Birmingham

Birmingham

From bonsais to bandstands, Birmingham’s Botanical gardens is a must visit this summer

It has been an oasis in the heart of the city since 1832 when J C Loudin’s design welcomed its first visitors, 41 years before Louise Ryland gave Cannon Hill Park to the people of Birmingham.

Back in 1998, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin met at the Botanical Gardens illustrating their pride of place in the lives of brummies right across the city. There are six main gardens: The Loudon Terrace, Main Lawn & Bandstand, Historic Gardens, West Lawn and Herbaceous Border,
The Herb Garden and the National Bonsai Collection. Other features include a dog-free children’s adventure playground, art gallery, gift shop, and an extensive library of horticultural manuscripts and reference books.

Palm House was built in 1871 and boasts a wide range of brilliantly coloured fish swimming around with stone ledges which allow children to get a closer look as well as hundreds of jungle plantlife such as Aloe Vera and Banana to name two. The humidity is quite intense in the house so to avoid rushing through quickly make sure you’re wearing layers so that you can strip down to a t-shirt for half an hour while you walk around. The Bonsai collection is particularly special, as are the wide range of cacti, both stark reminders that the Earth looks very different depending on which continent you’re in.

Once you’re ready for a cup of tea and a piece of cake look no further than The Pavilion Tea Room and terrace. From here you can take in the magnificent views of the bandstand which was built for just £368 two years after Palm House in 1873.

You can visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses at 12A Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3TR. Tel: 0121 454 1860 or visit http://www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk/