Dilston Physic Garden : A Hidden Gem in Northumberland

This post is based on a visit in June 2021. Please check the Dilston Physic Garden website and social media for up-to-date information when making plans as things may have changed since this post was published.  

Dilston Physic Garden is a garden devoted to plant power and plant medicine in Northumberland. It is a pretty unique spot and a lovely place to wander or bring the kids. We visited in June and I found our visit to be both interesting and relaxing. 

We visiting during a school holiday and practically had the place to ourselves. It is a lovely place for a bit of a potter. 

Dilston Physic Garden | Location & Tickets 

Dilston Physic Garden is located just outside of Corbridge in Northumberland. It was pretty easy to get to by car. 

There is a small visitor car park just off the main road by the river (use postcode NE45 5QZ and the car park is on your right through a gate as you turn off the main road / see the sign for the garden). It maybe holds around 10 cars and is a short 3-5 minute walk to the garden entrance up a track (which has a slight incline and may get a little muddy if you visit after rain so bring the correct footwear. 

There is also an overflow car park (also to be used for events) which you can find directions to here. Again, the walk to the entrance is along a muddy lane but this route is flat. 

If you are unable to walk along the lanes / require disabled access, it is possible to arrange a drop off at the garden entrance (see here for information). 

Please note, the garden is not suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs due to narrow paths and uneven surfaces. There is plenty of seating provided right across the garden at regular intervals though. Most of the garden is on one level. If you visit after a particularly dry spell, wheelchair access in parts of the garden may be ok. 

Dilston Physic Garden is open on selected dates only. Please check here for the most up to date information. No booking is required - simply turn up. 

Entry is £6 per adult, £4 per child (5-15) and under 5s / dogs go free. Season passes are available and if you have a 2for1 Gardeners' World Card, you can use this at Dilston Physic Garden.

A few other things you should know: 

  • Dogs are welcome on leads (keep them away from plant beds)
  • No booking required - pay on arrival in the admissions kiosk near the entrance 
  • There is no cafe - you are welcome to bring a picnic (lots of outdoor seating available). The entrance kiosk serves takeaway botanical fusions / hot chocolate from 12noon-3pm. 
  • Contactless payments preferred, if you do need to pay by cash, please try and bring the correct change 
  • WC available March - October 
  • Dilston Dispensary of Plant Medicine open Wednesdays 12:30 - 3pm (until the beginning of September)
  • The garden is not suitable for pushchairs / wheelchairs but it is mostly flat and there are lots of places to sit

Walking Around the Gardens 

A Physic Garden is a garden where every plant growing has the power to heal or keep you healthy. There are over 700 powerful plants to discover here across 2 acres of land. 

On arrival, you can choose a trail map to follow (which is included with admission - additional trail maps are 50p each) but it is pretty difficult to get lost here. 

The garden is a registered charity and receives no central funding. The garden is managed by a board of trustees including scientists, herbalists and volunteers. As well as being a place to visit, the garden conducts clinical trials into plant medicine (which you can read about / volunteer for here).

There are only 6 Physic Gardens you can visit in the UK so I think Dilston is definitely a pretty special and unique place for us to enjoy. 

The garden is brimming with plants which enhance both physical health AND the mind and above everything, I really found it to be a relaxing and calming place to visit. I think is one of the key aims of the garden and it has definitely been achieved. There are so many little corners where you can enjoy some meditation or contemplation and even a dedicated silent seat. The garden really connects you with nature. 

There is a lot of information to read as you walk around the gardens with signs explaining what you are looking at and how that particular plant can be used for good health. It was really interesting, especially when it comes to the everyday plants we have growing in our garden. 

If you are interested in learning more about plants, your own health or natural medicine, I think you will absolutely love it here. Equally, if you just like nice places to enjoy a stroll with a decent scenery and a little added interest, I would recommend as a place to visit. 

I would say you need around 45 minutes - 1 hour for a gentle saunter around. Longer if you would like to read most of the information boards or bring a picnic (which I would highly recommend you do). 

Highlights around the garden: 

  • Take a trail guide around the following themes - Calm, Happy or Memory 
  • Snooze on the Camomile Lawn 
  • Take a seat on the Aroma Seat and enjoy the fragrance 
  • Wind down the labyrinth into the medicinal meadow 
  • Enjoy a cup of herbal tea 
  • Educate yourself with the various signboards 
  • See over 700 plants on display and witness how they change with the seasons
  • Spot the sculptures around the garden including Yin Yang the Dragon 
  • Browse the Physic Shop and maybe try some local honey 
  • Spot a real mandrake plant close up 
  • Visit the Witches Den 
  • Plant a Magic Bean 
  • Play Giant Chess 

Dilston Physic Garden | Events 

Dilston Physic Garden hosts a range of educational and wellbeing events across the year, usually organised by trusted external providers. On the day of our visit in Half Term, they were hosting a kids potion making class which looked cool. 

Click here to see what's coming up and make sure you sign up to the Dilston Physic Garden newsletter for updates (via their homepage). 

Upcoming events include: 

  • 20 June | Unearthing Self : Connecting People and Nature 
  • 20 June | Summer Solstice 
  • 25 June | Shine Your Light Retreat 
  • 26 June | Writing For Wellbeing 
  • 27 June | Herbs Are More Than Spice 
  • 3 July | Plants And Protest 
  • 8 July | Novel Ailments & Curious Cures 
  • 12 July | Me Day : Mind Spa 
  • 18 July | Essential Herbs For Your Medicine Cabinet 
  • 19 July | Happy Brain Family Day 
  • 22 July | Potion Club 
  • 24 July | Stoicism & The Art Of Living 
  • 25 July | Ancient Art of Tai Chi 
  • 26 July | Mind Magic 
  • 31 July | Botanical Perfumery 
  • 1 August | Lughnasadh
  • 6 August | Wellbeing Spa 
  • 14 August | Plant Spirit Medicine 
  • 16 August | Hypnosis For All 
  • 26 August | Potion Club 
  • 28 August | Wild Medicine Wild Food 
  • 4 September | Autumn Harvest Remedy Making 
  • 10 September | Me Day Mind Spa 

This is just a small selection of what's available. To find out more about any of the above events and to see the full programme, click here. 

Herbology House / Garden Hire 

I think this looks pretty cool and is somewhere to keep in mind if you are looking for a unique event location. The Herbology House within the gardens is available to hire for talks, as a classroom, for meetings, small events and courses. 

The 18ft x 14ft wooden house is based on a Japanese Tea House and enjoys countryside views with sliding doors onto a South facing verandah. 

Hire charges are super reasonable (from £55 for up to 4 hours). Find out more here. 

You can also hire the Physic Garden for exclusive use and again, prices are super reasonable (from £120 for up to 4 hours). Find out more here. 

A Toilet with a View 

The loo in the garden comes with a bit of a view - don't worry, the window can't be accessed from the outside so you won't be disturbed. It is a talking point though. 

Witches Den & Botanical Kids Play Area 

How cool is this Witches Den and Botanical Kids Play Area? All of the plants in this area are safe for kids to touch and smell. There are cute little ways for the kids to connect with nature alongside several outdoor toys and places to sit nearby. 

This giant chess area next to the Botanical Play is perfect for older kids (or adults) too. 

Or how about a game of Croquet? This whole area feels very much like you have stepped into Alice in Wonderland. 

Dilston Dispensary of Plant Medicine 

If you are interested in plant medicine, you can access a qualified medicinal herbalist in the garden every Wednesday from 12:30-3pm 5 May - 1 September 2021. 

No appointment is needed - simply drop in. A simple consultation is £5 (if a longer consultation is required, this can be arranged). Plant medicine can then be purchased on site for around £7 for a week's supply. Find out more about the dispensary here. 

Dilston Physic Garden Shop 

You can visit the Physic Shop in person in the garden or online at any time. The shop stocks a wide range of plant based products and botanicals. The products are both useful and would make a nice gift too. Their bath rituals and herbal balms look brilliant.  Browse and shop online here. 

I hope this has given you a little overview of what to expect from the Physic Garden. You can find out more and keep up to date over on their website here: https://dilstonphysicgarden.com/

Where To Visit Nearby 

Dilston Physic Garden is a short drive from: 

If you wish to make a weekend of it, Dilston Mill is a 2 minute walk from the entrance and looks like such a peaceful place to stay with direct access to the banks of Devils Water. Find out more about staying at Dilston Mill here. 

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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 

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