as Cambridge Blue Punting, Scudamores or Granta.

5.Trinity Great Court

There is sometimes a door down Queens Lane that is open to the public to walk in to get a glimpse of the Great Court. There’s no guarantee but it’s best to try before 4pm when it’s often shut. If you go in through the front entrance it costs approximately £3.50

6.Desirable Locations

The smart areas of Cambridge are in the centre, west and south. If you are looking at accommodation way up north or to the east it’s probably not in the most desirable location.

7. Park & Ride

Its easier to just drive into town and park and if your car is full it’s cheaper than buying bus tickets for the family.