Address: 5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB
First opened in 1977, the Garden Museum was created as a means of safeguarding the abandoned church of St Mary’s in the heart of London.
It was such a success that almost 40 years later, the grounds continue to be a huge attraction for visitors from around the world, while also offering an important insight into both the history of this delightful property and its grounds, as well as being the burial place of arguably the world’s first great gardener and plant-hunter – John Tradescant.
Now buried in the garden at the impressive Tradescant & Bligh tombs, the attraction has become a fitting memorial to one of the true legends of horticulture. Tradescant lived from c1570 to 1638 and during his lifetime had the honour of holding such esteemed positions as head gardener to the 1st Earl of Salisbury at Hatfield House, as well as Keeper of his Majesty’s Gardens for Charles I.
It is his (and his son’s – who carried on in his footsteps following his death) legacy that the Garden Museum aims to celebrate. Indeed, when opened, the Garden Museum became the first museum in the world to be dedicated solely to the history of gardening.
Today, visitors can enjoy a wide selection of exemplary exhibitions and tours, as they find out all about the verdant history of this relaxing and at the same time exciting pastime.
Meanwhile, guests that are hoping to enjoy a more sedate getaway can simply head to the Garden Museum with the aim of wandering in the beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces, soaking up the many natural delights that are to be found here.
Opening hours and exhibitions
Closed at present for a major renovation, the gardens of the museum will reopen to the public in early 2017. However, exhibition spaces at the Garden Museum continue to attract hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors every month, with a host of fabulous and interesting attractions available.
Current exhibitions include an examination of indigenous plants and flowers and the impact that bringing in new species from foreign climes to the UK is having on the nation’s gardens in Flower Nation: Invaders, Migrants and Weeds in the British Garden.
At the same time, the museum is offering the exhibition How Does Your Garden Grow? A celebration of the UK’s gardening exploits and achievements throughout the 20th century.
Underground travel to the Garden Museum
The extensive London Underground network offers swift and easy travel to this bustling part of the English capital, with a large selection of nearby stations to choose from, such as:
- Lambeth North (Bakerloo line)
- Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City lines)
- Vauxhall (Victoria line)
- Westminster (Circle, District and Jubilee lines)
- Kennington (Northern line)
- Elephant & Castle (Bakerloo and Northern lines)
- Southwark (Jubilee line)
- St James’s Park (Circle and District lines)
- Pimlico (Victoria line)
In addition, overground rail services can be reached via the nearby stations of Waterloo, London Waterloo East and Vauxhall.
Full details of all public transport options to the area, including station opening times, service timetables and more, can be found by heading to the official website of Transport for London and searching for the individual station/route.
Parking for Garden Museum guests
Anyone hoping to take to the roads and drive during their time in London is also well catered for when it comes to local parking options in the vicinity of the Garden Museum, including:
- Q-Park Victoria (0.6 miles, 12 minutes’ travel time on foot)
- Abington Street Car Park (0.5 miles, 11 minutes)
- APCOA Waterloo Station Car Park (0.8 miles, 16 minutes)
- Hayward Gallery Car Park (0.9 miles, 18 minutes)
- Cornwall Road Car Park (one mile, 20 minutes)
However, individuals planning to drive in the area should remember that traffic volumes can be dense throughout the day, especially during the busy morning and evening rush hour periods.
It can therefore be advisable for visitors to avoid planning journeys during this time, while organising travel plans in advance and pre-booking parking can also be advantageous and help to reduce the stresses of driving in the city.
Other nearby attractions for visitors to the area
Finally, the Garden Museum is not the only attraction that draws large crowds of eager visitors to this busy part of central London each year.
Indeed, the area offers a wealth of outstanding sights to see and experiences to enjoy, with a host of great activities to be found within easy walking distance of the museum, such as:
- Palace of Westminster (0.6 miles, 13 minutes)
- Westminster Abbey (0.6 miles, 14 minutes)
- Big Ben (0.7 miles, 13 minutes)
- The London Dungeon (0.6 miles, 11 minutes)
- Churchill War Rooms (0.9 miles, 19 minutes)
- Shrek’s Adventure (0.5 miles, ten minutes)
- SeaLife London Aquarium (0.5 miles, ten minutes)
- London Eye (0.6 miles, 13 minutes)
- 10 Downing Street (0.9 miles, 18 minutes)
- Horse Guards Parade (1.1 miles, 23 minutes)
- Jubilee Gardens (0.7 miles, 14 minutes)
- Victoria Tower Gardens (0.3 miles, eight minutes)