Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens - Kibble Palace at night
Glasgow Botanic Gardens are renowned internationally for their architecturally impressive glasshouses and extensive temperate and tropical plant collections.

Situated beside the River Kelvin the Botanic Gardens are an oasis of calm within the bustling City of Glasgow.  With a blend of formal gardens and woodland walks the glasshouses offer a tropical respite from the winter, west coast weather.

Location
Botanic Gardens
730 Great Western Road
Glasgow
G12 OUE

Opening Times
The Gardens are open from 7.00am until dusk daily however, the specific facilities within the park are subject to opening times.

Glasshouses: 10.00am - 6.00pm (4.15pm in winter)
Tea Rooms: As above 
Toilets: 10.00am - dusk (this varies throughout the year)

Parks Management Plan - botanic Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
pdf icon Botanic Gardens Management Plan [2Mb]

Walkers can access the Botanic Gardens from Great Western Road, Queen Margaret Drive, Kirklee Circus and from the Kelvin Walkway.


Friends of Botanics Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Friends of The Botanic Gardens
The Friends of The Botanic Gardens have recently launched a new website. You can view it here.

Size
20 hectares (50 acres)

Outstanding Features

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  • Glasgow is home to a number of significant plant collectors including:
    • The National Collection of Begonias
    • The National Collection of Tree Ferns (Dicksoniaceae)
    • The National Collection of Dendrobium Orchids
    • An Extensive Collection of Economic and Medicinal Plants
    • The Substantial collection of trees opened the door to membership of The National Tree Collections of Scotland
  • Within the Kibble Palace there is a fine collection of marble statues including the popular 'Eve' and 'King Robert of Sicily'.
  • For more information on hiring the Kibble Palace visit our Venue Hire page

Botanic Gardens - Trees Fern Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Trees and ferns in Kibble Palace

Facilities

Park Rangers are based in the Botanic Gardens and regularly patrol the grounds. Ranger-led general tours are available and must be arranged in advance.

  • Main Range of glasshouses with conservatory and tropical plants
  • The Hopkirk Building for special events, workshops etc.
  • The Arboretum with trees from around the world
  • Themed Gardens are situated within the grounds:
    • World Rose Garden
    • Herb Garden
    • Herbaceous Borders
    • Vegetable Garden and Potager
    • The Chronological Bed (one of only two in the UK)
    • A children's Play Area - for under 12's
    • The Children's Garden
  • Public Toilets are just inside the Queen Margaret Drive gate adjacent to The Kibble Palace
  • There is a taxi rank in Queen Margaret Drive.


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Statue in kibble palace


The Tea Room at the Botanics

Phone:0141 276 1640

Encore Catering Website 

10am-6pm Summer
10am-4:15 Winter

Art exhibitions are held in the Tea Rooms throughout the year


Events

Events are held within the Botanic Gardens throughout the year.  These include:

  • pdf icon Orchid Fair 17 and 18 May 2014 [5Mb]
  • Exhibitions
  • Concerts
  • Talks organised by the Friends of Glasgow Gardens
  • Bard in the Botanics - Shakespearean plays performed outside in the Gardens during the summer months.
  • The Glasgow Branch of the Scottish Orchid Society meets in the Hopkirk Building within the Gardens on the third Monday of the month at 7.30pm between September and May.
  • The British Cactus and Succulent Society, Glasgow Branch, meets in the Hopkirk Building on the first Thursday of every month between September and June at 7.30pm.
  • The Cactus and Succulent Society hold shows and plants sales in the Kibble Palace several times a year.
  • A book fair and craft sales are held regularly in the Hopkirk building.

Botanic Gardens - Sunbathing in the park Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Palm House, Main Range Glasshouses

Botanic Gardens - Bridge over Kelvin Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
A bridge over the River Kelvin

History

Glasgow Botanic Gardens were originally founded on an 8 - acre site at the west end of Sauchiehall Street at Sandyford in 1817.  This was through the initiative of Thomas Hopkirk of Dalbeth who donated his own plant collection to form the nucleus of the new garden.

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Gates at Great Western Road in 1923

  • The Royal Botanical Institution of Glasgow ran the Botanic Gardens and an agreement was reached with Glasgow University for the provision of teaching aids, including a supply of plants for medical and botanical classes.
  • William Jackson Hooker, Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow (1820-41), took a very active part in the development of the Botanic Gardens. As a result they became eminent in botanical circles throughout the world. Hooker remained in Glasgow for 20 years before being made Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • This early success led to expansion and the purchase of the present site at Kelvinside, which was established in 1842.
  • At that time entry into the Gardens was mainly restricted to members of the Royal Botanical Institution and their friends although later the public were admitted on selected days for the princely sum of one penny.
  • The Kibble Palace which now houses a forest of tree ferns was originally a private conservatory located at Coulport on Loch Long. It was moved to its present site in 1873 and was originally used as a concert hall and meeting place, hosting celebrated speakers such as Gladstone and Disraeli.
  • Increasing financial difficulties led to the Gardens being taken over by the then Glasgow Corporation in 1891 on condition that they continued as a Botanic Garden and maintained links with the university.
  • The Botanic Gardens are still a very popular venue with visitors from around the world as well as locals.

Education 

In 1995 the Botanic Gardens acquired its' first full time education officer.  The Gardens offer education programmes and tours from Primary 1, to special needs students to university students and beyond.

In-service days and half-days are available to teachers.

ALL EDUCATIONAL VISITS ARE FREE OF CHARGE

Travel

  • Underground - From Hillhead Station it is just a 5-minute walk along Byres Road to the Botanic Gardens.
  • Bus - Various bus routes run between the city centre and Great Western Road.
  • Car - Follow the M8 to junction 17 and take the A82 (Great Western Road) west for approximately a mile.  On street parking is sometimes available on Byres Road and Queen Margaret Drive.
  • Walking - The Gardens form part of the Kelvin Walkway.  It is approximately a 40 minute walk from the city centre.
  • Cycling - The Kelvin Walkway links with the Glasgow Loch Lomond Cycleway and the West Highland Way.

Disabled Access
Information on disabled access to Glasgow Botanic Gardens can be found on the DisabledGo website
Disabled Go logo Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Contact Details

Land and Environmental Services
General Enquiries

Phone: 0141 287 5064
E-mail: les@glasgow.gov.uk

Glasgow City Council Cycling Line

Phone: 0141 287 9171

Public Transport Journey Information
Traveline Scotland
Phone: 0871 200 22 33