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University Botanic Gardens
Vacation Travel Guide

These gorgeous gardens are home to nine National Plant Collections as well as an array of mature trees and other floral treasures.

There are more than 8,000 species of plant on display across 40 acres (16 hectares) of scenic grounds in the University Botanic Gardens. A lake, rock gardens and an impressive collection of ancient trees are among the highlights of this picturesque oasis located in the University of Cambridge grounds. Spend the afternoon meandering through the fascinating flora of the gardens.

The site first opened to the public in 1846 and was founded by botany professor John Stevens Henslow. Walk along one of the official trails, which change weekly, depending on the season. There are lots of colorful blooms here to admire, including autumn mandrakes and black widow irises.

Peruse the glasshouses on the north side of the Main Lawn to see plants from tropical regions. There are collections from tropical wetlands, arid lands, mountains and tropical rainforests. The Limestone Rock Gardens, which house specialized rock plants from South Africa and Australia, are also worth checking out. Find a spot on a bench overlooking the lake and enjoy the serene ambience. There is a magnificent fountain that comprises seven large discs shaped like water lily leaves.

Continue to admire the gardens’ plants, trees and flowers from the terrace of the Garden Café, where you can choose from soups, quiches and tarts as well as daily specials. The Botanic Garden Shop sells stationery, toys and gifts relating to gardening.

Take a guided tour for a more detailed understanding of the gardens. It takes about 90 minutes and covers the season’s highlights. You must book several weeks in advance. Alternatively, download the Walking in Henslow’s Garden audio file to an mp3 device and take a self-guided tour.

The gardens are open to visitors daily from morning until late afternoon. If you’re visiting during holiday periods, check ahead as there are closures around Christmas. There is a small entrance fee for adults, while children enter for free and students get discounts.

The University Botanic Gardens is just west of the Cambridge Railway Station near the city center. Use bus services to reach the gardens; there are plenty of bus stops in the area. Be sure to check out the nearby Fitzwilliam Museum and the River Cam while you’re here.

Top things to do in University Botanic Gardens

Top Hotels Close to University Botanic Gardens

Clayton Hotel Cambridge formerly known as The Tamburlaine Hotel
Clayton Hotel Cambridge formerly known as The Tamburlaine Hotel
4 out of 5
Station Rd, Cambridge, England
The price is $128 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2

Situated in Cambridge, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, and Cambridge Arts Theatre. St Catharine's ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (763 reviews)
Impressive lockdown stay

"We know Cambridge well from having lived there a few years ago and this was our fist stay at this hotel. We stayed during lockdown for a job interview that was walking distance from the hotel. We were really impressed with this hotel and their Covid-19 safe efforts - it felt clean and safe and the ..."…"

Reviewed on Dec 3, 2020

Clayton Hotel Cambridge formerly known as The Tamburlaine Hotel
Hilton Cambridge City Centre
Hilton Cambridge City Centre
4 out of 5
Downing Street, Cambridge, England
The price is $139 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2

Located in Cambridge City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and Cambridge Corn Exchange. University of Cambridge ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (988 reviews)
high standard hotel

"everything was spotless, breakfast was good the meals in the hotel are extremely delicious, best part was how friendly everyone was in the hotel I noticed everyone including the chef being very friendly during breakfast. It’s a nice added touch."…"

Reviewed on Nov 9, 2020

Hilton Cambridge City Centre
ibis Cambridge Central Station
ibis Cambridge Central Station
3 out of 5
2 Station Square, Cambridge, England
The price is $78 per night from Mar 11 to Mar 12

Situated in the business district, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of University Botanic Gardens, University of Cambridge, and Anglia Ruskin University. Addenbrooke's ...

4.4/5Excellent! (998 reviews)

"Very conveniently located, swift easy check-in. Clean, modern and a comfy bed. No frills, but absolutely fine, and I’d book again."…"

Reviewed on Dec 13, 2020

ibis Cambridge Central Station
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near University Botanic Gardens

Clayton Hotel Cambridge formerly known as The Tamburlaine Hotel
Clayton Hotel Cambridge formerly known as The Tamburlaine Hotel
4 out of 5
Station Rd, Cambridge, England
The price is $128 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
Clayton Hotel Cambridge formerly known as The Tamburlaine Hotel
Hilton Cambridge City Centre
Hilton Cambridge City Centre
4 out of 5
Downing Street, Cambridge, England
The price is $139 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
Hilton Cambridge City Centre
ibis Cambridge Central Station
ibis Cambridge Central Station
3 out of 5
2 Station Square, Cambridge, England
The price is $78 per night from Mar 11 to Mar 12
ibis Cambridge Central Station
Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge
Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge
4 out of 5
15-19 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, England
The price is $126 per night from Apr 1 to Apr 2
Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge
University Arms, Autograph Collection
University Arms, Autograph Collection
4 out of 5
Regent Street, Cambridge, England
University Arms, Autograph Collection
Citystay - Devonshire Road
Citystay - Devonshire Road
201 Devonshire Rd, Cambridge, England
The price is $234 per night from Mar 18 to Mar 19
Citystay - Devonshire Road
Pinnacle Residences - Cambridge
Pinnacle Residences - Cambridge
4 out of 5
Bateman Street, Cambridge, England
Pinnacle Residences - Cambridge
A & B Guest House
A & B Guest House
3 out of 5
124 Tenison Road, Cambridge, England
The price is $65 per night from Apr 4 to Apr 5
A & B Guest House
Norwich Street Apartments (Peymans)
Norwich Street Apartments (Peymans)
3.5 out of 5
Norwich Street, Cambridge, England
Norwich Street Apartments (Peymans)
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.