Founded as a 'Physic Garden' by the Earl of Danby in 1621, "with a view especially to the Faculty of Medicine", the Botanic Garden is the oldest institution of its kind in the country. The Gateway, designed by Nicholas Stone, incorporates statues of Charles I & II.
Opening Times: Jan, Feb, Nov and Dec - 9.00am until 4.00pm, last admission 3.15pm; March, April, Sept, and October - 9.00am until 5.00pm, last admission 4.15pm; May, June, July, Aug - 9.00am until 6.00pm, last admission 5.15pm.
Admission is free for Oxford & Brookes students, accompanied children in full-time education and for disabled visitors and carers. It's £4.50 for an adult day ticket, £3 for concessions and £15.50/£13 for a year pass. Guided tours can be arranged by writing in advance.
No dogs allowed except guide dogs.
You can also become a Friend of the Botanic Gardens, with free access to this and other gardens and to a variety of special lectures and events, for between £25 (annual single) and £500 (life single).Wheelchair friendly. Next events at University of Oxford Botanic Garden
Big Botanic Backpacks! Sat 18 May: Borrow on entry to Garden.
Happy Habitats! At the Botanic Gardens. Wed 29 May: 11am - 1pm
Meet the Families at the Botanic Gardens Sat 15 Jun: 1 - 4 pm
Meet the Families Sat 15 Jun: 1 - 4pm
Summer in the Garden Tue 25 Jun: 10.30am - 12.30pm, £20 (or £55 for the whole series of 3 study mornings)
Alice's Day Picnic Afternoon at the Botanic Gardens Sat 6 Jul: 1pm - 4pm drop-in any times
School's Out! Picnic Afternoon at the Botanic Gardens Sat 27 Jul: 1 - 4 pm
Veggie Heaven! Picnic Afternoon at the Botanic Gardens Sat 10 Aug: 1 - 4 pm
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Oxford's Botanic garden was the third in Europe, preceded by Pisa and Leyden. Its original function was to provide herbs for the School of Medicine.
The first gardener was a retired German soldier, Jacob Bobart, who was delighted to find that the cess-pits of the colleges provided him with almost unlimited supplies of good growing medium.
He was a powerfully built man, who late in life sported a beard of such length that one day a madman grabbed hold of it and cried out that Bobart had eaten his horse, and its tail was hanging out of his mouth.
Bobart was succeeded by his son, who became Professor of Botany. Around 1700, the Younger Bobart discovered a rat in the garden, and by cosmetic surgery turned it into so convincing a dragon that great excitement was caused in the academic world. The hoaxer eventually confessed, but the 'dragon' was considered such a masterpiece anyway, that it was kept on display in the School of Anatomy.
Bobart the Elder built a conservatory where the greenhouses now stand; this was probably one of the first in England. Since then the greenhouses have been rebuilt several times. They are a treasure-trove of exotic plants. It is worth remembering that though the gardens are open much of the day, you can only visit the greenhouses between 2.00pm and 4.00pm.
Daily Info Staff (DI Staff), 22/12/10
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