Dedicated to the history and art of gardening, London’s Garden Museum offers a tranquil break from the busy city. It’s a must-see for any traveler with a green thumb, with a permanent display of paintings, tools, and historic artifacts representing 400 years of gardening in Britain.
Travelers typically visit the Garden Museum independently or on a tour of London’s most famous gardens. In addition to the museum’s permanent collection and four to six annual temporary exhibitions, there is (of course) a beautiful garden to walk through. Visitors can also climb 131 steps to the top of the site’s medieval tower for city views. Several exhibitions, topical presentations, and events are held each year to explore the creation of British gardens.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The museum is accessible to wheelchairs, with an elevator straight to the permanent collection on the first floor.
- The small onsite garden cafe serves tea and small bites.
- Entry to the Garden Museum is included in the London Pass.
- The medieval tower closes one hour before the museum’s closing time.
How to Get There
The Garden Museum is located in central London on the South Bank of the Thames, beside Lambeth Palace and across from the Tate Britain and Parliament. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Westminster. The museum can be reached by taking the tube to Westminster, Waterloo, Victoria, or Vauxhall, or by taking bus 3, 344, 360, 507, or C10 directly to the museum.
When to Get There
The Garden Museum is open daily from 10:30am to 5pm, with the exception of Saturdays, when it closes at 4pm. The museum is closed the first Monday of every month. Expect the largest crowds in the afternoon; visit early in the morning for a quiet visit.
Garden Museum Past and Present
The Garden Museum resides in the once-abandoned Church of St-Mary-at-Lambeth, and therefore carries centuries of history in its medieval tower and archbishop’s tomb. The church is the burial place of John Tradescant, a famous British naturalist and gardener, and his tomb now forms the centerpiece of a knot garden. The church was turned into a museum by John and Rosemary Nicholson in 1977 to preserve the tomb of Tradescants (both John and his son) and the church.