Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum reopen for public to enjoy with pre-booking now essential

The Botanic Garden and Arboretum have reopened both sites to the public following their temporary closure in March in response to the Covid crisis. The Garden was officially reopened on 22 June by Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor.

Botanic Gardens opening

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, reopens the Botanic Garden

Both sites are now welcoming visitors but with a new pre-booking system, social distancing and special measures in place to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. At the Botanic Garden, social distancing markings and signage are present across the sites and hand sanitiser is available upon entry and exit. In the interest of public safety, the shop, toilet facilities, Glasshouses and Herbarium Room at the Botanic Garden will not be open, but the Garden itself will be fully accessible. At the Arboretum social distancing markings and signage are also in place and the toilets and shop will also remain closed. 

To allow for social distancing and prevent over-crowding, entry for both sites is now by pre-booked timed slots only, which can only be bought online in advance. Entry is every 30 minutes for a visit of up to 2 hours. Without a pre-booked time slot visitors will not be able to enter the Botanic Garden or the Arboretum. Exceptions to this include Friends, Annual Pass holders, University of Oxford or Oxford Brookes University students or staff members, registered disabled and carers.

Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in the UK, established in 1621 and will celebrate its 400th anniversary next year. One of the most popular botanic gardens in the UK and a much-loved favourite of Oxford residents, the site welcomed more than 175,000 visitors last year. With over 5,000 different types of plant, the Garden is a year-round oasis of biodiversity and its central location, in the heart of the city, makes it the perfect space to visit.

The Arboretum, just a 15 minute drive from Oxford in Nuneham Courtney, has the best collection of trees in Oxfordshire, set within 130 acres of Picturesque landscape. Visitors can discover trees from around the world, including magnificent giant redwoods, growing alongside tranquil British woodland and open meadows. In the summer visitors can experience a blaze of colour in the wild flower meadow, buzzing with insect life, and look out for other wildlife, including rabbits and red kites. The Arboretum is a fantastic place for a family visit, with lots of space to run around and exciting habitats to explore.

Professor Simon Hiscock, Director of the Botanic Garden and Arboretum said: “We are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors back to the Botanic Garden and Arboretum. Thanks to the hard work of our staff over the last few months, both sites are looking glorious so I would encourage visitors to come to enjoy the experience as we enter summer. Measures are in place to ensure the safety of staff and visitors and we ask that all visitors respect the social distancing guidance.”

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford said: “I am delighted to be here to reopen the Botanic Garden. The Garden and Arboretum are two of Oxford’s treasured resources contributing to research, education, conservation and inspiration,  as well as the simple pleasure of walking through the beautiful grounds. It has never been more important to our mental well-being to have a quiet space to relax, to reflect, and to enjoy the positive effects of nature.”

Those who are unable to visit the Garden and Arboretum at the moment can enjoy stories and images from the collections, from home, on the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum webpage.

Read for further guidance on visiting during the coronavirus.