Durham Botanic Garden : Visitor Information

This post is based on a visit in April 2021 when not all facilities were open due to Gov restrictions. Please check their website for up-to-date information before visiting or making plans. 

Durham Botanic Garden : Visitor Information

At time of publishing, Durham Botanic Garden is free to visit and open Monday-Friday 10am - 2:30pm. You do not need to pre-book and can just walk in. The cafe, toilets and indoor facilities/bird hides are currently closed. I would still recommend as a nice peaceful walk with points of interest or a place to meet up with friends/family (within Gov guidelines) and it is lovely for a stroll. There is plenty of seating throughout the gardens and it wasn't too busy at all on the day of our visit in the school holidays. 

In 'normal' times, there is a small entrance fee (£4 for adults, £1.50 for children and under 5s are free) which reflects more facilities being open. University staff and students can visit for free. Dogs are not permitted in the gardens. 

I met up with a friend with a pram and we managed to get around most of the garden. It is steep in some places though so may be tough going in a wheelchair in parts. You can see their access statement here. 

We accessed the gardens on foot and it is fairly easy to get to from the city centre (although please note, Durham is hilly in places) and there is also cycle storage at the entrance. There is a bus stop 5 minutes away and you can park on campus/in a nearby park and ride - see here for more information and more detailed information about location. 

The purpose of our visit was for a much needed catch up and fresh air and the garden certainly served it's purpose for that. There were clear maps on arrival and lots of interesting plants and areas to admire as well as ponds, plant fossils and even art sculptures. We spent around 45 minutes walking around in total and it was actually larger than I thought. 

The indoor greenhouse was closed on the day of our visit but once open, I have heard it is home to some creepy crawlies as well as exotic plants. We made do with a look through the window. 

There are a number of free trails running through the garden which you can download before your visit here. The Science Trail was great for older kids and the Nature Trail looked brill for little ones - we managed to spot lots of the clues hidden amongst the plants and trees as we walked around. 

The gardens are diverse and it did feel like there was something new to look around every corner. At one point we felt as if we were walking through Jurassic Park and another we felt like we were sitting in a Japanese Orchard. Picnics are allowed at the moment and there are benches throughout if you'd like to bring a spot of lunch (although be warned - there are no open loo). We stopped for a couple of drink spots and I wish we had planned ahead and brought lunch too so we could have spent longer there. There are lots of peaceful corners where you can sit and take the gardens in.

Below is the friendship garden which is surrounded by blossom trees. Lovely. 

I was really impressed with Durham Botanic Garden and it was such a nice place for a walk and a catch up with a friend and our kids. Lots of space to run around, fresh air and seating plus lots to see and trails to keep kids entertained. It was lovely to be amongst nature and I think as Spring turns into Summer, the garden will look even better. 

If you are looking for a catch up spot in Durham City, I would recommend. It was ok for my friend and her pram but if you have respiratory issues or use a wheelchair, you might not be able to access all of the gardens due to inclines and I would probably recommend somewhere like Hardwick Park which is mostly flat instead. 

Find out more about visiting here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/botanic.garden/visit/

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Durham Botanic Garden : Visitor Information


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