It’s been on the London map for 340 years, but the Chelsea Physic Garden still remains a sanctuary from the city that surrounds it.
Founded by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to help train apprentices in identifying plants, the garden and its collection of around 5,000 useful, exotic and medicinal plants form one of the world’s oldest botanic gardens.
Expansions and additions from successive head gardeners mirror discoveries in botany and horticultural fashion. Two examples are a fascinating pharmaceutical garden, and the UK’s oldest rockery – compete with giant clam shells brought to London by Captain Cook on HMS Endeavour!
Free guided tours by well-informed volunteers help bring the garden to life for those more interested in the history than the horticulture of the garden. These are usually available two or three times each day (timings vary).
Currently appearing at the garden is “Pertaining to Things Natural“, a series of outdoor sculptures by more than 20 leading artists. Each of these artworks responds in some way to its surroundings, ranging from a beautifully fluid marble screen to a pink metal spiral.
“Pertaining to Things Natural” runs until 31 Oct. The garden is open until 10pm every Wednesday until 5 September. Tickets to the garden are also 2-4-1 until 9 September if you present your Oyster card. Find out more on visitlondon.com.
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