Open all year round, Birmingham Botanical Gardens makes for a welcome escape from the urban buzz of the UK's second biggest city. Still in possession of its Victorian charm - and very much honouring the original 1830 design by JC Louden - among its many highlights are the bandstand and the numerous glasshouses. Find out what else you can expect and plan your trip with our definitive guide.
The list of attractions and unique exhibitions at the botanical gardens is long and, quite literally, ever-growing - and the setting as tranquil as they come. Meaning whether you're a budding horticulturist or have never really given plants the day time of day, there's plenty on offer that will appeal to all sorts of interests.
That said, if you're the kind of person who is likely to be impressed by the National Bonsai Collection and/or enthused by the idea of a Rhododendron Walk, then stick the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on your city break itinerary.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens' most prominent points of interest are the 19th-century glasshouses that feature plants from around the world. There's a lily pond, tropical orchids, and towering cacti to see, as well as some more unusual plants that can only be found in this particular park. The guided tours are recommended - expect stories about the history of the plants and insight into what's in season when you visit.
A Break from the City
With 15-acres of greenery so close to Birmingham's city centre, the botanical gardens are a lovely place to go and relax. Take one of the seasonal walks to see the plants of the month, then browse the shop and stop for tea in the Pavilion. Even better, on a summer's day bring your own picnic and spend the afternoon stretched out on the lawn before pottering around the rose garden.
There's plenty to entertain children here, with the play area being a safe bet to start with. The Butterfly House can also be fun on a warm day with colourful tropical butterflies from countries like Central America and the Philippines. Later, head to the aviary to spot Parakeets, Lovebirds and Mynah birds, then hire family activity backpacks from reception to help you explore the park's educational trails for children.
When to Visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The gardens are open every day apart from Christmas and Boxing Day, so you can basically visit whenever you're in Birmingham. Bear in mind that winter months have earlier closing times than in summer, and weekends are often busier with some scheduled events meaning the park closes early. Apart from that, each season has something new to see as you wander the flower-lined pathways.
Spring and Summer
Spring is a pretty time of year to walk around the gardens, with many of the trees blossoming with pink and white buds. In warm April weather, when the sky is blue, the Japanese Star Magnolias are a must-see in the Rock Garden.
On a hot sunny day in Birmingham, the botanical gardens are a gorgeous place to be, with a large lawn that's perfect for picnics. There's also music in the bandstand on Sunday afternoons from April to September, plus open-air theatre and children's activities.
Autumn and Winter
Autumn sees the start of a beautiful display of colours, as the more than 200 trees and the grass garden turn a tawny yellow, russet and auburn. In October, The National Collection of Cyclamen is in bloom too, adding a flash of pink and white.
At the end of the year, berries appear bringing vibrancy to any bleak winter's day. There are also red poinsettias to help you feel festive, or in late winter the scent of citrus tree flowers in the Mediterranean House will remind you of the warmer months to come.
How to Visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens are in a leafy Birmingham suburb called Edgbaston, which is a short journey from the city centre and easily reachable from the major motorways.
Use postcode B15 3TR in your satnav to navigate straight to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. When driving in from the M6 or the M5 keep an eye out for the brown signs marked Botanical Gardens to guide you along the way. There's parking on site, which is £2 for non-members, and free for members.
Birmingham New Street is the central railway station if you're travelling into the city by train. From there, hop on a bus or take a taxi to the gardens. Alternatively, the gardens are a 20-minute walk away from Five Ways Station.
Several bus routes stop close to the gardens, and it's about a 20-minute bus ride from the centre of Birmingham. Numbers 23 and 24 are good options from the train station, or if you're travelling from elsewhere, take any of the following: 1, X8, 9, X10, 12, 12A, 13, 13A, 13B, X21 or the 126.
If you're planning a trip to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, check out our selection of hotels near Edgbaston, Birmingham.